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#61 of 78 Old 11-02-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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 If a close family member did, and I knew for a fact they understood the symbolism of the gift--- the issue is no longer the ITEM, the issue is the lack of respect towards my desires. 

 

 

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 At some point, a gift stops being a sincere gift and crosses the line into passive agressiveness. 

 

 

exactly how I see these gift issues


 

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#62 of 78 Old 11-02-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

First, I'd like to request that people try to keep this thread respectful.  I know that feelings get tense around this subject becasue the response of one person can feel like such a personal attack to another.  But you can attempt to disagree while not being insulting.

 

 



The question is, for *this family* is this situation equivalent to giving a gift to a vegetarian of a beef stick.  At some point, a gift stops being a sincere gift and crosses the line into passive agressiveness. 

 

I do NOT know where it is for this family.  I also CANNOT know how passionately the OP feels about plastic.  It is not my issue, but I have other issues that you may find unimportant.  Other people's views of them does not mean I need to give them up.  I think each family does need to pick their "hill to die on."  For me, a Hello Kitty Laptop for a 5 year old wouldn't be it (It would become a car toy.  I know this because my kids got Leapsters at that age and that is what they were.  Then the DSs).  But I may have another issue.  It is hard when your expectations do not line up with mainstream society because the line gets tricky.  I think we can all agree that there ARE gifts that we would no allow our young children to accept with politeness and goodwill (for example, pornography).  But that is a common, shared societal feeling.  Wheras when you have an aversion to something that is acceptable within the mainstream, communicating that belief can be hard and then met with disbelief.

 

 

For me, in these situations it comes back to the objective of the giver.  If an aquaintance gave a gift that went against my beliefs in some way, it would't be a big deal.  If a close family member did, and I knew for a fact they understood the symbolism of the gift--- the issue is no longer the ITEM, the issue is the lack of respect towards my desires. 

 

My parents did serve (gift?) my kids meat. 

 

I chose not to assign negative intentions to the action. I could have perceived it as passive aggressiveness, or disrespect for my values. I chose to see it from a more positive intention; they wanted to share the food *they* love with their grandchildren. I think it's gross and unhealthy. They don't see it that way.

 

I'm not saying there is a right or a wrong way. My somewhat selfish thinking is that maybe if I let my parents enjoy their grandchildren the way the see fit,  my kids will see that as a healthy model, and let me enjoy my grandchildren (that would be so so cool!) the way I want to when I'm older. And choose the gifts I want to get them. 

 


 

 


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#63 of 78 Old 11-02-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post

Puke.  Really.  I cannot believe the crap I'm reading on this thread.  Absolutely shameful.

 

I never enjoyed the stuff my MIL would buy for my kids because I would have spent the $ differently.  I never ever told her how I felt and never ever took any of the things from my children.  What the heck happened to "it's the thought that counts"?  YK what?  After watching my MIL die from choking I sure wish she were here to buy them some more crap.  I guess people just don't get how precious just HAVING these people in your life to buy that crap is.  I'm seeing very darkened hearts here. 



I've accepted, with thanks, many gifts that I didn't particularly like, or which conflicted with my beliefs and values. I've done so for myself, and on behalf of my kids. I definitely believe in being gracious and polite when accepting a gift, even if it's not one you like that much. (This has been really, really hard on dd1, for various reasons, but she's there now.)

 

However, "it's the thought that counts" only applies if the thought in question is truly generous. I don't know OP's in-laws, but she does. Maybe "the thought" isn't very nice, yk? I"ve had two people in my life who totally use gift-giving as a way to manipulate people, and it's sick, and really hard to watch. The "thought that counts" behind their gifts is nasty....really nasty. I'd rather have a crappy gift from someone who truly believed I'd love it, than a wonderful gift from someone who is using said gift to mess with my relationships. If the OP's in-laws are using gifts to mess with their son and DIL (OP), then I don't think OP or her dh are obligated to be gracious about it. These people sound like they have serious boundary issues.

 

I'm sincerely sorry that you lost your MIL. That must be so painful, especially at the holidays. But...I do hope this is going to come out okay, because I don't intend it in a mean way AT ALL...the fact that you don't have your MIL, or the fact that some people's parents/in-laws pay no attention to their own grandchildren, really doesn't have anything to do with this. I remember someone posting a thread about getting over 100 gifts for her dd, and she was clearly overwhelmed and near to (if not past) the point of tears. Several people brought up the "be grateful you have in-laws/parents/whomever taking an interest in your kids, because I don't". My question, then and now, is...if you're dying of thirst in the desert, do you really envy someone who is drowning? Grandparents who just aren't interested are a big problem. Grandparents who are so heavy-handed with the gifts that they stress out their children and grandchildren are also a problem, even if it's on the other end of the scale.

