Tag Archives: gifts

“Jaw With John” – Mani, Pedi, Angry Auntie

Recently I received a photo from my niece, who works in a high-powered job. Her daughter is almost three years old.

Although I love this child, I was very upset when I saw her getting a pedicure.

A few weeks later, my sister (the child’s grandmother) sent another photo of this child … this time getting a manicure. My sister thought it was cute!

I am far from amused. In fact I am disgusted. I am a generous auntie with no children but I will not pay for frivolity with my hard-earned money.

While I am able to be lavish, birthdays are coming for this child and her twin brother, but I have no intention of sending anything and will spend my money on those in need.

Is this behavior the norm? I would love your feedback. — Disgusted Auntie

Dear Disgusted:

You make it sound like you’re the one paying for all of this. I don’t believe that you are so all you can do is scowl from a far. It also sounds like your niece is well enough off that she can afford to do these things with and for her children and that’s her decision. You’re not paying for it, even though you seem to think you are because you send “lavish” gifts and money.

Threatening to hold back and not buy these young children (toddlers really) gifts comes off as petty and it’s something that they have no control over. You’d be punishing them for something their mother did and is that the kind of auntie you want to be?

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“Jaw With John” – Aunt Is A Regular Sue Storm

In yesterday’s mail we received a birth announcement of a new great-nephew, addressed only to my husband.

Christmas cards, wedding announcements, birth announcements, thank-you cards — anything coming from his sister and her children all are addressed only to him.

The most mention I ever get is “and Family.” One wedding invitation actually came to “Uncle John and Family.” Our children are grown so presumably I’m the nameless “Family.”

I buy the presents and sign the cards and checks. There’s no animosity between us. I’ve known the kids since birth and they are all nice people. But each omission makes me feel, well, a bit unwanted.

I’m tempted to have only my husband sign the card that I bought before the announcement arrived. I want him to tell his sister that this makes me feel sad and left out. He doesn’t see it as an issue and thinks I should ignore it, but he also says that since it bothers me, I should tell her myself.

What’s your take? — The Invisible Aunt

Dear Invisible:

Listen to your husband here and talk directly to his sister. I know what it’s like to be slighted, albeit in a different manner.

It was Christmas, the family was opening presents and we had decided to open gifts from a certain friend all at the same time. All the gifts were neatly and elegantly wrapped and there was a note saying that the gifts were all from a recent trip to Africa … except for me. I got a calendar. I looked around and said, to myself, There was nothing in Africa that could be for me? Not one thing? I moved on and now it’s a pretty decent joke I can tell. Your situation is different but similar.

You know you need to bring this to the attention of your brother’s sister otherwise it will continue. Being passive aggressive with the notes and gifts won’t solve anything. Ask your sister-in-law “What’s up?” because unlike my calendar, your feelings won’t go away after January 1st.

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“Jaw With John” – You Get What You Give

I have a large family and we celebrate family birthdays at a monthly get-together with a potluck dinner. The dinner is always held at my house and I usually furnish the entree.

One granddaughter and her husband never contribute anything and never bring birthday cards for the honored family members. I have specifically asked her to bring something, and I made it easy by suggesting something simple like a Jell-O salad — but still, they bring nothing. Others are beginning to complain. Should I tell her that others are wondering why she never contributes to the meal? These two always eat.

I don’t want to alienate them from the rest of the family, as we all love them and want them with us. — Wondering Gramma

Dear Gramma:

Large family eh? Sounds like you were busy? Wink wink nudge nudge.

Stay with me here because everything will make sense, I swear. Around Christmas time my family has a saying “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.” Meaning, if you fail to believe in Santa, you will not receive any presents. It’s a way to keep that childlike spirit of Christmas around even as an adult when you know the truth. It’s not really enforced but it’s still around.

Tell your granddaughter that if they don’t feel the need to participate that when it comes time to celebrate their birthday then they will receive what they gave: nothing. It doesn’t take much to buy a card and sign it or, hell, even buy a gift card. They are doing the least possible and need to know that it is unacceptable. This will send the message loud and clear.

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“Jaw With John” – Write or Die

For my whole life, my mother has instilled in me the importance of handwritten thank-you notes. Suddenly she is saying it’s OK to email thank-yous to some people.

I’m very confused! What is the best etiquette for me and my children regarding thank-yous?

— Thanking You, Too!

Dear Thanking:

The art of the hand-written thank-you is dying. It is still the considered the “best etiquette” to send a hand-written note or card but kids these days want things done and they want them done now. In certain situations the quick e-mail or text is appropriate and in others, the personal note is more appropriate. It really goes by a case-by-case basis. Gift from grandma – write a note. Flowers from your significant other – text them a photo with you and the flowers. Use your best judgement.

If anything, make your kids write notes to work on their penmanship! Lord knows that with the technological take over, handwriting is starting to all look like chicken scratch. Trust me, I’ve seen some shitty shitty handwriting from adults and young adults. Then they comment on my handwriting and how good it looks and I look at it and go “This? Really? This is OK.” The standard is quite low now. Which means the only place to go is up!

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“Jaw With John” – Ah, Adults Acting Like Children — It Must Be Christmas

I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year. We feel like we are very serious about one another. His older siblings and their spouses do a long-distance gift exchange each year. It originally started out at $50, but last year it increased to $100. Each person sends his/her gift requests to everyone in the group and names are pulled at random and secretly assigned by one sibling’s secretary.

These gifts are then purchased and sent to the respective recipient and then we Skype one another on a certain date/time and open the gifts “together.” It seems foolish and materialistic to me.

My boyfriend included me in his family’s gift exchange plans without consulting me first. I reluctantly agreed to it. I tried asking my boyfriend to negotiate a better price point, but he said if I didn’t want to participate I could back out.

I have only met these family members once. Part of me wants to suggest nonprofit organizations they could donate to on my behalf, but I don’t want to make any enemies

How do I walk this line? — Tightrope Walker

Dear Walker:

Your boyfriend’s family needs to rethink this whole “Secret Santa” deal. What’s the point in giving a list to people with things that you want and then getting them those gifts? This sounds very needy of them. They send a list of things they want and then someone is tasked with going out and getting said things??? I don’t like it. It sounds very childish.

You don’t want to make enemies, but you clearly don’t like anything that this gift group – that you were roped into – is doing. As I’ve done Secret Santa, you are assigned a person and then you buy them a gift or gifts, all the while staying under a dollar amount. Suggest this and if they balk send them your charity list. Or just get out entirely.

I don’t care for the Skype date for opening presents. If you’re not there to see them open it in person, they can call you and tell you about it after. This too, seems childish and fosters a “look at me” attitude which, as adults, shouldn’t exist.

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