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Name: Denise
[ Original Post ]
My sister and her husband get cheaper and cheaper every Christmas. I try not to let it bother me but it does. One year she gave me a broken cake plate with cake still in it. I like to buy nice gifts, but her husband has always had a problem buying for the rest of the family. They are not financially hurting and go on vacation every month. What causes someone to be so cheap but yet expects double in return? She told me just the other day, that we are only buying for the kids this year. This has been going on for twelve years.
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Name: S.M.B. | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 3:21 PM
Tell her the truth without being rude. Just explain that you always give a really nice gift that you pick out from your heart, and you didn't appreciate a broken used cake plate! Seriously, I am completely honest with everyone, some people can't handle it, but oh well, as long as your not rude or hurtful, then it will work out, you seem to really care for your family and holidays. Letting people know how you feel in situations really help. Or maybe wait it out, I think only exchanging gifts for the kids is a great idea, saves you half the torture!! Wait it out and see what she gives your children. 

Name: EthansMom0213 | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 3:26 PM
I have family like this as well and I too like to go out a purchase nice gift. Personally I would prefer to recieve nothing at all then to recieve something that someone obviously didn't put a whole lot of thought in to. After awhile we actually went to exchanging names and putting a $ limit on the gift. We had everyone write there name on a piece of paper and three gift ideas that they may want. This worked out for a whiled but eventually ended in the same way. We now only buy gifts for the kids (both my husband's and my family so this) and it just make Christmas less stressful. I still buy for my mom, my dad and his life partner. This however, will not make the people who are cheap spend more, chances are they will still be cheap. You just have to continue to tell yourself that Christmas is not about gift giving.

Being that it was your sister, I think I would have said something about the broke cake plate with the cake still in it. That's not cheap that's just in poor taste. 

Name: Denise | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 3:36 PM
I told her about it and she denied it. She said they probably bought it that way. How ironic that she had told me a week before we received it that she had gotten a new cake plate and already had one. 

Name: EthansMom0213 | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 3:38 PM
Yeah it's funny how that works. 

Name: Denise | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 3:38 PM
She called me materialistic and I told her I couldn't believe she did that. I would have at least gave the new one, not the old one they received at their wedding shower five years before. 

Name: Denise | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 3:55 PM
I am not materialistic Its just that I go out of my way to buy nice gifts for the whole family each year, even if we don'g have the money. I feel that every year they try to cut corners on their spending. Last year she bought me a gown that was a size small when I was 7 months pregnant, she said she bought it because it was buy one get one free. 


Name: lindalu | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 4:07 PM
My family and I will have a xmas party every year. We all have children and spouses so we dont purchase gifts for each other. We will all pitch in and bring a food for the party. It is a wonderfull time! and it aleviates the stress financialy. We all know how xmas can hurt the wallet. 

Name: maxieellis | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 9:09 PM
Yup Denise....and girls us too. It just got out of hand for a while. The crap we got was just unreal....like the flippin cake plate! You suppose these family members are all related?

Go with the just for the kids thing Denise...its half the battel and saves the disapointment for yourself. 

Name: EthansMom0213 | Date: Jul 12th, 2006 9:53 PM
Let me guess you recieved the free dress. Okay it is one thing to go out and purchase a buy one get one free dress. It's another thing to come out and say, I only bought it because it was buy one get one free. That's just plain tacky.

I say lets see who materialistic, who go out and spend $30 if she isn't going to spend a dime. Make her a gift or purchase something on clearance or better yet go out buy your self something you already own and give her the old one. There is now way that she purchase a cake plate that contain cake. I could possibly see it being broken , but even that is a little iffy. I have a feeling that she will get the point.

If it is materialistic to want someone to actually put a little thought into you gift then I guess we all are materialistic. 

Name: p.c. | Date: Jul 13th, 2006 12:57 AM
oh wow,

Now I could see if you were a fan of old china like I am, and she saw this at an antique or thrift store and knew you would like it because it was an old pretty crystal or bone china cake plate, but at least give it a wash! lol.

I'm sorry, but I just have to laugh at the audacity of wrapping up a broken cake plate with dried up cake on it.

After getting over the shock, I would have said something like "gee, I sure would have liked being invited to the celebration you served this cake at. Do you have any of it left?" I really would have. In my family people would have laughed at my saying it, then gave the giver a hard time, in a good way.

I do not consider you materialistic in this situation at all. If these things you've listed are gifts at all, they would be an everyday 'oh I saw this and thought of you' type of gift...not a special occasion Christmas or birthday type of gift. Is she really that blind or is she trying to send you a message either consciously or subconsciously?

Boy part of you sure wants to get back and do the same to her doesn't it? I know I would want to, but when the time came, I just wouldn't be able to drag myself down to that level. I agree with the others, just give to the kids. Or if you want to give to others still, and it wouldn't be right to leave her out., consider continuing to give good thought for the other gifts, and then just give her a gift certificate to like Target or a gas station. Or maybe go to a thrift store and compile a gift basket, you could even put a boxed cake mix and premade frosting in it.

Or maybe that would be tacky too, lol.
Wait, didn't I say I would choose not to sink to her level? Ahh well, I guess I would always entertain thoughts about it. And on the other hand there is nothing like walking in another person's shoes to understand what they are trying to tell you. And in this case maybe if she was in the receiving end of the kind of gift she gives, she might actually understand what it feels like to get them. Are you the only one she treats this way?

(Actually, as I have dear relatives who love collecting quality antique and vintage items, I have found many a great gift at a thrift store that they were thrilled about....but that is their tastes that I catered to).