 

When I first read the OP about the HK laptop, I kind of went "meh - no biggie". Then, I read further, about the satellite dish, and the "I'll kill myself if you marry her" stuff. These people are not behaving in a caring, loving, generous fashion. They're behaving in a weird, unhealthy, controlling fashion. If it's the thought that counts, then I don't think OP should accept the laptop.

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#64 of 78 Old 11-02-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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I've accepted, with thanks, many gifts that I didn't particularly like, or which conflicted with my beliefs and values. I've done so for myself, and on behalf of my kids. I definitely believe in being gracious and polite when accepting a gift, even if it's not one you like that much. (This has been really, really hard on dd1, for various reasons, but she's there now.)

 

However, "it's the thought that counts" only applies if the thought in question is truly generous. I don't know OP's in-laws, but she does. Maybe "the thought" isn't very nice, yk? I"ve had two people in my life who totally use gift-giving as a way to manipulate people, and it's sick, and really hard to watch. The "thought that counts" behind their gifts is nasty....really nasty. I'd rather have a crappy gift from someone who truly believed I'd love it, than a wonderful gift from someone who is using said gift to mess with my relationships. If the OP's in-laws are using gifts to mess with their son and DIL (OP), then I don't think OP or her dh are obligated to be gracious about it. These people sound like they have serious boundary issues.

 

 


I agree with SB's analysis of generosity vs. manipulation.  Take for instance my own situation:  I have an in-law who practices a fundamentalist religion.  For every single holiday, she has given my DD a bible.  It infuriates me because I know that the purpose is not one  of true generosity, but of an attempt to lead my child in a direction that the in-law knows we don't practice.  Being the non-confrontational person I am IRL, I never say anything to her.  If she does it again this year, I'm going to have think of something pleasant and non-confrontational to say to put an end to this.  I don't know what, and it makes my gut hurt thinking about it, but the buck has to stop somewhere.  I also want to add that I hope this is the least of my problems, and maybe I should live and let live.  It is hard, though, when you are dealing with family members because avoidance is hard on so many levels.  With friends, you get to choose those and we tend to gravitate to people with our own values and beliefs.  I find it easy to just avoid or walk away from non-related people.  With family, not so easy.  

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#65 of 78 Old 11-02-2011, 08:00 PM
 
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She probably wants one because she sees you on your laptop.  Both are plastic, so I don't see the issue.

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#66 of 78 Old 11-03-2011, 05:23 AM
 
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OP can you convince your MIL to get your dd an actual laptop with an HK skin. that sure would be useful for her since you already give them limited screen time? at 5 a toy laptop is a bit much i think. 

 

what about your dd's wishes? would she like it? does she have the 'forbidden fruit' personality? i have discovered my dd does. dd wanted a DSi for years. she wanted hand held games since she was 3. she got her DSi at 7. played with it for 6 months and hasnt touched it in the last 6 months. she has been into the computer though. by first grade she was using it as a research tool and watching some of her shows on it. i have also noticed with dd - she loves to try new things. we bring things or are given things and then they move on. so really my house is not overflowing - but it has been a temporary home for many junky things - because dd loves trying out things - always has. its been good for her to have it to realise its not all that she made it out to be. by 5 she had figured out that the commercials on tv were not what they made it out to be. i overheard her explaining to a child that to ignore the commercials because they promise more than they actually give. giving in to dd's wishes for crap means now at 9 she can figure out what to want. she will look at the thing and figure out if she has any use for it or not. she has learnt to discern that she shouldnt jump at her first reaction - to all the glittery sparkles, but to really see if she wants it or if she would really like to play with it for a little while. 

 

so i have found sometimes indulging in the beginning helped dd be the person i would like her to be - by actually experiencing it herself - rather than me making that decision for her. 

 

i think in this whole screen time and indulgences - what has really impacted her is not what i buy for her or not, but how I live my own life. what i myself do. she has learnt now to discern the worth of the thing or activity rather than what society tells her it is. 


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#67 of 78 Old 11-03-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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What would I do?  I'd say thanks SO much for getting DD something she really wants!

 

Just be thankful every day that your DD has grandparents who care enough to get her a gift.  Not everyone has that.

