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Need advice--MIL trying to give us all of DH deceased grandmothers stuff

So I was talking to my MIL about possibly getting a little Christmas village for the mantel like my grandmother has... on Thanksgiving she shows up with these huge bags of her mother's Christmas village to give me, only they are not the type I was thinking about getting. I wanted the victorian style, these are really tacky and have little elves everywhere, really not my style. I found out later from my husband that my SIL had actually wanted it so I texted her and told her that she was welcome to have it and could take it home with her when she was here in a couple weeks. She was excited to have it and I figured it turned out great because I would not have to put it up and would look nice for giving it to her. Only two minutes after I text her my MIL calls me (apparently SIL tells her EVERYTHING right away) crying hysterically wondering why I don't want her mother's Christmas village and that she gave it to my husband and I. She also says she doesn't want her daughter to have it because she doesn't want her cats to destroy it. My SIL's cats apparently are very destructive, I have four animals, two dogs and two cats, but hers knock things off shelves, knock the Christmas tree down, etc. So now what do I do?!? Do I put the tacky elf village up or try to politely give it back again? I didn't ask for it in the first place and she keeps trying to pass furniture, dishes, etc off on us knowing my husband and I like more contemporary things which is grandmother's stuff is not. Just don't need another crying fit over something so silly. I would never force someone to keep something they didn't like just because it was a family members. You can't keep everything!

Re: Need advice--MIL trying to give us all of DH deceased grandmothers stuff

  • I guess if she wanted daughter to have them she would have given them to her.

    What did you think was going to happen when MIL gave something to u that she thought you wanted and meant a lot to her and you immediately gave them  to someone else?

    If you didnt want them you should have been adult about it and told her.

     



  • she gave it to you.  it is yours to do what ever you wish with it. if you want sil to have it...give it to her!   mil didnt give it w/ strings attached, did she? 
  • Tell your MIL that you wanted something similar but not the same; the one she gave you just isn't your style (lovely though it is). Since you knew that your SIL really wanted it, you figured it would be better for everybody if your SIL had it, and would display it than if you kept it in a box in storage for eternity.

    Your MIL gave you something. That doesn't obligate you to love it, or keep it, or use it (as long as your H is cool with it since had some family sentiment).

    Be honest with her, and don't let her bully you into keeping it or you'll be eating off of your grandmother-in-law's china one day.  

  • image magsugar13:

    I guess if she wanted daughter to have them she would have given them to her.

    What did you think was going to happen when MIL gave something to u that she thought you wanted and meant a lot to her and you immediately gave them  to someone else?

    If you didnt want them you should have been adult about it and told her.

     

    I never told her that I wanted it, or even knew it existed. And I don't think it meant a lot to her considering she was going to get rid of it in an auction. If I came out and just told her I don't want it she would cause a huge fuss. She likes drama and will cry at the drop of the hat over nothing. I am just trying to avoid all the problems that come with telling her the truth or something she doesn't want to hear. My DH's family blows everything out of proportion so much that he avoids talking to them anymore. I was just looking for an easy way to let her down.

  • image magsugar13:

    I guess if she wanted daughter to have them she would have given them to her.

    What did you think was going to happen when MIL gave something to u that she thought you wanted and meant a lot to her and you immediately gave them  to someone else?

    If you didnt want them you should have been adult about it and told her.

     

    I never told her that I wanted it, or even knew it existed. And I don't think it meant a lot to her considering she was going to get rid of it in an auction. If I came out and just told her I don't want it she would cause a huge fuss. She likes drama and will cry at the drop of the hat over nothing. I am just trying to avoid all the problems that come with telling her the truth or something she doesn't want to hear. My DH's family blows everything out of proportion so much that he avoids talking to them anymore. I was just looking for an easy way to let her down.

  • While I agree that gifts should come with no strings attached, I disagree that your case fits that old adage.  Particularly if this was at the heart of it: 

    " I would not have to put it up and would look nice for giving it to her. "

    Understanding that you didn't want it - it should have been returned *because* it was something important to the giver.  If it had just been purchased or was something she was trashing and you asked for it, it would be completely different.  You accepted something of value and sentiment and should have held it in respect either by using it or by refusing it.  It wasn't a situation in which giving it away could be considered respectful.  

