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"what would macgyver do?" "get cancelled" - Idiot Control Now
bees on pie, burning rubber tires
mellowcandle
mellowcandle
"what would macgyver do?" "get cancelled"
So I did finally get an email gift list from my sister, which included ideas for her boyfriend.

Granted, this was a mass email to several people, not personally to us.

I'm caught. I don't like feeling obligated to get something, but I don't want to be rude and not get something.

I asked D what his girlfriend Miss Manners would say, and he said she'd come firmly and unequivocally down on the "no" side. And funnily enough, today her column was again about how she laments that Christmas has become a greedy gift-grab. D and I do agree to an extent. We're planning on talking to my parents when we see them about not doing this next year and just getting stuff for the kids. We're adults, we don't need anything, we can buy stuff we want, and there's no need to go through this hassle every year of trying to figure out what to do and how much to spend. With my parents, especially, D thinks it becomes an arms race when it comes to spending, and because they spend so much on my sisters, they feel they have to do the same for us, and we don't want them to. It's unnecessary. When I talked to my mom the other day she said she wanted to get us a new kitchen buffet/cabinet. Furniture?? For Christmas?? I said, no, we appreciate that but don't need it, and she insisted I look around and find something and let her know, and I said that's too much. I think I talked her out of it.


Anyway, I guess I'll ask mom about this boyfriend thing. D thinks we should just get my sister a gift card and write boyfriend's name on it, too, but if the amount is the same as we got for my BIL, and they're supposed to share it? Then that feels cheap to me, and I don't want to look cheap. But I don't want to resent spending money on someone I don't know, either.

Current Mood: frustrated frustrated
Current Music: postcard from mars--howie day

7 pathetic excuses or justify your existence
Comments
amazonqueenkate From: amazonqueenkate Date: December 6th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
In our family, there's been an understanding for years (actually, since I was around 16 or 17) that couples just automatically get things bought for the two of them as a couple. As such, my cousins and their spouses and my aunts and uncles have never asked for things as induviduals, but rather as a couple; the one time they did, it was my then-pregnant cousin asking for herbal teas because the default in my family was to buy her and her husband beer but she couldn't actually partake.

That said, my sister and I are the only adults in my family to stay significantly single after 21, so the fact that we get induvidual gifts is more the exception rather than the rule.

My quick solution? Get your sister and her boyfriend a gift card to a restuarant. They'll use it together (presumably) and have fun with it, but that way you don't have to agonize over it being something like a Best Buy where they'll have to truly split it. You know what I mean?

Though frankly, the fact that she assumes everyone will get presents for her boyfriend is a little presumptious. If they were engaged or married, or you knew him well, that would make more sense. But then again, if your family is really liberal with the gifts, maybe that shouldn't surprise me; my mother spends about $50 on my brother's girlfriend every year, regardless of WHICH girlfriend he's on (and it's usually a different one than the year before!)
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: December 6th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's the presumption part that bothers me, yeah.

Other than gift cards, I don't like giving "couple" gifts when it's just a boyfriend. I don't feel a boyfriend has the same place in the family that a spouse does. Though at this point he's been around almost as long as her ex-husband was, so I don't know.
amazonqueenkate From: amazonqueenkate Date: December 7th, 2009 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I can completely see your point with couple gifts when it's just a boyfriend. I think the reason my family did it when my cousins weren't married was that they wanted to pretend they were, since the mere thought of LIVING IN SIN caused heads to explode and a path of chaos to be left in the wake of their PREMARITAL BED-SHARING OH EM GEE.

But I'd go with a gift card. And if you get the BIL a $20 to a store, get them like $25 to a restuarant: not cheap, but not a whole other gift. Best of both worlds.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: December 7th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, we're probably going with a gift card. Now to find out where my incredibly picky vegetarian sister eats....
cal_reflector From: cal_reflector Date: December 6th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awkward. The closest parallel I can think of is when it comes to Red Envelops on Chinese New Years. Generally, seniority in the extended family + social status + wealth compounds into a loose formula for calculating how much a giver ought to give. The age of the receiver (I'm 24) may also have some small effect. Since I live in the USA I sometimes get dollars rather than Taiwan currency, usually working out in my favor.

It's pretty informal though, and I cant think of an instance where the amount became a matter in controversy... we don't give or expect to receive red envelopes outside of the family. Matters are simplified when the receiver has a permanent job or gets to 30 or gets married, which qualifies him/her as an adult.
blushingsigh From: blushingsigh Date: December 9th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've got no advice for you but you say BIL just like I do :).
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: December 9th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's just faster!
7 pathetic excuses or justify your existence