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OT- what's your "policy" for birthday gifts?


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  #1  
August 20th, 2011, 03:45 PM
east to west coast's Avatar ~Melissa~
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DH has 2 older brothers who are both married with kids. One lives in MI and one lives in GA. Even when we lived on the east coast, we only saw the 1 in GA once a year max, and the one in MI probably 3 times a year, max. We have a good relationship with all of them, but we're all busy and it's always been hard to coordinate schedules.

Anyhow, the BIL and SIL in GA announced a few years ago to DH's family that they were adopting a "policy" that once an adult in the immediate family turned 30, they would only be sending him/her a card- not a gift for their bday. They invited us to do the same, but we find it strange, and to be honest, cheap. Considering that we only see them once a year (less then that now that we live on the other side of the country), we figure that the least we can do is spend $30 on each person for a bday gift to let them know we're thinking about them. To us, that seems very normal and appropriate.

I just emailed that BIL because his wife's bday is in a few weeks to see if she wanted or needed anything in particular. He emailed me back and reminded me of their policy and urged me not to buy her anything. I am avoiding emailing him back because I know I'll say something I'll regret later. And, his response just got me thinking- is what they're doing normal? Are we the weird ones?

Just wondering- do you buy birthday gifts for your adult immediate family members?
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  #2  
August 20th, 2011, 04:14 PM
Irish_Wristwatch's Avatar Running with Scissors....
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my mom and her siblings so something similar at christmas, they dont buy gifts for each other, but do buy gifts for each others children regardless of their age. At Birthdays they always buy each other a small gift.

We buy our family members gifts at birthdays, but if they had a family policy that they didnt want gifts after they turned 30, i wouldnt buy them anything out of respect for their family policy.
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  #3  
August 20th, 2011, 04:20 PM
RobinX02's Avatar Crazy mom of 3!
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We only do cards too.. MIL/FIL & Grand parents (IL) send us money.. but thats all.. Its so hard doing Christmas shopping as it is, Im glad we dont have to think about buying a present for birthdays too..
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  #4  
August 20th, 2011, 04:22 PM
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We do that at one set of my grandparents house during Christmas. (Only grandkids under a certain age get a gift) but they do have 9 grandkids and 3, about to be 4 great grandkids. The adults just get money (which is fine by me)

We buy gifts for birthdays, adult and child in our family. I've never heard of a family having such a policy. I like getting a gift, just to know xyz family member is thinking about me.
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  #5  
August 20th, 2011, 04:40 PM
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hmmmm...well me and dh have A LOT of nieces and nephews (20).....soooo, we just made up our own policy last year and explained once the said niece/nephew turns 20...no more gifts, just a card (we only have one that is that old though), and we do buy Xmas gifts for them allllll, but as for bdays, both our families policy is that we only do a bday gift if we see them/are invited to their party (obviously we wouldnt show up for a bday party empty-handed), otherwise no gift.
We just cant, we'd go broke, (and we do at Xmas)

We also both have large families (5 siblings each side). In my family we do do cards with money or a gift. His family they only do gifts if they see each other that day, otherwise just a happy bday phone call.
Honestly, as an adult, I can never think of anything I want, and if I want something, I usually already have it, or will just buy it myself.

I think their policy is a good idea..everyone is on the same page, gets the message, no hard feelings, etc.
There gets to be a point where enough is enough in my opinion...but we have huge families, so the whole bday/xmas thing gets crazy out of hand here (plus we will have 4 kids of our own soon.....cant be buying literally 50 gifts every Xmas, 34 plus bday gifts a year, etc)
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  #6  
August 20th, 2011, 04:48 PM
east to west coast's Avatar ~Melissa~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vancouvermommy View Post

I think their policy is a good idea..everyone is on the same page, gets the message, no hard feelings, etc.
There gets to be a point where enough is enough in my opinion...but we have huge families, so the whole bday/xmas thing gets crazy out of hand here (plus we will have 4 kids of our own soon.....cant be buying literally 50 gifts every Xmas, 34 plus bday gifts a year, etc)
I totally agree- IF DH's family was big. But it REALLY isn't. Like I said- DH has 2 brothers, they're both married, and 1 has 2 kids and 1 has 3. That's it. And, both of my SILs only have 2 siblings who only have 1 kid each. So, we're spending $120 total per year on bday gifts for his brothers and their wives.

