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How much is too much?

How much would you say is too much to receive in gifts from your parents/ILs? I have been trying to get my parents to cut back for years.. and I thought they finally had but surprised me with several items we weren't aware of.

Now that I am a part of DH's family and they gave us plenty of gifts - probably $700 worth b/t both of us as a guess and then they tried to slap a check for a large amount of money on top of that after we had tried to talk to them about doing a smaller Christmas this year. We declined the gift.. and they didn't want to take no for any answer, so it turned into a bigger scene than we had intended.

But.. how much do you think is too much/average? We are just getting too old for our parents to continue to try and take care of us. We want to be treated like adults because we are and we can take care of ourselves. Does anyone else feel this way?

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Re: How much is too much?

  • We have been married three years and do not have any children, but both of us have siblings that are younger so still live at home (college and high school age) so we continue to receive Christmas as they do. I could not begin to guess how much the parents spend. We tell them it is too much and by no means expect them to do so much for us. However, each year we tell them and they still insist. I think they enjoy doing it, though we make it clear that we do not expect it. Still, I am very grateful for whatever they give us and I am not offended by it. If anything I just think it is very generous of them. 
  • image Mrs. Chip:
    We have been married three years and do not have any children, but both of us have siblings that are younger so still live at home (college and high school age) so we continue to receive Christmas as they do. I could not begin to guess how much the parents spend. We tell them it is too much and by no means expect them to do so much for us. However, each year we tell them and they still insist. I think they enjoy doing it, though we make it clear that we do not expect it. Still, I am very grateful for whatever they give us and I am not offended by it. If anything I just think it is very generous of them. 

    This.

    I'm sure they know that you don't expect or need so many gifts but they probably really like buying these things for you, let them know that they don't need to do that but be thankful for what they give you, I'm sure it means a lot to them to be able to do these things for you.

  • I agree with pps.

    We've received monetary gifts from parents/grandparents, and never once did I think that it was because they thought we needed it or couldn't support ourselves.  It was just because it is what they chose to do with their money, and we were gracious recipients.

  • Why do you need to read into their gifts?  Why are you making it about being "treated like adults"?

    Many parents like to be generous w/ their kids and "spoil" them, no matter how old they are.  And honestly, now that I am a mom, I understand this even more.  I am NEVER going to want to stop taking care of my son in some form or fashion.  Right now it's changing his diapers.  In 30 years, it may be generous gifts if I can afford it.

    They are GIFTS.  Take them in the spirit intended and stop trying to figure how much they are spending, or tacking on assumed meaning. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • And really- you DECLINED their gift?

    Wow.

    I have to wonder what this is really about as it's your IL's.  not your parents.  I have to wonder what your attitude would be if it were your parents doing this.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image EastCoastBride:

    And really- you DECLINED their gift?

    Wow.

    I have to wonder what this is really about as it's your IL's.  not your parents.  I have to wonder what your attitude would be if it were your parents doing this.

    this.  i can't imagine how that would have ever gone well.  how would you feel if you gave someone a gift and they basically said "i don't want this."  as a recipient, you are obligated to say "thank you" and do with it what you want.  You could have even spent the money taking them out to dinner or whatever, that way they get to spend time with you (which is probably what they wanted in the first place) and you wouldn't feel like you "needed" the money. 

    Visit The Nest! BabyFetus Ticker
  • I say if they want to do it then let them. There may come a day when they can't afford it but right now they can so the will. We do alot for each other for Christmas because we enjoy doing it. My sister & I always find so many unique items for each other that we can't resist & end up buying each other so many things. It's fun for us. This is the time of year where it's fun to feel like a kid again. Enjoy the season & let them spoil you if they can.
    [IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/2eajrxv.jpg[/IMG]
  • If they are trying to take care of you, then they are doing this all year long.  Talk to them about it some time that isn't connected to a gift.  Unless the giving is financially burdening them (in which case it is reasonable to be uneasy), then just let it be, and be sure to show your gratitute.  If you are concerned about their financial situation, then come to an understanding for both parties: "We can't afford to give extravagantly, but we'd like to even the playing field in terms of gifts.  Can we set a range for next year that we can all afford?"  Then suggest a range pp or per couple.