    The position your MIL is now in is going to be stressful between her and her daughter.  Either she looses something of great personal sentimental value altogether, or she looks like a shrew.  Now, you yourself wouldn't have wanted that - and your whole reasoning to give it to the sister was, in your words, was to look nice.  The MIL is now in a completely No-Win situation unless you yourself fix it.

    My advice would be to ask forgiveness for your MIL, relate that you had not previously appreciated the personal value she held for the village and that you are *beyond* flattered that she would want you to be the recipient of something so important.  Explain that you yourself were seeking after a specific and important sentimental feeling by not just acquiring a Christmas Village - but to acquire one that would harken back to specific and endearing memories of your childhood AND your grandmother and that you realize *now* that her Christmas Village held the same importance to her.  (This will show her that you've had a lightbulb moment of how important these things were to her.)   You can reiterate that you were innocently thinking you were finding a home for something that your MIL no longer had space for and was delighted in finding that your SIL cherished them as much as she did when you made the offer, and that you were so thrilled that her (MIL) things were going to be loved.  However, you wish to honor her and allow her to retain the village without putting her in the unfair light of being both horrible and controlling...and then ask what she would have you do and/or say to your SIL so that the weight of disappointment will be directed towards *you* and not your MIL.  Whatever she comes up with, do it.

    As for other things she's thrusting on you that you don't want (this was different since you brought up the subject generically and she thought she had a solution for you) - do not accept OR if she's consistent  tell her that you will accept on the condition that she's understanding that you will pass along her heirlooms to those who will need and/or appreciate them.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • if she pulls a crying fit end the conversation.  "We can speak once you have composed yourself, goodbye."

    she is doing it to manipulate you. 

    image
    Gretchen Evie, born 7/8/2012 at 35w5d
  • image chavayjakov:

    While I agree that gifts should come with no strings attached, I disagree that your case fits that old adage.  Particularly if this was at the heart of it: 

    " I would not have to put it up and would look nice for giving it to her. "

    Understanding that you didn't want it - it should have been returned *because* it was something important to the giver.  If it had just been purchased or was something she was trashing and you asked for it, it would be completely different.  You accepted something of value and sentiment and should have held it in respect either by using it or by refusing it.  It wasn't a situation in which giving it away could be considered respectful.  

    The position your MIL is now in is going to be stressful between her and her daughter.  Either she looses something of great personal sentimental value altogether, or she looks like a shrew.  Now, you yourself wouldn't have wanted that - and your whole reasoning to give it to the sister was, in your words, was to look nice.  The MIL is now in a completely No-Win situation unless you yourself fix it.

    My advice would be to ask forgiveness for your MIL, relate that you had not previously appreciated the personal value she held for the village and that you are *beyond* flattered that she would want you to be the recipient of something so important.  Explain that you yourself were seeking after a specific and important sentimental feeling by not just acquiring a Christmas Village - but to acquire one that would harken back to specific and endearing memories of your childhood AND your grandmother and that you realize *now* that her Christmas Village held the same importance to her.  (This will show her that you've had a lightbulb moment of how important these things were to her.)   You can reiterate that you were innocently thinking you were finding a home for something that your MIL no longer had space for and was delighted in finding that your SIL cherished them as much as she did when you made the offer, and that you were so thrilled that her (MIL) things were going to be loved.  However, you wish to honor her and allow her to retain the village without putting her in the unfair light of being both horrible and controlling...and then ask what she would have you do and/or say to your SIL so that the weight of disappointment will be directed towards *you* and not your MIL.  Whatever she comes up with, do it.

    As for other things she's thrusting on you that you don't want (this was different since you brought up the subject generically and she thought she had a solution for you) - do not accept OR if she's consistent  tell her that you will accept on the condition that she's understanding that you will pass along her heirlooms to those who will need and/or appreciate them.

    I see what you're saying, but it's not like the OP sold it in a garage sale, or donated it to a Salvation Army for somebody else to buy. She gave it to her H's sister (AKA, the MIL's other child!). 

    I don't think the OP needs her MIL's "forgiveness" here, especially since her H was supportive of giving the set to his sister. If anything, I think the conversation with MIL is, "I really didn't think that the giving the set to SIL would have upset you so much. In all honesty, the set wouldn't get used at my house, and I thought it would be best in a household where it could be displayed each season."