We honestly would care less that they don't buy us gifts, but being reminded of their "policy" and being urged to do the same is kind of annoying.
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  #7  
August 20th, 2011, 04:51 PM
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Nope. Just the kiddos. All of my family is lower middle class essentially, so instead of putting that extra financial pressure on everyone, we just do phone calls/cards. Although lately DH is lucky if his mom remembers to call him for his bday, and he just turned 26, so he has a while to go til 30.

We do live fairly close, and my mom usually does a cake/cookout for my sister and I (our bdays are a few days apart) in lieu of presents. My MIL/FIL send me/DH a card with like $20 in it for our bdays. They live a few hours away and have strange work schedules so we almost never see them.

We have Me, DH, my sister, my brother, Mom/Stepdad, DH's brother, his wife, his dad/stepmom, his mom/stepdad. We all just call/email/card it up. Birthday parties for the kids, and we do Xmas presents, although my side is sticking to just presents for the kids this year as there will be two new babies and everyone will be a little tight.
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  #8  
August 20th, 2011, 04:58 PM
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Sometimes I'll buy gifts for my siblings that are in town. Usually it's if they are having a party or dinner. Those that are out of state I'll send a card.
It just happen to be they are all a lot older than me, so I have a lot of nieces and nephews (12 of them on my side) so I always bought for them instead.
We always exchange gifts with DH's brother and SIL.

If you really want to send her a gift, I would. Maybe BIL didn't want to sound greedy by saying to get her so and so, but yet they don't send gifts.
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  #9  
August 20th, 2011, 05:44 PM
Jacobbbsmommy's Avatar Happy but Lost
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i have a HUGE family on my side and we have an accepted family policy. once someone reaches age of 21 you do not get any more gifts. cards if everyone remembers and definitely a phone call but no gifts. and i am sooo thankful for that policy! i have 6 siblings, 7 grandparents (and greats), 7 aunts and uncles and their NUMEROUS kids. i have a hard enough time keeping up with just the little kids, i would be broke as heck if i had to do adults too! lol
hubbys family is VERY small and we do bday gifts for them and they us so thats nice
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  #10  
August 20th, 2011, 05:53 PM
MeganMomof5's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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We have a fairly big family...I have 3 siblings, lots of neices and nephews, plus cousins, and cousin's kids...I do not buy gifts for adults in our family (except our parents)...If we were invited to a birthday party of one of the kids, I will bring a gift, but if we don't go to a party, I don't give a gift or a card...Christmas i don't buy any siblings or their kids gifts...We do go to my aunts on my dad's side of the family and usually exchange gifts for the kids, but I think this year we're going to stop doing it...My oldest neices are 22 and 21 and I no longer give them money when we go to their birthday and sometimes I don't even bring a card....It's not that I don't want to do anything for anyone in the family, it's just that we had to stop somewhere, it was too expensive to buy everyone something for every holiday and birthday...We've got 4 kids of our own, which costs us enough money.
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  #11  
August 20th, 2011, 05:54 PM
geogeek's Avatar Marsi's Mommy
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Well, in my family, it is more of a phone call for birthdays, Christmas, etc. I have never gotten gifts for or from family members...I think ever in my life. We don't send gifts for anything, even to nieces and nephews. I don't even know the inlaws birthdays.
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  #12  
August 20th, 2011, 10:44 PM
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We both have big families. I am the oldest of 7-none of them are married or have children tho, I have 2 aunts, one with 3 boys and the other only has 1 child. My uncle has 2 kids. DH is the 2nd oldest of 7 and 2 of his sibs have kids-one has 3 the other has 1. Plus we have grandparents. So, yeah, even in doing just kids we have a lot of gifts to buy just for b-days. I am of the mind that there are certain important b-days, like 21, 25, 30, 35 etc. So I told DH that this year since I turn 26 I don't even want a party. I will do something with my Mom and a b-day dinner with DH and the kids...but that is it. Of course he will get me a gift, but I don't want to do anything else with DH's family or anything. I don;t think that adults need to have parties and gifts every year. I think that it just gets to a point where you don't need it. Spouses should always give gifts to each other and parents usually give to their adult children and there is always a sibling or friend you are really close to, but beyond that, no gifts is fine by me. I just don't expect it from ppl. I would rather them use their money on buying cooler stuff for their kids or spouses than on me.
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  #13  
August 20th, 2011, 11:03 PM
east to west coast's Avatar ~Melissa~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogeek View Post
Well, in my family, it is more of a phone call for birthdays, Christmas, etc. I have never gotten gifts for or from family members...I think ever in my life. We don't send gifts for anything, even to nieces and nephews. I don't even know the inlaws birthdays.
VERY interesting! I'm a big fan of celebrating birthdays, so I buy (small) gifts for all of my closet girlfriends (about 5 total) in addition to my sister (who I spend a lot more $$ on), her SO, and DH's immediate family members. Since most of the people who we're friends with where we live now are also transplants and don't have any family living nearby, we tend to make a pretty big deal of everyone's birthday here. There's usually a large group of us that go out to a nice dinner to celebrate and it's customary to bring a small gift for the birthday boy or girl, like a bottle of wine.
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  #14  
August 20th, 2011, 11:14 PM
♥womanintheshoe♥'s Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My family stopped buying bday gifts for each other when we graduated high school. The only people I've bought gifts for were parents and my own dc (no nieces/nephews). Now even parents are off the list because they do not need/want anything. If anything we try to give them "experiences" such as a family trip to Mexico or something like that rather than another thing to clutter their walls/shelves.