    EDD 9/24/13 BabyFetus Ticker
    Best sound ever: baby's heartbeat! (Heard @ 10w1d)
  • I can totally relate.  Last year, DH & I asked our families to agree to no Christmas gift exchange.  

    It's hard to explain all our feelings but we just got tired of all the excess.  Especially since DH & I, SIL & her H, are all in our 30's and have NO children.  Admittedly, DH & I are both very independent, but we also feel the season should be about worship, time with our families and friends...not a big gift grab. 

    Well, the family agreed (several times- we confirmed!) to no gifts.  Christmas day MIL/FIL & SIL/BIL exchanged gifts anyway.  So, when MIL/FIL presented us with gifts, we declined them.  We were in shock when it happened, but they knew how we felt, so we didn't regret declining gifts they agreed NOT to give?! 

    We discussed the situation shortly after Christmas and it did not go well.  (So, be prepared for some fall out from your actions).  Regarding alternative gift giving measures, could your family agree to draw names for the exchange?  Or set a strict dollar limit ($10-$50pp)?  You could also recommend that they buy gifts for angel tree kids or donate money to your chosen charity.  Good luck!

  • Well, $1000 is more than I would ever consider being comfortable taking from my parents let alone now accepting from my inlaws. I just think I would never give such a large gift that I would possibly make the receiver feel uncomfortable - which is how I felt opening the gift on Christmas eve and not knowing how to react. We told them SMALLER christmas. And then they went and wrote a giant check - more than my husband has ever received for Christmas - after already giving us more than enough gifts. I feel it wasn't very respectful of our wishes.
  • Unfortunately to me it seems like Christmas to them is all about gifts.. where I would like it to be about enjoying spending time with family and going to church together to celebarte the reason for the season - which they don't do on Christmas.

  • AND.. to top it off they would NEVER let us take them to dinner and pay for it. They have a fit if we buy them something for Christmas or birthday that is more than $50!
  • We told them SMALLER christmas. And then they went and wrote a giant check - more than my husband has ever received for Christmas - after already giving us more than enough gifts. I feel it wasn't very respectful of our wishes.
    So, YOU can do a smaller Christmas.  They wanted to be extra generous this year.  Why are your wishes more important than theirs?  how are you being respectful of them?

    Respect is a two way street, and also, we're talking about GIFTS>  Which really means you can't dictate to people what they give you.

    Give what you want to give and are comfortable giving.  If they want to be extra generous, then smile and say thank you, and be gracious. 

    Declining the gift was anything but gracious or "respectful". 

    And again, they are the parents - many parents like to splurge on their kids on occasion.  I'll tell you this too- for my sons 1st b-day, my parents gave him $1000.  I was shocked. SHOCKED.  I know the feeling, and if anything, I worry that they can really afford it.  But it's something they really want to do (they want to do this every year for us to put the $$ towards a college fund) and because I RESPECT them, I'm going to "let" them do it.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Are your in-laws "strings attached" givers, especially where it involves money?

    My knee-jerk reaction is to say that declining a generous gift is pretty dang rude, but if they're the kind of people who use lavish gifts, particularly cash gifts, to try to buy themselves a say in your lives, then I can see where you're coming from.  Some people, and I have friends whose parents or in-laws are like this, try to use extravagant gifts as a way of manipulating or controlling their grown children.  They'll buy things you can't afford for yourselves or give huge amounts of cash and then turn around and start making demands on you that they feel you shouldn't turn down because you're beholden to them.

    If they're just generous people, take it in stride.  If they're trying to use the gift imbalance to make you feel like you owe them in some way, have your DH take it up with them at some later date.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • I disagree with the people who said you should just take their check!  This isn't a sweater for your birthday.  There are definately people that I would NOT feel comfortable taking a large sum of money from (even if it is "just a gift," even if there were no strings attached). 

    Yes, if your MIL gives you a sweater, even if its ugly you say "thank you" and give it to good will.  But $700!  You should not feel obligated to take anyone's money! 