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#68 of 78 Old 11-03-2011, 08:38 PM
 
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What would I do?  I'd say thanks SO much for getting DD something she really wants!

 

Just be thankful every day that your DD has grandparents who care enough to get her a gift.  Not everyone has that.



Why does "getting a gift" = "caring"? I got "generous" gifts from my grandmother every year. She didn't care about anyone but herself, ever, in her whole life.


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#69 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 03:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there, 

again, thanks for all the replys and the input. 

 

@chicky2: okay, maybe I am all hormonal and sensitive and everything, but I find it rather disrespectful, the way you write. You cannot possible know my relationship to my MIL. I am sorry for your loss, and I know it´s horrible to watch someone die, especially if you love this person. 

I don´t wish my inlaws dead, but if I would never have any contact to them ever again, I would be rather happy. I know that I cannot have it, since they are my DH`s parents and my kids grandparents, but I do not even believe in this "holy grandparent" relationship. It´s not their right to have a relationship with their grandkids. 

 

Maybe there is a lot of biography in this. I had a very toxic grandma, who probably even loved us, but I am not to sure about that. She would always criticize, I was never good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, girlie enough for her. She even got me a book for my birthday, when I was like 12 or something called: Dumb and Fat. I am still not sure if she did this intentionally or not, but at least she did not care at all. My parents never intervened, she treated my Mom the same way, and she never fought back. This is not the role model I want to give my children. 

(My inlaws are not toxic to my kids, at least not yet) 

I don´t believe in this "if someone gives you a present it´s because they love you" - it´s just now. To all people who believe that, lucky you that this is your experience in life. Mine is different. 

 

@one_girl: no, it is a toy, we do have them here. It´s something like this http://www.amazon.de/sprechender-Lerncomputer-Kindercomputer-Programme-Kinder-Laptop-Notebook-Computer/dp/B00486DJZ0

 

 

 

Quote:
Maybe "the thought" isn't very nice, yk? I"ve had two people in my life who totally use gift-giving as a way to manipulate people, and it's sick, and really hard to watch. The "thought that counts" behind their gifts is nasty....really nasty. 

 

 

that´s the way I see it. They want to prove us that our parenting is wrong. I experienced this before, with little HK song books, they go on and on and on about how great there present it, and how much better than anybody else´s present, how much fun it is for DD - and they make sure that she does not forget to play with it. 

It´s not always a nice thought. I got presents that I did not like too much (I get them every year for my birthday - like three watches in a row- from DH - but I am happy about the thought, and that he tries to get something I love. I love him for trying.) Once I got a baby doll when I was like 14, much too old for a doll, but the person who gave it to me really and honestly thought I wanted to have one. I graciously accepted, and the doll was sitting on a nice place in my room for years. But it´s not the same thing. 

 

My kids are quite hyperactive, not formerly diagnosed with ADD, and I personally think they are more spirited than ADHD, but I will have them evaluated. I know though, that screen time makes their behavior worse. At the moment, I don´t know how to change this problem with the screen time they are having, because I really need to get them over this 90 min without major breakdowns and fits, but hopefully in three to four weeks we can change that again (please baby !) 

 

 


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#70 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 04:54 AM
 
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Trinity: You know better than anyone, if your ILs are being passive aggressive and mean or thoughtful and caring. I believe you when you say it's the former and consider your examples of the other ways in which they have exhibited this behavior to be pretty convincing of their toxicity toward you and your parenting choices. If they were truly well meaning and sincere in giving your DD this gift, I would say you would pretty much HAVE to find a way to be gracious and accepting and just restrict access to very certain times, etc....but the level of disregard and disrespect these people are showing in knowingly causing problems by giving this gift leads me to stick to my guns on the "thank them, but don't let it inside your home" advice.

 

 

For the record, after viewing the gaming device in the link you supplied....there is absolutely NO way in hell that thing would be coming in my house. That is the very epitome of everything I am trying to avoid with young kids. If they absolutely insist that I take it....I would sell the thing on ebay and use the money to buy awesome dress up clothes or maybe go to homedepot and buy cool fort building materials from the "cull lumber" bin or something like that. Let your DD build or make or have something that will bring her ACTUAL enjoyment that is GOOD for her.