The bottom line is you know at this point you're probably not going to change her, and since you've already tried talking to her, I guess the only thing you can do is just find ways so you don't feel so bad about it. Otherwise the real lousy 'gift' she is giving you is the illwill feeling that sort of hangs around such memories.

Good luck. 

Name: maxieellis | Date: Jul 13th, 2006 1:30 AM
Oh P.C. that was priceless! The paragraph thats starts...Boy part of......and the following one...I made that nasty snorting noise that starts in the back of your throat and the back of the nasel passage and then laughed right out loud!!!!!

I still cant get over the busted plate with cake!%$#%[email protected]!!!!!!! 

Name: Denise | Date: Jul 13th, 2006 2:09 AM
What is so bad about the whole thing is that she used to be the most giving person you could imagine. Until she got married to a man that saved up every penny from the time he was eight until he was twenty-two. He had enough money saved up to buy their first house, and all new furniture. 

Name: maxieellis | Date: Jul 13th, 2006 6:55 PM
Say Denise...just wondering based on the last post....do you think its maybe more him than her? When you mentioned he opens gifts before the kids i think it was, even get them....I was shaking my head. Seems just form my point of view at the moment.....he is like taking inventory of how much so and so may have spent...I just thought that was strange. If he is so penny concious and to any appropiate degree most of us should be and some are better at it than others.........but prehaps he is controlling that part of their lives like he was guarding Fort Knox. What do you think hon? 

Name: Smiley | Date: Jul 13th, 2006 9:12 PM
I have the same problem with my mother in law. She so cheap that she didn't have the decency to to give her husband a decent funeral. She is quite comfortable with her life. She invites us for dinner at a restaurant and then she announces at the restaurant the prices are too pricey. We feel we had to order the least expensive meal in the menu. We decided that we don't have dinner at restaurant with anymore and just go over a visit instead. My advice is reduce the gifts to children only or no children then make sure everybody agrees to purchase a certain amount like $10 gift and be adventureous with it. 

Name: Jen | Date: Jul 14th, 2006 1:45 AM
My husband brother is like that. Every year he asks if we can go in with him to buy the parents a gift. He will tell us that the gift cost so much be what he doesn't mention is that it is always on sale when he gets it so he pockets a little too. 

Name: EthansMom0213 | Date: Jul 14th, 2006 4:56 AM
My sister-in-law does that with the whole going in on a gift together for the parents. I don't have an issue with it except apparently she thinks I have all this money to just give away. Last year she said that my father in law wanted a smoker I said okay how much is that going to cost. She told me something like $75 I was a little caught back by this since on top of that she wanted to get him a police scanner that was going to cost $200 (my half would be $100). That $175 for one person. I told her that I was sorry but there was no way that I could afford $175 with all the other gifts I have to get. She then went on a rampage and started saying, "Well I spend $50 on each one of the kids and so one and so forth." I was like that's fine but unlike you my family is a hell of alot bigger. If I would spend $50 on just the kids I would spend over $750 and I would still need to spend more money so that I could buy the parent a gift." To told her that my limit is $50 for both my mother-in-Law and my Father-in-Law. I was not going to spend any more then that. She went on to tell me that, "If I needed to save money that my and my husband didn't need to buy each other gifts." I was like who does this woman think she is. I went off and told her that not that it was any of her business as where I was spending my money at Christmas time but my husband and I don't buy each other gifts. If we do buy something it's something for the house.

I'm not cheap by any means when it comes to giving gift but there is no way that I am going to spend over $1000 for Christmas. 

Name: Denise | Date: Jul 15th, 2006 5:04 AM
maxi, he is controlling over the check book. He want let her carry it and he gets mad if she uses another bank, because she will be charged extra fees. But what is so weird, is that when it comes to his lawn or trees, he spends a fortune. He spent $3, 000 on a utility building for himself, $2,500 on a fence, and $5,000 on landscaping. Yet he goes shopping with her to help pick out a new winter coat. She thinks its great because he likes to go shopping and help her, but I think it is sick, because he is looking at the price tag. 

Name: maxieellis | Date: Jul 15th, 2006 5:42 PM
You know Denise, I dont know this man....but just from what you say and I believe you.....it is really beging to sound like things are twofold......all about him......and show. Sounds like he is controlling....crazy pennie pincher....unless its about him his yard/show. Keeping up ya know. It cant be done to the degree he would choose ..... if someone else is spending the cash....without his approval. And that means sharing....the paycheque I mean. I couldnt take it well myself if I had to ask for permission....or approval on every purchase I make. Your sister may not have to do that exactly....just a maner of speaking. But do you know what I mean?

Thing about the origional post.....these ladies who responed and myself.....all I think agree, that 10 dollars for bithday gifts are plently...family or not. 20 dollars for Christmas. Dont worry about what he thinks or her...(if its rubbing off on her) this is your budget your family....and opening gifts for whatever the reason prior to recieving them is shallow. Just my opinion there. If they can afford to do this or that have this or that.....its their income their budget and their lives. You do whats right I am certain you will without anyone ones thoughts or advice....but dont be concerned about them and what they may think anymore. And as for what you get from them.......accept that that is who they are....sad as it is....but ullimately it will hurt them one day...somehow, someway. In other words...what goes around comes around. And the beauty is....if you just do what you know is right.....spend what you can afford.....only,......it actually will happen to them....from someone else. And too...it has always been my experience....maybe not today...next week...next month....or even next year.....but at some point you will hear about it. Life has a way of doing things like that.

Take care Denise....for fun....keep us posted..LOL! 

Name: maxieellis | Date: Jul 15th, 2006 5:45 PM
Ok nope...I think I am referring to anothe thread when I mentioned the 10 and 20 dollar thing....opps...I know I read it a few times somewhere Denise....but oh well thats I think what most people do spend. 

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