    The fact that you wanted "small" and they wanted to give you so large a check and then were pissy when you turned it down sounded as if this is a power struggle here which is part of the problem. 

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • I see nothing in her post or responses that says "strings attached" or "power struggle".  If she wanted to talk about that, o.k., different story.  But as it stands, this is simply "she wanted small, they wanted to do something nice", and that's now a "problem".  (Wow, IL's being NICE!  How horrible.)
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image EastCoastBride:

    So, YOU can do a smaller Christmas.  They wanted to be extra generous this year.  Why are your wishes more important than theirs?  how are you being respectful of them?

    Respect is a two way street, and also, we're talking about GIFTS>  Which really means you can't dictate to people what they give you.

    Give what you want to give and are comfortable giving.  If they want to be extra generous, then smile and say thank you, and be gracious. 

    Declining the gift was anything but gracious or "respectful". 

    And again, they are the parents - many parents like to splurge on their kids on occasion.  I'll tell you this too- for my sons 1st b-day, my parents gave him $1000.  I was shocked. SHOCKED.  I know the feeling, and if anything, I worry that they can really afford it.  But it's something they really want to do (they want to do this every year for us to put the $$ towards a college fund) and because I RESPECT them, I'm going to "let" them do it.

    I'm going to disagree here.  I don't think the parents were respectful, and I don't think that RESPECTING someone means taking a gift that you are not comfortable with.  

    It seems like the poster and her DH set up boundries for whatever reason - they don't enjoy the lavish gift giving, and the ILS marched right over the stated boundries.  If I told my parents I didn't want large gifts they had given me in years before, whether it was because I wanted to stress Jesus instead of gifts, or because I felt that they had done enough, then I would expect them to honor that request  The poster was absolutely right to say "we don't want your  check."  .

    Another thing about GIFTS - they are SUPPOSED to be what the RECIPIENT wants.  Not about what YOU want to give.  Didn't everyone flame the person who bought polos for her husband, because she gave him what SHE wanted him to have, rather than what HE wanted?  Typical nest hypocrisy is going on here..

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • Wow, that is a ton. I have told my parents/ILs to cut back and they have all stuck to around $100 per person (so $200 for me and DH).

    They have already done so much for us, I am glad that they respected what we had to say.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image Wahoo:

    I don't think the parents were respectful, and I don't think that RESPECTING someone means taking a gift that you are not comfortable with.  

    If she's going to claim that it's about "respect" to give her or not give her a specific gift, then I also think it's about "respect" to not tell people what they have to give you.  I personally think it goes both ways.

    image Wahoo:

    It seems like the poster and her DH set up boundries for whatever reason - they don't enjoy the lavish gift giving, and the ILS marched right over the stated boundries. 

    Until the OP comes back and gives more info, I'm simply not ready to vilify the IL's in this situation.  If there is more to this, if there is a specific reasons why "boundaries" need to be set around gift giving, then I may change my take.  But as it stands, the parents want to be generous.  I see nothing wrong w/ that.  She wants X for Christmas, they want Y.  Why do her wishes matter more?

    image Wahoo:

    Another thing about GIFTS - they are SUPPOSED to be what the RECIPIENT wants.  Not about what YOU want to give. 

    Eh, sure, I try to give gifts that the recipent wants, but by the nature of what a "gift" is - no, it doesnt' HAVE to be what the recipient wants.  I personally dont' want to waste my money and give people stuff they dont' like and won't use, but if I wanted to- that is actually my right as the gift giver.  It's MY money, MY thought, MY effort- the gift can be whatever I want it to be.

    image Wahoo:
     Didn't everyone flame the person who bought polos for her husband, because she gave him what SHE wanted him to have, rather than what HE wanted?  Typical nest hypocrisy is going on here..

    No, not "everyone" did. 

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • If the in-laws wrote a big enormous check that the OP and her husband weren't comfortable receiving, they don't have to make some huge issue out of it on the spot; they could just not cash it, and if and when the parents bring it up, have the discussion about why they're not comfortable receiving such large gifts.

