WWYD? A gift that's over the top. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 02-07-2010, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd just turned 12. She has a friend who lives in a "rich" neighborhood. We are normal middle class people. The girls go to school together. Several of dd's friends brought her gifts for her b-day. We didn't have a party for her friends....just family. Well, this particular friends showed up at our house with her mom. DD went out to talk with them, and then they left before I got out to speak with and meet the mom. DD came back in and showed me that the friend brought her a card with a $50 bill in it.

Now, in my book that's excessive. It makes me uncomfortable. None of her other friends did anything so extravagant. Heck, even dd's grandparents don't go to such extremes. I normally spend about $100 on each of the kids for their birthdays. Grandparents and aunts and uncles normally bring a $20 gift or put $20 in a card. I even asked a good friend of mine who is quite wealthy, and she freaked out and thought it was crazy.

WWYD? Would you just let it go? Call the mom? Send it back? I don't want to be rude or be ungracious.
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#2 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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I'd let it go. It is likely a norm for them since they're upper class. I am middle class and wouldn't consider it absurd- it is actually a norm for our friends and family to give gifts of similar amounts. They're probably being nice. I would however have a talk with your DD and let her know not to brag about it or anything. Just explain that it was a very nice gift, and that it isn't something to be expected from everyone all the time.

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#3 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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I think that's higher than normal, but not excessive. We spend $20 on people we don't know very well (like other kids at daycare or playgroup) and between $30 and $40 on our good friend's kids. (we aim for $30 but if we find the right thing we'll go as high as $40).

If it was $100, I'd call that excessive.
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#4 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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I understand how that feels excessive. There was no situation (like a party) where there was an expectation of gift giving. I would assume they chose to give your dd a gift because they love her. I would be really hurt and embarrassed if someone returned any amount of $ I had given as a gift.

If you think it's too much for your dd to spend right now you could help guide her on spending it wisely or save some for later.

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#5 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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I agree with the others. It's more than I budget for gifts but I can see how that could totally be the norm in other circles.

Your daughter could invite her friend out for lunch or a shopping expedition to spend the money together - your dd's treat. "Wow, this is enough for both of us to get ice cream together and buy matching shirts."

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#6 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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I don't think it's excessive, and I would think they would NOT consider it excessive. Given their perception, I think they would feel hurt and uncomfortable if you called and returned it, etc.

In fact, having had friends with wide-ranging incomes, I've learned that it's simply part of learning to get alone and relate to people who different from you. I think the incident holds a lot of lessons for your daughter, in terms of empathy, discretion, etc.
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#7 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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I say it was a very kind, generous gift. Teach your dd how to be gracious and spend her money wisely. She must be a very good friend.

I don't think it's excessive. We couldn't afford that, but that doesn't mean it's excessive.
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#8 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 01:39 AM
 
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I don't think it's really excessive. In fact, I would see it as very generous and a great opportunity to teach your dd how to graciously accept an unexpected gift. Have her write a nice thank you letter and move on.
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#9 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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We usually spend $40 or so on birthday gifts for the kids' close friends. It never crossed my mind that it would offend a parent or put them off. I think that price range is probably very normal for a lot of people. I would let it go.
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#10 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 02:12 AM
 
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Unless you get the feeling that the gift comes with strings attached or the person is trying to manipulate you or your child, let it go.

Make sure your DD sends a thank you to her as well as to all the other who gave her gifts!

In our circle of friends $2o or $25 is the norm for a casual friend, more for a close friend.

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#11 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 04:24 AM
 
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Yikes- excessive to me! We spend between 15 and 20 on gifts. 50 seems like a lot but not much you can do about it.
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#12 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 04:38 AM
 
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i would take it at face value and assume it felt normal and good for them. maybe they understand they are lucky and want to share the happiness.

a good idea i thought of for spending at least a part of it, is encourage your DD to use it to do something with the friend that gave it. it will help both of them place value of being together and sharing activities rather than just material things.
maybe something like a fun lunch out or a day at the craft store and making something together.

either way, i really do feel that if you or DD have had good feeling about these folks before, this is good too. I know that i had and still have friends that are lower income than me, and with those that are close, i really enjoy treating them from time to time. it helps me really appreciate the money we are lucky to earn.

hope that helps

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#13 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 05:52 AM
 
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I would let your DD spend it or save it - whichever she chooses. I don't think it's really over the top - especially given her friend's financial situation. I'm sorry you feel uncomfortable about it, but I probably wouldn't make it a big deal with DD, b/c I wouldn't want her to feel weird about it. I might just say that it was really generous of so-and-so, she must have wanted you to use it for something special.