    I do think that you have a good point with the OP declining the set in the first place; awkward as it may have been, it would probably have been less awkward than this whole mess. 

  • image MKESweetie:
    image chavayjakov:

    While I agree that gifts should come with no strings attached, I disagree that your case fits that old adage.  Particularly if this was at the heart of it: 

    " I would not have to put it up and would look nice for giving it to her. "

    Understanding that you didn't want it - it should have been returned *because* it was something important to the giver.  If it had just been purchased or was something she was trashing and you asked for it, it would be completely different.  You accepted something of value and sentiment and should have held it in respect either by using it or by refusing it.  It wasn't a situation in which giving it away could be considered respectful.  

    The position your MIL is now in is going to be stressful between her and her daughter.  Either she looses something of great personal sentimental value altogether, or she looks like a shrew.  Now, you yourself wouldn't have wanted that - and your whole reasoning to give it to the sister was, in your words, was to look nice.  The MIL is now in a completely No-Win situation unless you yourself fix it.

    My advice would be to ask forgiveness for your MIL, relate that you had not previously appreciated the personal value she held for the village and that you are *beyond* flattered that she would want you to be the recipient of something so important.  Explain that you yourself were seeking after a specific and important sentimental feeling by not just acquiring a Christmas Village - but to acquire one that would harken back to specific and endearing memories of your childhood AND your grandmother and that you realize *now* that her Christmas Village held the same importance to her.  (This will show her that you've had a lightbulb moment of how important these things were to her.)   You can reiterate that you were innocently thinking you were finding a home for something that your MIL no longer had space for and was delighted in finding that your SIL cherished them as much as she did when you made the offer, and that you were so thrilled that her (MIL) things were going to be loved.  However, you wish to honor her and allow her to retain the village without putting her in the unfair light of being both horrible and controlling...and then ask what she would have you do and/or say to your SIL so that the weight of disappointment will be directed towards *you* and not your MIL.  Whatever she comes up with, do it.

    As for other things she's thrusting on you that you don't want (this was different since you brought up the subject generically and she thought she had a solution for you) - do not accept OR if she's consistent  tell her that you will accept on the condition that she's understanding that you will pass along her heirlooms to those who will need and/or appreciate them.

    I see what you're saying, but it's not like the OP sold it in a garage sale, or donated it to a Salvation Army for somebody else to buy. She gave it to her H's sister (AKA, the MIL's other child!). 

    I don't think the OP needs her MIL's "forgiveness" here, especially since her H was supportive of giving the set to his sister. If anything, I think the conversation with MIL is, "I really didn't think that the giving the set to SIL would have upset you so much. In all honesty, the set wouldn't get used at my house, and I thought it would be best in a household where it could be displayed each season."

    I do think that you have a good point with the OP declining the set in the first place; awkward as it may have been, it would probably have been less awkward than this whole mess. 

    I understand - and thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify my statement pertaining to forgiveness.

     Sometimes we ask forgiveness because we have, intentionally or unintentionally, have wronged an individual.  Sometimes we ask forgiveness because we have, innocently and unintentionally, hurt or disappointed an individual.  I think the OP falls into that second category rather than the first.  It was an etiquette question made more complex by emotion and lack of forthrightness (both of the village and the intent behind the specific gift).  This is more a question of asking for forgiveness of innocently causing a hurt rather than admitting to a wrong motive or action.

    I agree with this not being a throw it in the trash or donate it to Salvation Army, and I tried, in my above statement, to show that passing it along to someone who was attached to it (not just wanted it for the sake of having "something" up for the holiday) was the OP's attempt at not treating the items as if they were just rubbish (not being her taste, aside).  The OP suspects (or knows?) that the items were destined for an auction.  I suspect (from personal experience with my mother and father after their mothers died) that psychologically for someone who attaches emotions to things (particularly of heirlooms) an auction is a little more comforting than dropping off their items in a thrift store.  (I won't go into why I feel that way, as this is long enough already, and ultimately doesn't matter...but I think the concept is that those people see it's value, while others might just see it as a tacky Christmas display to decorate their apartment.  She (MIL) obviously wants to know that her mother's treasures will be treasured, and not just "there" to be knocked about (which sounds like the worry she has with her daughter).

