In-laws, gifts, anniversaries, ugh!

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by annmarie, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. annmarie

    annmarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2007
    Do you send your in-laws anniversary gifts every year? Do they send you and your spouse a gift? Kind of a stupid question but my husband and I find ourselves in a quandary. With my parents (who also live a distance away) a card and/or phone call is the norm (gift certificate or flowers for the big milestones). I thought this was pretty much everyone's norm and this is basically how we’ve been doing things with my in-laws. At one point, we did live in the same town and I think (but I can’t actually recall) that we might have given them a small gift too, since we would see each other on their anniversary. Well, this isn’t going over so well it seems. DH’s mother gets really upset about the fact that we don’t send them a gift every year. This really upsets my husband and just plain confuses me so I thought I’d get some opinions.
    Our anniversary is a few weeks after theirs, and they send us a card and put a $20 check in the card. We were hoping that by us not sending them a gift, they wouldn’t either, not as any sort of vindictive thing, but just a “let’s not make this a gift giving thing” but of course, we got the $20 check again! So here are our choices, what would you do:
    a) talk to mother in law (as she seems to be the one with this “hang up”) about how we aren't trying to slight her, but we just don’t really know what to send in the mail that would be suitable, and we really don’t do anniversary gifts for people, except on the milestone years
    b) stand our ground and keep not sending a gift, but continue sending a card and calling them on their anniversary
    c) send them $20 in a card on their anniversary (which to me just seems crazy to keep passing $20 back and forth but it’s the option my husband favors!)
    What would you do? Or should we just be buying expensive gifts and having them shipped to them? (we’ve tried sending flowers a few times, but she told us not to do that anymore because they don’t last!) In general she has very particular ideas about gifts and what is a good gift and what is a bad gift and gets really emotional about this stuff. In short, my husband did not marry a gal just like dear old mom! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  2. sunnychooks

    sunnychooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2007
    Our family has always considered a wedding aniversary a quiet celebration between a husband and wife. Sending congratulations in a card is nice, but gift giving is between the spouses.
    Your DH may have to speak to his mother about this. Or perhaps he should include his dad in the conversation.
    In any event, it's your aniversary and you should be able to celebrate as you wish.
    Good Luck! [​IMG]
  3. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    I vote for option A. I dislike it when people are fussed about gifts being good or bad. Say something along the lines of "oh, how thoughtful" and then eBay it or give it to Goodwill if you hate it that much, but don't declare certain gifts good and others bad.

    If MIL is rather old, you also have the option of waiting for her to forget your anniversary completely. I don't think any of my more elderly relatives remember my husband's name, let alone our anniversary. Most of them still think my name is "Mary" and ask me how the Model T repair business is going. [​IMG]
  4. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    When we first got married 26 years ago DH and I were quite poor (still are). The following Christmas my MIL said that she had been admiring a set of 2 4 foot tall brass giraffes. The set cost over $400. Needless to say, we didn't buy it for her. We gave her a gift, but it was something we could afford. After Christmas she actually complained that she didn't get the brass giraffes. [​IMG]

    If a gift is important to your MIL, get her something simple. If you don't want to send a check or cash, then send her a trinket or a $20 gift card to a restaurant. If she doesn't like it, that's her problem not yours. My sister has an autistic son and everytime I send him a gift she calls me and tells me how much he hates it. [​IMG] Most people would just say thank you and regift it to another kid, but not her. She has actually told me that she would rather I send cash or gift cards so she could get better stuff.

    Some people are just sad. They don't appreciate a gift for what it should be. It should be to remind the recipient that we were thinking about them and offering them a kindness. And nobody has the right to be mad if they don't get a gift or don't get what they wanted. I think your relative is just looking for a little drama and attention. Maybe she has what I call martyr syndrome. She wants to say, "Everybody look at poor little me. Nobody loves me. Nobody treats me right. Feel sorry for me." [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  5. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    Whatever you and your husband decide to do, let him make the decision and talk to "mom". Don't get involved, don't let him mention your name........
  6. jbowyer01

    jbowyer01 Just Me!

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hogansville, Georgia
    My DH and I have been married for 21 years and we do pretty much what you do, cards for the thought and flowers or such on milestones. I have only purchased one gift for my mother and father and my inlaws and that was for thier 50th. Other than that its a phone call or a card. If my MIL complained I'd have my DH handle it appropriatley that way you dont look like the bad guy.

    horsejody my husband always sings a song when our kids get that nobody loves me act going, here are the lyrics, lol

    Nobody loves me, everybody hates me,
    Guess I'll go eat worms,
    Long, thin, slimy ones; Short, fat, juicy ones,
    Itsy, bitsy, fuzzy wuzzy worms.
  7. agnes_day

    agnes_day Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2008
    thats kind of rude to complain about not getting a gift...i dont even let my kids get away with that!
    but maybe your husband should send them something..i might feel a bit hurt if my child didnt remember a special day, but i dont think i would go as far as to openly gripe about it.
    maybe a gift card to a local restaurant or something to have a nice dinner?
  8. wyliefarms

    wyliefarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2008
    We do a card and a phone call on the folks' anniversary. If it is milestone then we usually all go out to dinner or something. Other than that is just another day.

    Maybe you need to talk to your FIL.... is he slacking on remembering their anniversary?

    When my MIL was alive she would give us a card with a coupon for babysitting so we could go out to dinner for our anniversary:)

    Good luck and like the others said, have your husband do the talking and use the words "I" not "us" or your names.

  9. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Do what you have always done, don't send them a gift but send them a card. Explain your stance on the idea again if necessary, but don't give any ground. MIL's can be vindictive, but regardless of whether she is or not a gift is something that is spontaneous and a surprise, NOT something to be expected. I don't think it's fair for her to be requiring a gift....
  10. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    I've been married 34 years now. I don't even remember when my in-laws anniversary is. I barely remember when their birthdays are ... sometimes I send a card, sometimes not. My husband once gave me flowers on our 15th anniversary.

    My MIL remembers EVERYTHING ... for our entire lives we got cards on all the days ... mostly with checks. Most of this time we were scratching to make ends meet, didn't have lots of extras after the kids. You know, that is her focus, not mine.

    I have to say, no one ever openly 'complained.' Sometimes I felt a bit upset I couldn't do more, but that was my problem.

    Giving is up to the giver, it's not something that should be 'expected' by a receiver. That isn't much of a gift, in my opinion.

    My husband doesn't shop ... has bought me gifts less than I count on one hand. But you know, he is here every day of my life, helping me do whatever needs to be done, supporting me in all my hobbies/ambitions. What the heck do I care if he can or cant' remember a Christmas or anniversary gift for?

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