OT? How to deal with DH's horribly cheap family? LONG
I'm not sure if this is OT or not...but I've noticed that many etiquette questions are posted here, and some of the situations I've encountered with DH's family involve entertaining, so I hope this is ok.
I should mention that DH & I have been together married/dating for 14 years, so I've put up with this behavior for a long time now and my anger/disgust/frustration "may" show through here. I apologize in advance. The problem? Basically DH's immediate family are misers when it comes to gifting others.
His brother & sister still live at home and are both employed f/t in their careers, over 25 years old, pay only $200/mth R & B to mom, and spend $$ like you've never seen. MIL is early 50's, also F/T+, making a very decent wage in healthcare and no mortgage or debts.
Come their respective birthdays, we are presented with "lists" where not one single item is below $100, and it is "expected" that we each purchase something individually from this list. Considering the siblings age, DH has tried for a few years now to cancel B-day gifts but they will not hear of it. On the reverse end of it, we do not give b-day lists (we can support ourselves!), but in an effort to keep their own lists active we get "token" gifts usually around $20 (or less). In fact, until 4 years ago when my DH vocally chastised his family, I did not even get so much as a phone call on my B-day, even though I've supported each of their expensive B-day charades annually.
I think the *most* annoying aspect is they try to cheap out on fuctions we attend such as weddings/bridal showers. MIL actually got annoyed at me the last bridal shower because I bought our gift before she had a chance to call me and say she wanted to "combine" amounts for a gift. I have no problem combining, except the reason for it: she wants to buy something under $100 and have 5 or more people pay for it (the more people in on it, the less each individual has to pay - and this is for FAMILY!). DH & I typically like to spend $60 on bridal gifts ($30 from each of us, which is not exorbitant or unreasonable), and she just doesn't get the concept.
Thankfully this behavior has not rubbed off too much on DH - although there are times I wonder. Last year we attended a close relative's wedding (MIL's nephew) where they had a cash bar once we arrived and DH wanted to rip open our envelope and replace the cheque with a lesser amount - not in my presence he won't! (Note: cash presentations are the norm here where we live).
How the heck do you deal with cheapskates when they are family? Our last bridal shower was last weekend, and unfortunately I didn't get to buy our gift ahead of time. Icing on the cake was MIL taking our $60 contribution for a gift and putting her name, SIL, and grandma's name on a $65 gift. *sigh*
I swear, I could go on forever...they are sooooo tight their dollar bills are crying "Uncle"!
I know I've broken etiquette rules even mentioning some of the examples, but I'm just trying to give you a picture of what these folks are like.