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image MKESweetie:
    image chavayjakov:

    While I agree that gifts should come with no strings attached, I disagree that your case fits that old adage.  Particularly if this was at the heart of it: 

    " I would not have to put it up and would look nice for giving it to her. "

    Understanding that you didn't want it - it should have been returned *because* it was something important to the giver.  If it had just been purchased or was something she was trashing and you asked for it, it would be completely different.  You accepted something of value and sentiment and should have held it in respect either by using it or by refusing it.  It wasn't a situation in which giving it away could be considered respectful.  

    The position your MIL is now in is going to be stressful between her and her daughter.  Either she looses something of great personal sentimental value altogether, or she looks like a shrew.  Now, you yourself wouldn't have wanted that - and your whole reasoning to give it to the sister was, in your words, was to look nice.  The MIL is now in a completely No-Win situation unless you yourself fix it.

    My advice would be to ask forgiveness for your MIL, relate that you had not previously appreciated the personal value she held for the village and that you are *beyond* flattered that she would want you to be the recipient of something so important.  Explain that you yourself were seeking after a specific and important sentimental feeling by not just acquiring a Christmas Village - but to acquire one that would harken back to specific and endearing memories of your childhood AND your grandmother and that you realize *now* that her Christmas Village held the same importance to her.  (This will show her that you've had a lightbulb moment of how important these things were to her.)   You can reiterate that you were innocently thinking you were finding a home for something that your MIL no longer had space for and was delighted in finding that your SIL cherished them as much as she did when you made the offer, and that you were so thrilled that her (MIL) things were going to be loved.  However, you wish to honor her and allow her to retain the village without putting her in the unfair light of being both horrible and controlling...and then ask what she would have you do and/or say to your SIL so that the weight of disappointment will be directed towards *you* and not your MIL.  Whatever she comes up with, do it.

    As for other things she's thrusting on you that you don't want (this was different since you brought up the subject generically and she thought she had a solution for you) - do not accept OR if she's consistent  tell her that you will accept on the condition that she's understanding that you will pass along her heirlooms to those who will need and/or appreciate them.

    I see what you're saying, but it's not like the OP sold it in a garage sale, or donated it to a Salvation Army for somebody else to buy. She gave it to her H's sister (AKA, the MIL's other child!).  Exactly what I was going to say. It's not like OP gave it to random somebody. It is still in the family. Why does the MIL think it's so bad that SIL has it instead? If I were OP though, I would explain it to MIL that since the thing was not her style, and SIL wanted it, she figured MIL wouldn't mind that OP gave it to SIL instead. And then say sorry but that you meant to tell MIL right away but SIL beat her to the punch.

    I don't think the OP needs her MIL's "forgiveness" here, especially since her H was supportive of giving the set to his sister. If anything, I think the conversation with MIL is, "I really didn't think that the giving the set to SIL would have upset you so much. In all honesty, the set wouldn't get used at my house, and I thought it would be best in a household where it could be displayed each season."

    I do think that you have a good point with the OP declining the set in the first place; awkward as it may have been, it would probably have been less awkward than this whole mess. 

    I would also just come clean and honest that I don't want any of Grandma-IL's stuff because it does not fit the decor. Maybe pick one item that GIL has and go with that one, and keep it if you really want to just please the MIL. 

    I've read too many posts on these boards about how some women hate their ILs and I think part of the reason is that they can't be honest with each other for the sake of "avoiding dramas." That's how drama start to begin with is that you don't tell your ILs in their face but you tell someone else and the truth is bound to surface at some point no matter how you hide it. It shows in your face, how you act around them, etc and then you're just fake. 

    I think the truth hurts sometimes but most people appreciate it eventually. 

  • image pilotjen11:
    image magsugar13:

    I guess if she wanted daughter to have them she would have given them to her.

    What did you think was going to happen when MIL gave something to u that she thought you wanted and meant a lot to her and you immediately gave them  to someone else?

    If you didnt want them you should have been adult about it and told her.

     

    I never told her that I wanted it, or even knew it existed. And I don't think it meant a lot to her considering she was going to get rid of it in an auction. If I came out and just told her I don't want it she would cause a huge fuss. She likes drama and will cry at the drop of the hat over nothing. I am just trying to avoid all the problems that come with telling her the truth or something she doesn't want to hear. My DH's family blows everything out of proportion so much that he avoids talking to them anymore. I was just looking for an easy way to let her down.