 

I can understand why some people would think that was really cruel or taking things over the top....but I know kids who have stuff like that, and they are perfectly nice kids, but they spend so much time in front of those things. My kids don't have them and don't want them because they don't need them. They need outside and books and cooking and caring for their animals and all the other cool stuff they spend their time doing. My kids fall asleep at night dog tired, because their bodies were moving and working all day. Maybe it's easier for me, because we live in the middle of the woods and I can just let them go do their thing. In my opinion, a kid will choose from what's in front of him. If the choices are go play in my fort, mess around in the chicken coop, cook something with mama or play dress up in the play room....he's gonna do one of those things...and all of those are, in my opinion, highly superior activities for a young child, to the "activity" of sitting in front of a blinking, talking screen. Media has it's place....and like I said upthread, if my kid is sick or we're having especially bad weather and we're all freezing, or something like that...we'll watch a carefully picked, commercial free program of some sort on the computer. But the point for me, is that my kids don't ask for TV unless they are sick or something like that, because they attribute "TV time" to being something you do when you CAN'T be outside working or playing. They have come to know that the time for TV is not when you *could be* doing something more constructive or fun.

 

Anyway. I won't go on....I was just really surprised by some of the attitudes on this thread toward TV restriction. There are extremely good and well thought out reasons why we mamas who restrict do so. I kind of walked away from this feeling like "Man, am I one of those mamas, who is so hell bent on MY idea of what childhood should be like that I'm restricting my kids from fun??" But after much thought, I really don't think so. My kids have so much fun, all day long....and it doesn't leave their minds dizzy, they don't talk back to me in weird cartoon voices or repeat stupid catch phrases from dumb movies over and over again....what you put into a brain, comes back out again....and in the thoughts, words and actions of my kids...I feel confident that the world I've created for them, the things that go into their brains...are good.


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#71 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 07:27 AM
 
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OP, I don’t think anyone expects you to compromise your ideals. Personally, I want my kids to know to graciously accept a gift, even if we won’t use it, or, even if it doesn’t meet our family values. For me, I want my kids to say “thanks,” anyway. At 5, maybe you can start to teach her that your family doesn’t think that such toys are appropriate and that they may be harmful to her development, or, whatever your base belief is.  We’ve received a music CD that had fairly vulgar language/demeaning lyrics as a gift. I said “thanks”, and, when my kids wanted to listen to it, I told them we would not be listening to it, and, why. Your kids are bound to receive gifts, from friends, family, etc. that won’t be used for whatever reason, and this seems like a good learning opportunity, to me.

I guess I agree with the pps who state that dictating “accepted” and “not accepted” gifts is not the way to go.

 

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#72 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 07:44 AM
 
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Maybe there is a lot of biography in this. I had a very toxic grandma, who probably even loved us, but I am not to sure about that. She would always criticize, I was never good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, girlie enough for her. She even got me a book for my birthday, when I was like 12 or something called: Dumb and Fat. I am still not sure if she did this intentionally or not, but at least she did not care at all. My parents never intervened, she treated my Mom the same way, and she never fought back. This is not the role model I want to give my children. 

(My inlaws are not toxic to my kids, at least not yet) 

 

Yes, there is a lot of biography here! This is why it pays to read the whole thread. I think a lot of these responses are only to the OP. 

 

 

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They want to prove us that our parenting is wrong. I experienced this before, with little HK song books, they go on and on and on about how great there present it, and how much better than anybody else´s present, how much fun it is for DD - and they make sure that she does not forget to play with it. 

 

It´s not always a nice thought. I got presents that I did not like too much (I get them every year for my birthday - like three watches in a row- from DH - but I am happy about the thought, and that he tries to get something I love. I love him for trying.) Once I got a baby doll when I was like 14, much too old for a doll, but the person who gave it to me really and honestly thought I wanted to have one. I graciously accepted, and the doll was sitting on a nice place in my room for years. But it´s not the same thing. 

 

My kids are quite hyperactive, not formerly diagnosed with ADD, and I personally think they are more spirited than ADHD, but I will have them evaluated. I know though, that screen time makes their behavior worse. At the moment, I don´t know how to change this problem with the screen time they are having, because I really need to get them over this 90 min without major breakdowns and fits, but hopefully in three to four weeks we can change that again (please baby !) 

 

I feel bad that my advice reflected a perspective that the ILs had basic goodwill, if bad boundaries/respect for parenting style. I think a lot of people on here have ILs and parents who aren't totally respectful of their choices, but who aren't actively hostile. I think all of us who gave advice like, have them keep the toy at their house, or say no but tell them how much your children love them, and so on, weren't aware of the level of antipathy you've faced from your ILs.