    I just feel like there has to be some reason why the OP and her DH aren't okay with the in-laws' generosity, and I'd really love to know what it is.  Maybe the OP feels like her in-laws are materialistic (followup post about how they don't go to church on Christmas) and wants to stick it to them, or maybe their generosity has a hidden agenda.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • Looking back I agree this is something we should have let "cool off" before addressing. The thing about respect is that they had agreed to a small Christmas - and then sat down and wrote a check for more than they knew we would be comfortable with after expressing our wish for a small Christmas. We really have no choice in whether we would like to spend a lot or little b/c they would never allow us to buy them something nice.. I'm afraid to even try it. It is a double-standard, which makes me even less comfortable accepting their check. It's also just kind of akward that they wrote us a check..

    As far as why I am uncomfortable - I guess I have just always been very independent. My husband and I make a good living and want to work for the things we have. That is our personal preference. 

    I don't know if there would be any strings attached, but I'd prefer not to find out. I am slightly afraid that it is, in some small way, their way of continuing to take care of "their little boy"  - whereas I feel like this should be our time to become self-sufficient and establish ourselves as a married couple. We need to learn how to handle our own money together, etc. One thing they did say to us as their reason for giving the money is that - "we're the parents and you're the children, so we want to give you this." But we're all adults, and I am afraid that is sometimes forgotten. I realize it is a hard transition for parents when their children get married and are able to take care of themselves. Hopefully this is just a transition period.

    Also, I am not comfortable having Christmas be all about gifts. As we get older I believe that the focus should be less and less about gifts.. We're just trying to move away from that.

  • From everything you say, it really seems to be simply about them being 'parents' and wanting to spoil their kids a little. 

    Here's the thing, and I understand this even more now that I am a mom - you NEVER stop being "children" to your parents, and parents NEVER stop being parents. 

    Never.

    I am slightly afraid that it is, in some small way, their way of continuing to take care of "their little boy"  - whereas I feel like this should be our time to become self-sufficient and establish ourselves as a married couple.

    These are two entirely different issues.  It's not that they think you all can't take care of yourselves, it's not about you not being adults.  Yes, it is them wanting to take care of their "little boy" on some level - but not in the way you're trying to make it.  Once you become a parent, you are one for life.  It's not something that can ever be turned off. 

    Also, I know that my parents are better off now than they were when I was a child.  I expect to be better off as DS gets older.  As parents get older and have more $$, they want to splurge on their kids in a way they never were able to when their kids were young. 

    WHere I previously talked about my parents giving us $1,000 for DS - i know it makes them FEEL GOOD to be able to do this.  They buy him so many darn clothes that I want to say "stop - he doesn't need anymore", but I know it makes them FEEL GOOD to spoil him.

    For Mothers Day, they gave me some money for me to spend on ME.  Yes, I felt it was too much.  But, again, I know it makes them FEEL GOOD to spoil me- their almost 40 year old daughter.

    You're so focused on "but we're ADULTS!!! We don't need help", that you're not seeing that that simply is NOT what it's about.  I would have to say that it was once I did become truly self-sufficient that my parents became more generous.  It was kind of like "Oh- now she's good to go.  She can take care of herself.  she knows it, we know it.  Let's spoil her a little now.".

    I truly have never understood why people expect parents to stop caring, to stop wanting to help their children - no matter how old they are. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image EastCoastBride:

    WHere I previously talked about my parents giving us $1,000 for DS - i know it makes them FEEL GOOD to be able to do this.  They buy him so many darn clothes that I want to say "stop - he doesn't need anymore", but I know it makes them FEEL GOOD to spoil him.

    For Mothers Day, they gave me some money for me to spend on ME.  Yes, I felt it was too much.  But, again, I know it makes them FEEL GOOD to spoil me- their almost 40 year old daughter.

    You're so focused on "but we're ADULTS!!! We don't need help", that you're not seeing that that simply is NOT what it's about.  I would have to say that it was once I did become truly self-sufficient that my parents became more generous.  It was kind of like "Oh- now she's good to go.  She can take care of herself.  she knows it, we know it.  Let's spoil her a little now.".

