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Am I being too sensitive

(58 Posts)
Mattsmum2 Mon 31-May-21 22:01:23

I always thought I was a generous soul, giving presents to my brothers side of the family. When he and I had children we agreed that we wouldn’t buy for each other and would do so for the children. Then when the children were adults it reverted to cards unless it was a special birthdays such as 21st or 30th where I contributed too. When my brother had a special birthday I spent quite a bit on him, when I had a special birthday I got a £20 pen, that broke soon after. Now he has three grandchildren that I have bought gifts on their birth, birthdays and Christmas. He attended a family meal for my children when they celebrated milestone birthdays, they got a card only. I’ve mentioned this to my mum but I doubt she said anything to him. I’ve got to the stage now where I live on a pension and have to watch the pennies, so I want to stop gifting to my great nieces and nephews, but feel guilty and wonder what they will think? I’m also about to become a grandmother and I doubt he will gift anything. Am I right to stop? Or should it not matter of the fairness of it all?

Chewbacca Mon 31-May-21 22:05:29

Just stop. Cards only from now on.

Sara1954 Mon 31-May-21 22:09:48

Well I had a similar situation with my brother, I always bought his children nice presents, but he often wouldn’t bother at all with mine, or they would get some bit of rubbish three months later.
So one year, I got fed up and just stopped.
I regret it now though, it wasn’t their faults, I think I should have been the bigger person and carried on buying them nice things.
I don’t feel I behaved very well over it.

poshpaws Mon 31-May-21 22:15:21

I say this lovingly, because I truly feel for you, not meaning to sound mean - but you give out of choice because you're a generous and kind person. You shouldn't give if it's in the expectation of getting back, like for like, only give if it seems right and you actively want to.

In fact, I think it's past time for you to stop giving to his children/grandchildren and to him, himself.

Firstly, it no longer gives you pleasure to do so; it simply hurts you when your generosity is not reciprocated.

Secondly, your circumstances are much restricted from before you relied on a pension, and you will want to use what you can spare for your own child/ren and coming grandchild.

I wouldn't wory about what your great nieces and nephews will think - have a short word or write a wee note to your brother explaining very briefly that in your current circumstances you can no longer afford to give gifts to extended family, and ask him to explain it to his lot.

Best wishes and I hope you have great times with your coming grandchild.

FarNorth Mon 31-May-21 23:02:50

I agree you should stop giving, as your finances are reduced.
Don't hold a grudge against your brother, tho.

M0nica Mon 31-May-21 23:17:25

I want to stop gifting to my great nieces and nephews, but feel guilty and wonder what they will think?

I simply do not understand why you should feel even a twinge of guilt let alone care a toss what they think.

It is your decision about what you want to do with your money. So if money is tight, stop doing it, it is clear that they feel no need to reciprocate your generousity. Do you ever get thank you letters from your great nieces and nephews. I suspect not.

Believe me, you are giving these presents because you want to do so, not because the recipients expect them or will be disappointed if they do not arrive. Deal with thinking out what drives you to cont1inue this one-sided generousity then concentrate on your own grandchild in the way your brother concentrates all his money on his.

welbeck Mon 31-May-21 23:18:36

i think it's a mistake to try to make others responsible for our actions.
we choose what we want to do.
and we can re-visit that choice.
just take ownership for your own decisions.
i doubt children will even notice who gives them what, or care.
they just want loads of things; it's about things not nuances of relationships.
so don't worry, just stop. nor do they care for cards.
maybe join a subscription service for singing and dancing celebratory emails.
they'll probably enjoy that more than cards.

Doodle Mon 31-May-21 23:30:53

My SIL stopped getting a gift for my son when he turned 18. He didn’t know that she wasn’t getting him any more presents until the following year when she sent a card and said you’re too old now. He was a bit disappointed because the expectation of a gift was there. If she’d have told him on his 18th that’s it no more he would have accepted it without a problem. I made sure that when we gave gifts to others children we always made it known when giving a final gift this was the last one so that they wouldn’t expect anything. It wasn’t the value of the gift it was the way it was done that was upsetting.

welbeck Mon 31-May-21 23:34:10

but did he get her a present ?

Hithere Tue 01-Jun-21 01:09:38

Yes, you are being too sensitive

You and your brother agreed on gift rules and he followed them, while you decided to break them

Your brother didnt have to reciprocate your generosity.