We've actually asked repeatedly that our siblings do not buy gifts for our dc/us or send $. Thankfully, most have agreed (mostly because of the # of dc we have, lol). I figure these are my dc and while it's nice if someone wants to celebrate my dc's existence in this world a simple card is plenty sufficient; plus I don't want my dc to expect $ from relatives.


Quote:
We honestly would care less that they don't buy us gifts, but being reminded of their "policy" and being urged to do the same is kind of annoying.
I can see how that would be annoying yet at the same time if you continue to send them $/gifts then perhaps they feel obligated to return the same?
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  #15  
August 21st, 2011, 08:26 AM
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DH and I and our siblings all agreed a while back to not do gifts for birthdays. My brothers are younger (20 and 24) and DH's is 26. But we just found it was a lot to keep up with, since they all were in relationships. We make sure we send a card or call them on their day. But the gifts were nixed since we all never knew what to get one another and it was expensive for all around. We CAN make something for each other if we are inclined...so I always do something silly and fun. And my one brother usually does the same. So we still try to make it an important day...just not with spending money.

I think lots of families do it this way to avoid the "buying junk" phenomenon (let's face it...I have NO CLUE what to buy my 24-year-old brother on a yearly basis!). And to save money. I still feel it is special, but that is just me.

We have not come up with a policy for the kids yet, since we are the only ones who have any and he is only 2. Last year my brothers did an awesome gift for him, so I am assuming we will probably do gifts for the kids for a while...maybe til they are teenagers? But we will put something in place when more kiddos start coming.

I think you are entitled to do what you wish. As long as you don't mind not getting anything for your birthdays, it is fine to get her something. If you are not comfortable with "getting nothing but a card," perhaps make her something or get a small meaningful gift to include in the card. But I do understand their policy, especially if financial times are tight for them.

