Cowart's Common Room
Advice on gift giving?

My SIL is coming over from France for Christmas with her daughter, her French boyfriend and his three children. We will all be together on Christmas day.

We don't normally buy gifts for the adults and I usually spend about 20 on our niece, then give her about the same in Euros to take back to France as a birthday present (which is in January). I met the boyfriend last Christmas, and his two elder children in the summer, but don't know them well.

My dilemma is: if I buy niece a present, do I have to buy same sort of thing for the others? There are two teenagers and an 8 year old to buy for, should I make them all the same (value-wise and type of present, make them all similar) or do the usual for niece and a smaller token gesture for the others, or is that a bit unfair?

Posted at 5th Nov 2008 - 01:44PM   Posted by KittyB   Advice on gift giving? Comments: 16

Bayou's Avatar Kitty, I find it nice that you do think of the others, as well. Perhaps you can ask your SIL (I thought then it was son in law.. but it is a she) of what she thinks. I believe, I would go for the last option with just a smaller gesture as you do already have them invited for Christmas day. But I agree, it is tricky.

Posted by: Bayou on 5th Nov 2008 at 02:00PM

Milla's Avatar the niece gets the bigger present - it need not be handed over with bells and whistles, though. If there were 3 of her and one of the French then of course you would have to include the one to the same standard. But a token something. Something to unwrap, quirky, amusing etc, a flashy stained glass thing to hang in a window (or break by teatime) etc; trinketty, maybe a similar sort of thing for the niece and a bundle of cash sidled into an envelope.

Posted by: Milla on 5th Nov 2008 at 02:23PM

Mountainear's Avatar I'd suggest giving as you usually do to your niece (that's a special and long-standing relationship) and something that is more of a token to the other 3 children.

Hard to know what though if you hardly know them. Are young people ever offended by money?

Posted by: Mountainear on 5th Nov 2008 at 02:24PM

Milla's Avatar young people ADORE money. (I'm young. hint)

Posted by: Milla on 5th Nov 2008 at 02:39PM

Faith's Avatar Oh I don't think its right or needful to give young people you don't know money!

I'd give your niece whatever you normally give her, and Christmassy sweets, knicknacks etc to the others.

Posted by: Faith on 5th Nov 2008 at 03:56PM

Jayem's Avatar The point is that you include everyone, isn't it, not how much you spend? You simply want everyone to feel welcome.

Posted by: Jayem on 5th Nov 2008 at 04:02PM

Milla's Avatar what do you mean "right or needful"?

Posted by: Milla on 5th Nov 2008 at 05:10PM

Ivy's Avatar I would go for the first option treat then equally They are your guests and should not be classed in two ways. ( I think) but a teenager would certainly appreciate something else than an eight year old so value wise the same but not the actual present the same. (No money they can't spend it in France!)

Posted by: Ivy on 5th Nov 2008 at 05:29PM

Unpeuloufoque's Avatar I think you are very sweet including everyone Kitty. Unless they are rolling in dosh already I think money say a nice crisp 10 Euro note or even 15 Euros worth of notes ( which you can get at your bank)if you are feeling generous packed in a pretty purse or tin or small bag is a superb gift for the kids and get your neice what you would noramally give her. As Milla says kids love money and on the whole French kids are not as spoilt with vast amounts of pocket money as most of teh English kids I know so its a real treat to have some to spend as they choose.

My mother alwasy did that for mine adn half the fun was spending it dozens of times in thier heads over and over again even before they got to the shops!!

Posted by: Unpeuloufoque on 5th Nov 2008 at 06:38PM

Faith's Avatar Milla, I just meant that I don't think it's appropriate to give young people you don't know money. Imo, a little gift is better. You never know with money if the amount you are giving is embarrassingly little, or too much. Its just the way I was brought up. i know other people will think differently. (I seem to be niggling you today, and I'm sorry - I have replied to your PM).

Posted by: Faith on 5th Nov 2008 at 07:02PM

Exmoorjane's Avatar I've been that other child at the gathering and really really appreciated a gift. Didn't remotely expect the same as the 'real' daughter but was over the moon with a thoughtful present. I would have been a bit hurt by money (thinking, they can't be bothered so they're giving me money) but that was just me.....and children are probably different nowadays.
Keep arrangement same for SIL's daughter (but as said before, lowkey).....

Posted by: Exmoorjane on 5th Nov 2008 at 08:23PM

Withy Brook's Avatar Same as ever for the neice. As for the others, something but whether money or things is how you feel. If you've no idea what they would like, then money and you could say exactly that - I don't know what you would like because I don't know you very well

Posted by: Withy Brook on 5th Nov 2008 at 08:49PM

Westerwitch's Avatar I am with Jane on this as I too have been the other child . . . I always feel that money is a cop out, but have witnessed the fact that my own children seem to love money. To me money can be very impersonal, but then again maybe for young people it is better than a gift you don't want. . .but that is my view and young kids seem different.

Could you discuss this with your SIL Kitty.

Posted by: Westerwitch on 5th Nov 2008 at 08:53PM

Pondside's Avatar I think it's lovely of you to be concerned about the other children and believe that it's entirely appropriate to give them a gift, while maintaining your special tradition with your niece. I agree that money in a funny little Christmas sock or tin or box is an excellent idea - you could tie on a tag that says "Have fun at the after Christmas sales!". Other than that, music or computer games are the safest bets - so I'd do the money. My children would always have been delighted, and if it's wrapped with imagination it is even more special.

Posted by: Pondside on 6th Nov 2008 at 02:18AM

Faith's Avatar Maybe you lot are right about the money. I've certainly witnessed my girls - when the guests have gone - looking at the bath smellies or whatever it was they were given and saying that they'd rather have had the equivalent in money!

Posted by: Faith on 6th Nov 2008 at 08:30AM

KittyB's Avatar Thanks - Good advice as ever, this probably isn't something I'd discuss with my SIL as money is a huge sore point with her and cause of many many arguments as she seems to think we're rolling in it and she's a pauper and somehow she's a huge victim.

So - I think, usual for niece, maybe same/similar for the teenage girl who's about the same age, money in a tin or perhaps a wallet from Fat Face with a Euro note in it for the older boy and something High School Musical for the 8 year old girl - I'm led to believe that HSM is universally acceptable for girls of all nations.

Posted by: KittyB on 6th Nov 2008 at 09:31AM

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