You are going to buy some real estate with your daughter and son in law and you are on a tight budget - save it and invest it on your needs.

nanna8 Tue 01-Jun-21 01:20:58

It is tricky. We have a lot of grandchildren ranging from aged 2 to late 20s and we haven’t brought ourselves to stopping buying for the older ones at Christmas and birthdays . Now we also have 3 greats and it is costing us heaps. We will stop eventually I suppose but with the greats we hardly ever see them anyway so it is a bit silly really. I do feel blessed to have such a large extended family ,especially since I was an only child but I think probably the time has come to just send cards to the 6 who are over 21. Mattsmum I don’t care that they don’t all give me presents ( most don’t), at my age I have more than enough ‘stuff’ so I wouldn’t worry about that! Something about it is more blessed to give than receive?

Ali08 Tue 01-Jun-21 04:57:32

I think it's time you put yourself first, for a change!!
You had the finances before therefore you were happy to give gifts to that side of the family. But things have changed and you no longer have the money to give. Surely, as you say you are a pensioner now, these nieces & nephews will understand, I mean they must be old enough to realise that money does not grow on trees!!
Think of yourself, first & foremost, then of your own immediate family (your child/ren), then welcome the new grandchild with your loving arms, happy that you can occasionally spoil him or her!!!
Remember, money does not grow on trees, and to put yourself first!!!!

BlueberryPie Tue 01-Jun-21 05:11:54

I think it's fine to stop and you probably should have stopped when he did. I doubt they'll even notice, tbh.

Lucca Tue 01-Jun-21 06:21:15

To be honest I can’t imagine buying for great nieces and nephews ! I think it gets out of hand I am far more in favour of spontaneous present giving rather than gifts by rule.

Calendargirl Tue 01-Jun-21 06:59:26

I send cards to great nephews and nieces and to their parents. Stopped present buying when they reached 18 ( the nephews and nieces, never given gifts to their children),

What on earth do you buy them? Vouchers, toiletries, scarves etc? I wouldn’t have a clue what to get them, and suspect many presents find their way into charity shops.

Kim19 Tue 01-Jun-21 07:08:11

Try giving with you heart a little more than your head If your heart's not in it (and it doesn't seem to be) then you have your answer. Head would suggest that you really can't afford it anyway so ease off on the actual outlay until you feel comfortable with the end result. If this result turns out to be zero then that's fine. Giving is meant to be joyful not a problem. If my resources were restricted, my forthcoming grandchild would be very high priority for anything that was available. Good luck with that. My experience of being GP is total joy. Hope yours proves to be he same.

Nansnet Tue 01-Jun-21 07:51:05

You agreed with your brother to stop buying gifts for each other, and to stop buying for your respective children once they became adults. However, you decided to carry on. I can understand buying for a special birthday, especially if there is a celebration, but I really so no need to continue otherwise. I'd probably buy a gift if a new grandchild was born, but not after that. I would just stop now. I see no reason why you should feel sensitive about it, especially when you made the agreement with your brother not to continue to buy gifts. He may even feel awkward/embarrassed that you're still doing it, and he isn't.

Nonogran Tue 01-Jun-21 09:31:52

Just stop!

Fleur20 Tue 01-Jun-21 10:08:45

Adult kids and partners get christmas and birthday as do young grandkids.. but when I retire the value will be reduced for each equally. I am not putting myself in penury for anyone.. much as I love them all dearly. My life is for living too.

leeds22 Tue 01-Jun-21 10:17:45

You sound a lovely aunt but I think your present buying has probably got a bit out of hand. Just stop and look after yourself. Don’t blame your brother though.

Newatthis Tue 01-Jun-21 10:53:21

Just stop - he did!

cornishpatsy Tue 01-Jun-21 11:37:29

It does not matter what other people are doing, if you want to gift then do so, if you do not then stop.

rockgran Tue 01-Jun-21 12:08:50

If they even notice they might ask if you are ok. Then you can say that your circumstances merit a tighter budget these days and that your grandchildren will come first. It can be said in a light hearted way - becoming a grandmother is a good time to rethink your priorities.

Marmight Tue 01-Jun-21 12:36:16

Mattsmum. Just do what you feel is right. I think that may be calling a halt! If it upsets you and you get no pleasure from giving, just stop.
I give to my 3 DDs and the 8 GC. My 3 SiLs get a small ‘minding’ unless its a big birthday. Last week for his 40th I gave a SiL a marina trolley he needed! None of them want for much but it gives me pleasure to give. As the children get older and as 4 are abroad, they get vouchers. Otherwise I ask my DDs what is particularly on the List of Wants as theres no point in buying something you think they want!!

Shandy57 Tue 01-Jun-21 12:42:09

I'm 64 and still remember my disappointment when my aunt stopped giving me gifts when I was about seven or eight years old - I've no idea why. Saying that, I don't remember ever writing any 'thank you' cards - could be the reason. I get great pleasure from giving.