    I truly have never understood why people expect parents to stop caring, to stop wanting to help their children - no matter how old they are. 

     But it makes us feel good to take care of ourselves, and it is our lives.

  • image EastCoastBride:

    Here's the thing, and I understand this even more now that I am a mom - you NEVER stop being "children" to your parents, and parents NEVER stop being parents. 

    Never. 

    I agree that this is true, but I think there comes a point where you have to stop treating your adult children like a child. Although you are still "their child" you aren't A child anymore. There is a big difference.

  • image EastCoastBride:

    Here's the thing, and I understand this even more now that I am a mom - you NEVER stop being "children" to your parents, and parents NEVER stop being parents. 

    Never. 

    I agree that this is true, but I think there comes a point where you have to stop treating your adult children like a child. Although you are still "their child" you aren't A child anymore. There is a big difference.

    But where exactly are they treating you all like children?  If there is more to this story, then tell us.  All you've really said is "they gave us a really big check".  You haven't told us ANYTHING else to say that they treat you all "like kids". 

    And again, where does getting ONE check mean you aren't taking care of yourselves? 

    If this were monthly, and it was obviously to help you cover your bills, o.k. - different story.  But one big gift at Christmas?  I'm not seeing how it's some underhanded statement that they think you all aren't capable of taking care of yourselves. 

    And are they telling you how to use the money?  Do you NEED the money to make ends meet?  No?  Then stick it in savings and forget about it.  or treat yourselves to a nice dinner out, or a fun weekend away.  Something you wouldn't do otherwise.   There is nothing saying how you have to use this money!  don't need it to pay the bills?  Then don't use it to pay the bills.

    I really dont' see how having some EXTRA money interferes w/ you taking care of yourself.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • This is what really irks me as well:

    I truly have never understood why people expect parents to stop caring, to stop wanting to help their children - no matter how old they are. 

    It is about them wanting to HELP us.. We didn't ask for their help, nor do we need it. Caring does not equal paying for everything. I know that my parents care for me no matter who pays for dinner or anything else.

  • This is what really irks me as well:

    I truly have never understood why people expect parents to stop caring, to stop wanting to help their children - no matter how old they are. 

    It is about them wanting to HELP us.. We didn't ask for their help, nor do we need it. Caring does not equal paying for everything. I know that my parents care for me no matter who pays for dinner or anything else.

    Then, again, please TELL US how they are paying for "everything". 

    Are they buying your groceries?  Are they paying your rent/mortgage?  Are they making your car payments?

    Oh, no, they like to treat you to dinner.  Wow - how horrid.

    Sorry, but there comes a point where exerting your independance just makes you come across as ungrateful. 

    Being an "adult" also means taking a step back and realizing that people do things differently than you, that people have their own perspectives on the world, and they won't always match up w/ yours.  But that doesn't make them wrong- just different. 

     

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Just out of curiousity, is there any reason why you have such strong feelings about the topic?

    Yes, people have different ways of doing things. But everyone needs to feel comfortable with it if it involves them whether they are on the giving or receiving end. To me, this was too much to be comfortable accepting. I have taken other things in the past, but prefer it not continue going forward because that's just not something I am comfortable with. End of story. I don't have to defend my feelings. My original question was - how much is to much for you?

  • Also, I feel like you are personally attacking me. Why?
  • Just out of curiousity, is there any reason why you have such strong feelings about the topic?

    It's called being stuck at the computer all day and certain points were brought up that I have the time to speak to.  So I am.

    In the end, I don't care what you do.  All I'm really trying to do is put out there what the other side of the equation is.  You're making this about "we dont' need help, we can take care of ourselves, we're adults", when I can probably guarentee you (based on the lack of any other evidence to the contrary) that your IL's were thinking "It's Christmas time, we really want to be generous this year.  Lets give DS and libaloo something a bit nicer than we have in the past.  We know they said lets keep things small, but heck, we're the parents and we want to splurge a little!  We just think it would be a nice thing to do.  Maybe they can treat themselves to something fun!".

    And now all they've learned is they better not dare to be extra nice for fear of offending you.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

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