    I dont think you mentioned anything about her auctioning anything off in the OP did you?

    Well, it didnt work did it? So much for not causing a fuss.

    Maybe everyone should stop coddling her then? If she wants to throw a fit let her. As long as everyone walks on egg shells around her she will continue to act like a 2 year old.



  • We have had to be very honest with my MIL about these kinds of things.  DH's grandparents lived with them for the last 8 years of their lives, so MIL has 2 households worth of furniture in her house (hers and grandparentsIL).  She keeps talking about downsizing houses, and has suggested that part of her idea of downsizing is giving DH and BIL and SIL all of the pieces of furniture that don't fit in her new house.  She, like your MIL, tried to cause all kinds of drama at first about it, but gently explaining that while DH and his siblings do want some things from the grandparents (for sentimental reasons), they don't want to just take things to help MIL downsize, eventually worked.  She has now taken to asking what they want of their grandparents, and letting other family members take things that are sentimental to them as well (for a while she felt that because it was in her house, even though it was a family heirloom that someone else in family might have more attachment too, it belonged to her and they weren't allowed to have it).

    Part of the key for my MIL is having it come from her children.  Us daugher-in-laws try to stay out of it for the most part.  Our spouses (her kids) consult with us, obviously, but they communicate the concensus with her.  I know you said she brought this to you, and you can't control that.  But our general rule is that when it comes to either spouse's family heirlooms and what not, the spouse deals with their side of the family.

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  • I think the key is that your H should say something to his mom.  For YOU to say "sorry, NMS" will just hurt her.  But coming from your H, it might be better received. 

    If this set is important to your MIL, why not try to come up with some other solution?  She probably wants to think the set is well cared for and feels guilt for getting rid of it (which is why she doesn't want SIL and her cats to trash it).  Maybe suggesting she sell it AS A SET on ebay, then donating the $$ to a cause your grandMIL would feel good about (grandma's church, a charity, the senior center she went to), or donating it to a senior home or senior center or church, where it can be displayed and well cared for.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • image Wahoo:

    I think the key is that your H should say something to his mom.  For YOU to say "sorry, NMS" will just hurt her.  But coming from your H, it might be better received. 

    If this set is important to your MIL, why not try to come up with some other solution?  She probably wants to think the set is well cared for and feels guilt for getting rid of it (which is why she doesn't want SIL and her cats to trash it).  Maybe suggesting she sell it AS A SET on ebay, then donating the $$ to a cause your grandMIL would feel good about (grandma's church, a charity, the senior center she went to), or donating it to a senior home or senior center or church, where it can be displayed and well cared for.

    I'm not arguing that coming from her H would be better received, but as a caveat, when H tells his mom "NO" to gramm's stuff, MIL already know it's because DIL said "NMS." Either way, MIL would know it was the DIL that's refusing it. 

  • I would be honest with her and let her know that you wanted the victorian style village. Let her know that the set she gave to you wasn't really your style and instead of keeping in boxes you knew that SIL wanted it and would really enjoy it.

    Honestly, I held my tongue on so much stuff and now I'm completely honest with my MIL and let her know if something isn't our style or if we will/won't use it.

  • I agree with PP that you should just explain to MIL that it wasn't your style and therefore you wouldn't use it. If I were you, I would tell her you didn't realize how much it meant to her, thank her for the thought and return it to her. Then she can do with it what she wants.
    [IMG]http://i56.tinypic.com/33vlx6a.jpg[/IMG]
  • image pilotjen11:
    She was excited to have it and I figured it turned out great because I would not have to put it up and would look nice for giving it to her.

    The part in bold italics is a very strange thing to say.  You're either genuinely nice or you're not.  It's weird to go around trying to "look nice".  Just a heads-up on that.

    There's no easy way to tell someone you won't accept their gift due to issues of taste because, after all, it ends up sounding like you feel your taste is somehow above theirs.  Even if that's not how you feel, it looks that way.  That's her real issue.  She's hurt and embarassed.  You would probably feel bad if someone gave away a gift from you.  Don't deny it.  In some place deep down, you would.  With that said, she needs to understand how small it all is in the grand scheme of things and quit making a scene about it.  You were nice to give it to your SIL and it sounds like (even if her cats destroy it) she will enjoy having it.  That's the point, after all, right? 

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