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#14 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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I would feel uncomfortable, but let it go. Just make sure she writes a nice "Thank you" note. Not something I usually do, but I think it would be good to make sure your DD realizes the gift is above and beyond.

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#15 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. DD is taking some nice thank you notes and little treats for all of her friends. We discussed how it was more than normal, but she shouldn't brag to any of her other friends.

DD and this girl have only known each other since the beginning of the school year. DD has never been to her house or done anything together outside of school. I guess that's why it makes me uncomfortable because in my book they are casual friends. It's not like they have been BFFs since kindergarten or anything.

I can see what all of you are saying...that $50 wouldn't be too much for a close special friend. DD's best friend in the whole world moved away to Canada 2 years ago. I took DD and her friend to build-a-bear and spent well over $100 and then went out for ice cream too. That friend had spent many afternoons at my house though, and we saw her every Sunday at church.....she was way more than a casual friend.

For now the money is put away to help pay for summer camp. There is a really good chance she won't need to use it for camp though because the girls at church do a huge fundraiser that normally covers everything. I told her that once camp is paid for she can do what she pleases, and suggested that her and her friend could go to the movies together or something fun like that.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. It is very appreciated!
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#16 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 12:18 PM
 
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If you wouldn't be offended by $5 from a family poorer than you, don't be offended by $50 from a richer family. And just as you wouldn't then give the poorer family $5, don't feel obligated to give the richer kid $50.

What would be fun if she doesn't end up needing the money for camp, would be to do a series of outings with the gift giver. Like going out for ice cream 6 or 7 times.
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#17 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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I think it is excessive and would be really awkward for me if one friend in our circle was giving out $50 gifts of cash!

my concern is that perhaps the mom grabbed it thinking it was a five.....or a $10 or something.....I would calland check and just make sure that is what they meant to give her (although considering the responses given it sounds like this may be perfectly sane in some circles)

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Originally Posted by ChocolateNummies View Post
Your daughter could invite her friend out for lunch or a shopping expedition to spend the money together - your dd's treat. "Wow, this is enough for both of us to get ice cream together and buy matching shirts."
I think this is a brilliant idea though. how fun to be able to go have some fun with a friend "on me". and what a great way to take a cash gift and turn it into something really special.

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#18 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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I have a friend who is significantly richer than me, and from a different culture, and she has given cash or a check to me when my babies were born and to my kids for bdays. I would NEVER give a girlfriend cash. Maybe a gift card, but most likely just a gift. Anyway, just a different cultural norm, I assume, and I have never been offended. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, eh? It's not like she was flaunting it, right?

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#19 of 41 Old 02-08-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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To them it obviously wasn't excessive, and in fact you may be missing some information on it. maybe the girl gets allowance and saved up some money to give a friend that was special to her a nice gift on her birthday, maybe the parents spend that on all friends, I mean who knows? I say let it go, and be gracious.
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#20 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 01:55 AM
 
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To me it seems excessive and bizarre for 12 year olds to be giving each other cash gifts at all. And that amount seems crazy high. On the other hand, it would be pretty awkward to give it back. I like the idea of the girls doing something together with the money - that is if your DD even likes this girl enough for that. But yes, the whole thing would make me really uncomfortable.
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#21 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 02:14 AM
 
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I'd be happy they were so generous and make sure to send a very grateful thank you note. Wouldn't you be upset if someone contacted you about your generous gift and tried to give it back? I would be embarrassed and instantly regret giving it. You are doing the nicer thing by just appreciating it and moving on with your life.

now if she starts expecting 50 dollar gifts from you at her kids parties because she gave generously, you've got a problem. but that's another thread.
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#22 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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DD and this girl have only known each other since the beginning of the school year. DD has never been to her house or done anything together outside of school. I guess that's why it makes me uncomfortable because in my book they are casual friends. It's not like they have been BFFs since kindergarten or anything.
It sounds to me as though this girls WANTS to be better friends with your daughter. Not to say she was trying to "buy" her friendship or anything, but perhaps in her family circle that type of idea is normal "buying gifts as a show of esteem and hoping to get closer to someome" I think it would be really nice for you daughter ot invite her friend out to do something together and spend the money (ie. get ice cream, go to a movie, etc.)