ETA: I can not IMAGINE having to buy gifts for all the people in my family. Nothing personal to those who do...but it has never been a part of our family's traditions. My mom has 5 bros/sis and my dad has 3 sisters. Each has AT LEAST 3 children...so I have tons of cousins. I know we have never done birthday gifts to-from aunts/uncles/cousins. That would have put everyone in the poor house! At Christmas, both families do a "round robin" gift exchange. We draw as many names as we have in our family (we have four for each this year) and buy gifts for those people. The limit is $50 in one family and $20 in the other...so we will spend $280 this year on Christmas, not including our parents and Liam who we always buy for. That is enough for us. Me and DH actually don't even do Christmas for one another, since we both have December birthdays, we agreed to just do those and not Christmas. It is so much money and we run out of ideas!!
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  #16  
August 21st, 2011, 08:48 AM
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My husbby's family used to do the gift exchange thing, but it still ends up being so much time and money and for us Christmas is not supposed to be about gifts, but about the birth of Christ. So, we decided to do homemade things like food (breads, applesauce...fave foods or treats) and last year I made every female a wine bottle lamp. This year I am making my nieces tutus and maybe some hair bands. Birthdays are different, we still buy every child a gift or if they are older we do something with them. Like my 14 year old sister, after the baby is born I am taking her shopping to spend her birthday $ and I will end up buying her lunch too. I think that there is a certain point where an actual gift is not as fun as doing something together like shopping, having a girls night in etc. As adults for b-days we do dinners as a huge family and we all contribute food and drink and they usually like to do small gifts, but DH and I would rather only do that for "big" birthdays. I guess for us it is kinda a money issue, but also if we did parties adn gifts for every adult b-day every year it would be exhausting.
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  #17  
August 21st, 2011, 09:06 AM
Grace's Avatar Seven is Heaven
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We get gifts for family on their Birthdays, I like gifts on my Birthday lol. One policy dh and I have is we dont buy gifts for each other on Christmas, we do buy gifts for the kids but not each other since we celebrate the meaning of Christmas and know its not about presents, we see it as more of a time to be with family and the ones you love and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Now in the past we would get together with the whole family and have cheating santa and things like that, more fun gift giving games type things. My mom tried to keep this rule but we tend to break it, since she ends up getting us gifts and we end up getting her gifts and same with MIL sil and the rest...so its more of a deal between me and dh.
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  #18  
August 21st, 2011, 09:13 AM
east to west coast's Avatar ~Melissa~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ♥womanintheshoe♥ View Post

I can see how that would be annoying yet at the same time if you continue to send them $/gifts then perhaps they feel obligated to return the same?
I guess, but (and this is going to sound really witchy with a 'b') that really isn't my problem, ya know? They chose to adopt their policy, and we have ours, and we've explained that to them.
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  #19  
August 21st, 2011, 10:07 AM
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We have about 35 people on both sides of the family so no, we don't for birthdays. For Christmas, we do buy all the nieces/nephews something and if we are there we do a white elephant type exchange. We do still send gifts for both sets of parents. For half my siblings its a $ issue, makes it easier for them not to. For me personally I'd rather not have a small gift of a pair of socks or a DVD. Since we are fortunately able to buy what we need/want year round it's hard to come up with anything even for DH!

I do think it's kind of selfish to ignore your brothers wishes, that's just my opinion. If you think of it in a different situation: say you have a policy that you don't give your 5 year old candy. Your BIL and his wife allow theirs to have candy. So your child goes over for a playdate. Would you rather they abide by your policy or ignore it since THEY don't have the same policy? I would assume most people would want their rules taken into consideration.

Maybe they have good reason for not wanting to do gifts. Maybe it's an ethical thing or a $ thing. If you look at my DHs job/income you'd be shocked at how frequently 'we can't afford to do xyz' comes out of my mouth to my friends. Yeah it may look like we have plenty of $ to spend but we choose not to and to save for the future instead.
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  #20  
August 21st, 2011, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psboden View Post

I do think it's kind of selfish to ignore your brothers wishes, that's just my opinion. If you think of it in a different situation: say you have a policy that you don't give your 5 year old candy. Your BIL and his wife allow theirs to have candy. So your child goes over for a playdate. Would you rather they abide by your policy or ignore it since THEY don't have the same policy? I would assume most people would want their rules taken into consideration.

Maybe they have good reason for not wanting to do gifts. Maybe it's an ethical thing or a $ thing. If you look at my DHs job/income you'd be shocked at how frequently 'we can't afford to do xyz' comes out of my mouth to my friends. Yeah it may look like we have plenty of $ to spend but we choose not to and to save for the future instead.
I totally agree here.....whether you do or not is not the issue; its rude to ignore their wishes in my opinion, and I'd be annoyed if I was getting sent gifts after I repeatedly was told not to.
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