 

Looking at what you have decided to do about this, I think you are handling it really well. First, you are letting your DH be responsible for dealing with his folks. That's great--they have shown you they aren't interested in a good relationship with you. 

 

I hope everything goes smoothly with the new baby and your older children.

 


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#73 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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OP, I really think I know where you're coming from me. It's not about this one thing, this one laptop. This is about a history of complicated stuff and not being treated so nice? 

 

I do feel for people who say "be grateful there is someone at all to give gifts". I really do. But as someone who comes from dysfunction and has a history of toxic familial relations, may I please gently remind these people that having someone isn't always better than having no one at all. And if that is something that you can't understand - well then you are also lucky!!

 

Just a thought - if this gift can't be sidetracked than perhaps it will be incredibly useful when you have a newborn in the house?

 

 

Good luck.

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#74 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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The person who gave me the best gifts ever was an abusive boyfriend who tried to kill me. So no, it's not always the thought that counts, not all gifts are well-intentioned, and it's not always better to have someone to give gifts than to have no one at all.

I think, OP, you have received some good advice & it sounds like you know what you're doing. I think without knowing your inlaws & your relationship with them, it's hard for others to say what's the best thing to do in this situation (and not all the posters read the whole thread, I'm sure).

Last year DS received a lot of well-intentioned but unusable gifts from the inlaws. They mean well, and we graciously accepted them, but we are still going to gently suggest this year that they avoid gifting certain types of toys. This way, it relieves us of any guilt should they still give gifts DS can't have & we need to donate his gifts. I would hate to have them find out 10 years from now that we'd never kept any of their gifts, when all we had to do was make clear from the beginning that there are certain toys we won't let DS keep. I'd much rather that they know upfront -- then they can make their own choice & it will be an informed choice. Maybe I'd feel differently if DS could handle playing with noisy flashing toys -- but he can't, so we don't make exceptions, and try to only keep things around that will keep his environment calm & happy.
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#75 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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Maybe the grandparents are clueless, maybe they are being passive aggressive, it's hard to say for certain b/c we are not in the situation and reading one side. However, chances are the 5 yo doesn't understand the passive aggressive nature of the gift. And like others suggested this is a great teaching moment, teaching to accept gifts graciously despite the fact they don't like it or may not need it or use it. If the grandparents are doing this on purpose to be passive aggressive maybe it's best to not let it show that they are getting a rise out of you. 

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#76 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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it's hard for others to say what's the best thing to do in this situation (and not all the posters read the whole thread, I'm sure).
 


some of the back story about her relationship with her inlaws was introduced half way through the thread. She started with the different values about screen time and gifts, and the thread went on for a bit, and then she added info about the long, dysfunctional relationship.

 

If she had said everything up front, I would have asked why even bother spending time with these toxic people. The Christmas present is just a footnote to a whole nasty situation.

 

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#77 of 78 Old 11-04-2011, 07:05 PM
 
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The simplest thing to do is let them get the HK toy & leave it at their house.  She can play with it while she is there.  They get what they want, you get what you want.   Problem solved.

 

Touching on something else you mentioned - Dh giving in after 5 minutes of whining is not ADD it is the kids learning that if they whine they will get what they want.  your dd is definitly old enough to have figured out that if she does X Dad will give her what she wants.  Since you are BOTH using screen time to get through this period I believe that within 1-2 years you'll have more screen time in your house than you currently wish.    While it's easy now to do it to get through the day until DH comes home(and again in while DH is there) it becomes MUCH HARDER TO TAKE IT AWAY AGAIN.  They will whine/be active & then what?  

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#78 of 78 Old 11-05-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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You know what, the best thing to do is just tell them you don't want her to have that.  They can return it and get her something else.  While it's the spirit of giving it's not about the gifter it's about who you are giving it to, why you are giving it to them and not giving them something that they really can't use or maybe even want.  I once got a gift my mother wouldn't allow me to have, I was 10 and my stepdads sister bought me this huge make up set.  I mean enormous.  Mom didn't have any warning about it either.  After the family left my mom called her sister in law and told her that she didn't want to offend her but she felt that giving me a lot of make up sends the wrong message and at my age she didn't want that to be something I felt I needed to use or have and so my aunt brought over the receipt and together we went and picked out something else.  I believe I got a few books.  I don't recall any bad feelings and I never heard anything about it afterwards.  But my mom did do the right thing by the standards she was trying to set in her home. 

 

Your crotch fruit your right! 

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