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#23 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I think it is excessive and would be really awkward for me if one friend in our circle was giving out $50 gifts of cash!

my concern is that perhaps the mom grabbed it thinking it was a five.....or a $10 or something.....I would calland check and just make sure that is what they meant to give her
ooo, yeah, good point.

"Hi, this is DD's mom, this is a bit awkward, she's thrilled with the money your dd gave her, but we're worried that you gave too much by accident. Do you mind telling me how much you had planned to give her?"

Then if she's says $50, you already have the mom on the phone to arrange a day together for the girls, and if she says $20 or $10 or something you can arrange a different sort of get together as a chance to change the money.

All assuming, of course, that your dd has any interest in getting to know this other girl.
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#24 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
my concern is that perhaps the mom grabbed it thinking it was a five.....or a $10 or something.....I would calland check and just make sure that is what they meant to give her
I disagree.

My kids are 11 and 13, so I see what kind of presents kids give each other. My DD is an executive and we are one of the big house families (not bragging, just explaining). We would NEVER give a child $5 or $10. Never. A child they barely know who invites them to a party will get a present that is around $20, which is the norm where we live.

$50 is a lot and in our circle that would be a "good friend" level, but as others have pointed out, may be the good wants to be better friends and wanted to do something extra nice.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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Not excessive to me if the're really close. At that age $10 on a gift card doesn't go to far. Have your DD take her friend to a nice lunch or something.
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#26 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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I do find it a little excessive and also a little odd. Even for very good friends and even for "upper" class... in fact, I think "class" is a moot point. If it were good friends, then they would know you well enough to pick an appropriate gift.

Dd attends a $$$ private school, that also has a great scholarship program... the kids all buy fairly similarly-priced gifts for both good friends and classmates. People usually buy gifts around $15 no matter if the parents make $500K/year or if they make $15K/year. I think that people who have money don't have to show it... those that do have a problem with materialism in the first place. And they certainly don't have to buy their friends.

I would tell the mother that the gift was more than you expected and ask how she felt if your dd were to donate half of it to her charity of choice. If the mother gets indignant about it, you know it was for show. If she is thrilled at the idea, you know she gave it with a good heart. JMHO.
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#27 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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#28 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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I really doubt she accidentally put a $50 in the card instead of a smaller bill. I just can't imagine, even me being sleep deprived. I also don't have cash on hand very often, so maybe that's why. If I had a $50, it would be b/c I took it out of the bank specifically for an occasion.

I know I had already posted, but I just had to comment that I woudn't say anthing to the other mom about being uncomfortable or asking her if she made a mistake. That is going to make her uncomfortable, and she is the gift giver here. Anything other than a proper thank you, is not appropriate, IMO.

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#29 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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I don't think it's excessive, though I wouldn't give that much to a casual friend.

I also don't think it's appropriate for your DD to 'pay it back' by taking the friend out to lunch/icecream with it. It was a gift for her and she should decide what she wants to spend it on. I agree with other posters that they probably want to get to know your DD better. Perhaps the other girl is shyer?

I would just let it go and when it's time for the other girl's birthday spend what yo'd usually spend ($20-30?).

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#30 of 41 Old 02-09-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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Like most of the pp, I agree that it's not excessive for this particular family and that dd should simply write a thank-you note and you should let it go.

However, unless it would be impossible to send your dd to camp without this unexpected $50, I think she should be allowed to spend it as she wishes, not use it to contribute to something you were planning to do for her anyway (if I'm reading that right?) Nor should she be encouraged to use it by taking her friend out - unless she really wants to.

The fun of a generous gift like that is getting to choose how to spend it yourself.
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