MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should you continue to send birthday presents?

Here's this week's hypothetical situation for you to cogitate on:
Should you continue to send birthday presents?

Both you and your sister have 2 children each and you've always sent her kids a birthday card and a small present each year, yet for the last few years your sister has stopped sending anything to your children, even a card. She and her husband have never had a very high income, whereas you can comfortably afford to send yearly gifts. It's her daughters 13th birthday soon, what would you do?
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  • DineshAdv
    DineshAdv Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    I would still send gifts. Even if she and her husband aren't a great aunt and uncle doesn't mean you should be a bad aunt/uncle.

    Not having a high income isn't much of an excuse.
  • Thunderbird_2
    Thunderbird_2 Forumite Posts: 613
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Yes, I should. My love to my family is unconditional!
    Be nice, life is too short to be anything else.
  • blueneon
    blueneon Forumite Posts: 16 Forumite
    I have this situtation with my sister!!! BUT I still give her girls pressies at birthdays n xmas, coz they are still my nieces and I dont give to receive.
    Old Faithful we roam the range together,
    Old Faithful in any kind of weather,
    When the round up days are over,
    And the Boulevard’s white with clover,
    For you old faithful pal of mine.
    Giddy up old fella cos the moon is yellow tonight,
    Giddy up old fella cos the moon is mellow and bright,
    There’s a coyote crying at the moon above,
    Carry me back to the one I love,
    And you old faithful pal of mine.
  • buzwad
    buzwad Forumite Posts: 12 Forumite
    I don't think that a lower income couple who don't send cards and gifts are somehow "bad" relatives. The issue of how good the relationship is will be borne out in day to day life, not in annually sending an overpriced piece of paper through the post.

    In my opinion, if they are not sending things, it may be awkward if I were to. If the reason behind it is that they can't afford to do this, then I don't think I'd want to embarass them when their kids' birthdays come around.

    Martin didn't enlighten us on the rest of the family tree structure... if these are the _only_ two cousins (on one side at least) of my children, I think I'd make a bigger deal out of them than if I have many brothers and sisters and my children have many cousins. Personally (in real life), I have a LOT of cousins, so we tend to only send cards and gifts on the "big" birthdays or if we are with them at the time of their birthday.
  • Taffybiker
    Taffybiker Forumite Posts: 927 Forumite
    I would continue to send gifts but only for the next 3 years, until the child is 16. After that it would be "big" birthdays -18th, 21st etc.
    Try saying "I have under-a-pound in my wallet" and listen to people react!
  • fad1211
    fad1211 Forumite Posts: 252 Forumite
    i would stop being a mug and probably give cards only and stop the gifts. At the end of the day, your little ones would like to receive something from there aunt/uncle. I dont give to receive, and if my kids were to only receive a card, I would continue to get them cards and gifts. But if they cannot even give a card, for whatever reason, it just goes to show you and your kids are not highly valued or even appreciated.

    By looking at the above posts, seems as if i am the only one with these views, but hey thats my opinion.
  • Katyag
    Katyag Forumite Posts: 1,217 Forumite
    I agree with you fad1211, we are in a similar situation. It was our DS2's 1st birthday last month and DH's brother totally ignored it. He also didnt acknowledge him being born or his christening so we have said enough is enough we arent being taken for mugs anymore so his daughter wont be getting anything for her birthday from now on. Not sure about christmas yet.

    We dont give to recieve but you feel taken for a total fool when you make an effort to look for a gift, wrap it, go to the post office to post it and they do nothing!

    Kids get so much these days are they really likely to notice one less gift??
    Bringing up 2 handsome boys and 1 gorgeous girl the MSE way!
    Joseph born 19th December 2001
    Matthew born 8th August 2007
    Tara born 23rd January 2011
  • Sheepster
    Sheepster Forumite Posts: 120
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Depends on how well I know/get on with the kids, but I'd still send them if I could afford comfortably as it says. After all - it's not the kids fault their parents are self centred.
  • Dorrie
    Dorrie Forumite Posts: 66
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    My two sisters and myself have already discussed giving presents. For Christmas we no longer give our nieces/nephews presents, partly because of the problems of exchanging gifts when we don't live near each other (resent paying the Post Office a fortune to send actual presents through the post where you ending paying more for postage than you do for the present - and that's if it arrives at all!), and also because the sister that lives closest to me has three sons and I have two sons and a daughter, and we ended up buying virtually the same thing for each other's children (usually chocolate selection packs) so we decided a couple of years ago to stop.

    Birthdays, however, which are more personal, have continued, but only when the child in question actually acknowledges the gifts and says thank you! My eldest nephew is now 22 and niece is 21 - for the last few years I haven't sent my nephew a present, just a card, because he hasn't had the good manners to thank me! I know my (other) sister reminds him frequently, and I told her a few years back that as he had stopped saying thank you (and lets face it, how easy it is to send an email, which is all I was asking for) he would no longer get the present. My niece was 21 in June - and I actually visited them last week whilst she was there - and she has still not thanked me for the cheque I sent (which was cashed) - so she will no longer be getting any presents. I think that is fair enough. When we were growing up we had to write thank you notes virtually straight away and send them to relatives - it's just good manners.

    So, although it deviates slightly from the question, and it doesn't state how old the children involved are, I would still only send a card in this instance - income has nothing to do with it!
  • englishmac
    englishmac Forumite Posts: 137 Forumite
    I would still send gifts. It is not the children's fault. I would possibly discuss it privately - they may not be aware of how you feel or how it looks. They could be in a dire financial situation and too proud to let anyone know. In my experience, it doesn't always have to be an expensive present but something chosen particularly for the individual. Kids don't understand the value of things; it is only if adults point out to them the high monetary value they take any notice.
    Cheap and cheerful. Preferably free. :T LBM - more a gradual rude awakening.
    DFD where the light is at the end of this very long tunnel - there, see it? Its getting brighter!! :o

    DFW Nerd Club Member no. 946. Proud To Be Dealing With My Debts. :D
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