Family Matters
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Family Gifts

So, I just had a question to get a general sense of what's the correct way to go about this:

DH and I, and his two sisters, would like to go in together on a gift for their parents. We determined the gift and are now attempting to divide up how much each should pay. Sister #1 divided up the price counting my DH and I as 2 (thus, with a $120 gift, we would pay $60). My DH and I believe that, as we have one income, we should be counted as one (which is what has always happened). We're willing to put in an extra $10 or so, but feel that it would be unfair to contribute $60. 

Thoughts? Is it more common to have a couple counted as two in things like this or as one? I just want to make sure we're not expecting something unrealistic here. 

Thanks!! 

Re: Family Gifts

  • I don't think $60 is worth arguing over but I treat couples as a unit (i.e. one contribution).

  • It's not as though you would have bought her a gift if you weren't married to her son, so you really shouldn't count as a separate person.  It's fair to split the cost between the siblings that are buying their mother a gift.

  • Thanks for your perspectives. We were able to figure it out; DH and the sibs came to the same conclusion jinksd1. And you're right $60 isn't much to be 'fighting over', but I was just curious as to what was normative in these situations. Anyway, thank you, and have a Merry Christmas!
  • I may be in the minority on this.   

    If the gift is going to be listed as coming from you, DH and each of his sisters, I actually feel you and your DH need to be counted individually.  Your financial situation (having one income) isn't the concern of his sisters.  If the gift is from 4 people, 4 people should contribute.,

    You dno't want to put in $120?  Then get them a gift just from the two of you for $60 - if that's your budget. 

    "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

  • I personally wouldn't complain about it, but only because I've been on the "other" side of things. I planned a family trip once and booked some hotel rooms and rental car. I paid for everything myself and asked the others to pay their share when they arrived (I got there first). My parents were the only couple in the group and I divided it up per head, so they had to pay per person. My dad wasn't "thrilled" about it but he understood the logic. It helped keep the cost down for everyone else and it was the only fair way to divide it up.
  • image 2012FutureMrsB:
    I personally wouldn't complain about it, but only because I've been on the "other" side of things. I planned a family trip once and booked some hotel rooms and rental car. I paid for everything myself and asked the others to pay their share when they arrived (I got there first). My parents were the only couple in the group and I divided it up per head, so they had to pay per person. My dad wasn't "thrilled" about it but he understood the logic. It helped keep the cost down for everyone else and it was the only fair way to divide it up.

    A trip seems much different than a gift, no?

  • image Jim&Jaime:

    image 2012FutureMrsB:
    I personally wouldn't complain about it, but only because I've been on the "other" side of things. I planned a family trip once and booked some hotel rooms and rental car. I paid for everything myself and asked the others to pay their share when they arrived (I got there first). My parents were the only couple in the group and I divided it up per head, so they had to pay per person. My dad wasn't "thrilled" about it but he understood the logic. It helped keep the cost down for everyone else and it was the only fair way to divide it up.

    A trip seems much different than a gift, no?

    How so?  It's still about x number of people contributing and by the logic of "a couple is a unit", the single people have to pay more while the "unit" still gets two spots/places of recognition. 
    "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

  • That's a tough one. My family considers a married couple as one, so $60 would be appropriate and especially because you and your husband have one income. Other people may not see it that way, so either pay the $120 or get a gift from the two of you on your own.  

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since September 2012
  • When we go in together for a gift, we figure each family unit as one share of the gift.

     
    It gets silly when you start figuring that the XYZ family has a Mom, a Dad, and children so they're responsible for 4 shares and the ABC family has a husband/wife combo so they're 2 shares, and then the JKL family is just a single person so they're 1. 

    If there is an issue on figuring it out, go it solo and do your own thing.

  • image EastCoastBride:
    image Jim&Jaime:

    image 2012FutureMrsB:
    I personally wouldn't complain about it, but only because I've been on the "other" side of things. I planned a family trip once and booked some hotel rooms and rental car. I paid for everything myself and asked the others to pay their share when they arrived (I got there first). My parents were the only couple in the group and I divided it up per head, so they had to pay per person. My dad wasn't "thrilled" about it but he understood the logic. It helped keep the cost down for everyone else and it was the only fair way to divide it up.

    A trip seems much different than a gift, no?

    How so?  It's still about x number of people contributing and by the logic of "a couple is a unit", the single people have to pay more while the "unit" still gets two spots/places of recognition. 

     

    It's still about numbers, but when you are talking a trip, and beds, car spaces, and food, the number of people take up an actual amount of space that has to be paid for. I would expect to pay for both my husband and I if we went on a family trip because we wouldn't be sitting in the same seat on the plane, in a car, sharing one meal between the two of us, etc.. As a gift though, we do family unit, my sister and I split gifts for my parents 50/50 (when we decide to do joint gifts). My DH name goes on the gift too. When we help pay for anything for his mom, we split the cost with his sisters fairly evenly although we usually contribute a little more just because we are fortunate enough to be able to, but they don't expect that, they split evenly and we usually offer to help a little more.

  • image awesomenus1341:

    It's still about numbers, but when you are talking a trip, and beds, car spaces, and food, the number of people take up an actual amount of space that has to be paid for. I would expect to pay for both my husband and I if we went on a family trip because we wouldn't be sitting in the same seat on the plane, in a car, sharing one meal between the two of us, etc.. As a gift though, we do family unit, my sister and I split gifts for my parents 50/50 (when we decide to do joint gifts). My DH name goes on the gift too. When we help pay for anything for his mom, we split the cost with his sisters fairly evenly although we usually contribute a little more just because we are fortunate enough to be able to, but they don't expect that, they split evenly and we usually offer to help a little more.

    To be clear, I'm not arguing this to say people are wrong to include a couple as "one".  If everyone in your family is fine w/ this, then have at it.

    But in situations where someone does care - I think it needs to be looked at.  To the above - honestly, that doesn't do anything to change my view.  A trip has different factors at play, but still w/ a gift - if FOUR people are giving it, I don't see why FOUR people don't contribute.

    To be clear- I'm talking about adults.  Witty mentioned kids.  I'm not talking about that.  I wouldn't expect to count kids as an equal share in the giving of $$.  Just like on a trip- kids aren't counted (in my group at least) until they require a room of their own.

    My point is just that it's not a "given" that a couple should be counted as one. If no one cares, sure, do it. But if someone does - you have to step outside of this "we're a unit" mentatility sometimes.

    "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

  • on the flipside of your theory, op, you and DH would end up paying only half per person than that of the other single people involved. that's not fair either. imo-if your name is on the card you contribute an even portion. and how many incomes you have doesn't matter to anyone. next time I suggest asking how the cost of the gift will be split before you agree to be involved and then start an issue.
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
    Alison's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) 
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