How do you deal with the disappointment?

pudgederDecember 24, 2012

We raised our children on "it's the thought that counts." when giving gifts.
We don't expect lavish gifts and don't want them. We don't expect them to spend a lot of money on us.

We "give" to them year round, things they need, we always buy their meals when we go out to eat. When it's just the daughter in law and me, I pay for the meals and for whatever event we might be going to. (movie, craft fair, etc.) We buy the grandchildren clothes, shoes, whatever and expect nothing. We do it out of love.

Tonight we had a big meal and then Christmas.

For Christmas, she gave me 2 porcelain mixing bowls.
Bowls had the motif of chickens around the edges.
(I used to collect chickens.)

Used mixing bowls.
Dirty used mixing bowls.
Literally there was dirt in the bottom of one of the bowls.
When I opened the box, it was all I could do to maintain my composure. I thanked her graciously.

They also gave me a candle. (It wasn't used.)

After they left, I showed the bowls to my husband.
His jaw dropped.
He received a lovely shirt and a $50 gift card.

No, it wasn't all they could afford.

In the grand scheme of life, I know this is trivial.
I know I should be thankful, but it hurts. Just flat hurts.

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You don't "need to be thankful".

at least not for the passive-aggressive, slap-in-the-face "presents".

This person gave you dirty bowls for a reason-
to hurt you.

Be thankful that you know who you're dealing with.

Leave this in the past so it doesn't eat up your future, but remember it & adjust your behavior, expectations, involvement accordingly.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 10:23PM
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We expect nothing...we get no disappointment. Where my stepsons are concerned, giving is a one-way street.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Wow! Just wow! I don't know what to say.

Any chance they are antiques? I am wracking my brain to come up with anything....I might have to even ASK her (or him!) if they are antiques.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 10:46PM
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I'm with Wanda, we expect nothing except a picture of the grandkid. And sometimes that takes 6 months to arrive.

We give presents to children. I give my adult son and his wife a check. We expect nothing from anyone.

Disappointment is created by expectations.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 10:48PM
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It sounds like an antique to me. Maybe someone at the store wrapped this and she didn't realize that it was dirty. If she hasn't done this in the past, I doubt that it was intended as a slam to you. That's just my thoughts though. You would know much better about the situation that I would.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Okay this is just me. I am assuming she bought the bowls a flea market or something. Yes, she should have washed them. If I liked the bowls, it wouldn't matter to me. I'd wash them and I'd be okay with it. But...I don't do Christmas. I don't have much in the way of family...I get my daughter a little something and I send Christmas cards to my friends. I may share a meal on Christmas day with friends. I don't want or expect anything for Christmas. So maybe it is because I don't want or expect anything for Christmas...and almost everything in my house did come from a flea market...I'd be okay with it. I have a hard time trying to imagine something like that that would make me feel disappointed. I am not trying to dismiss the way you feel...I am just telling you how I feel about those things.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 11:30PM
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"Disappointment is created by expectations". - sushipup

BEST, most true comment on this thread! :)

With the world as crazy as it is these days and the knowledge that life as we know it can be snatched away at the blink of an eye, I TRULY just thank the good Lord that my grown children are not only alive and healthy each year, but that they are with my husband and I to enjoy each holiday.

Gifts are materialistic nothings by comparison!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 11:35PM
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No, they aren't antiques.
Maybe she was "trying" -- the bowls having chickens on them indicates that, at least. I hope.

My husband says she's just dense.
Actually, his words were "blonde" and "dingy."

I'll go with that. And lower any future expectations.

Thanks. I think I just needed some validation.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 12:39AM
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I cannot imagine that I would be offended by the gift you received. I might be curious about "wow, how did you come to find such unusual bowls"; or would assume that they were antique or family treasures. I do hope that such is the case when you discover their history. It is usually best if you 'believe' the best intention was meant......

Merry Christmas, and I will lend you my 'rose colored classes'.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 12:48AM
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Toni S

Sounds like you and your husband don't have good thoughts about her anyway. No love lost. Why are you even hurt by a dingy blond anyway? Your standards are different than hers apparently. Seems someone told her you liked chickens. I'm wondering what her husband gave you.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 12:57AM
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Nanny-- seriously, you wouldn't be offended by receiving dirty dishes as a gift? Pass me those glasses! LOL

Toni- we love our son AND our daughter in law. We support them in every way we can.

By that I mean we help them however we are able to when they ask. If it means dropping our plans to take/pick up the grandchildren to/from school or practices or just to take them off their hands for awhile, we are more than willing. We have provided them with groceries when they had none, a car when they couldn't afford one and never expected anything in return.
When she has issues with her family,(and she has numerous issues with her family) I'm the shoulder she cries on, the one she comes to for support.
We respect them and their privacy and don't force ourselves on them. We are not "meddling" in-laws.

We love them, unconditionally.

That doesn't mean I don't have feelings.

The gifts I mentioned, both to my husband and to me, were only gifts received. (that is for clarification purposes only --not saying we expected more.)

I know the history. She got them from an garage sale group on Facebook. I know, because I am a member of the same group. I guess in hindsight, I should have known they were for me.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 1:25AM
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Sounds passive-aggressive to me.
Some years our DS remembers to send gifts or gift cards and sometimes not. My DDIL sends cards and pictures of the kids. We don't expect anything and are thankful for what we get.
DD is very generous when she has the money. This year she finally took a vacation and spent 2 weeks in Hawaii. She told us she loves us and not to expect presents this year. It is her first year of being single and declared she was not going to be in debt again. A excellent present, we feel.
It is sad to be disrespected by you DIL. What does your son think about her present to you?

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 1:40AM
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I am living with a 5 year long estrangement from my youngest daughter. I AM so glad that I am able to see my world with those 'rose colored glasses'. Your situation seems very sad.... mine is heart wrenching, but I always expect and know that one day my heart will be mended. My love for her has never diminished.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 4:59AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I have a different take on this, too. My gut feeling is that she was thinking of you...on a personal level. Yes, they should have been washed, but it still seems kind of touching.

But I am sorry that you don't have a warm relationship with your DIL. That must be very uncomfortable for everyone. I was very blessed in that regard. I do hope that you'll forgive her in your heart.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 5:05AM
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I'm not sure about this dirt you're talking about. It was some dust or something, not food residue, right? If the former, I sure wouldn't get too worked up. I guess it wouldn't get me too worked up. I might make a comment about obviously they're workable bowls and have a laugh about it. If it was an intended slap in the face, which I doubt it was, that would be pretty easy to see then.

So, is it the bowls, or the dirt that's got you so upset? I'm not sure I understand which it is. An I assume it's a daughter-in-law. You mention your kids and a quick reference to a DIL, or was this from other kids too?

You used to collect chickens. You don't anymore? Did you get rid of the collection and/or swear them off or something? I'm doubting that's the case, but could explain your being so offended. Personally, if given those two things, I'd be much less impressed with a candle than the bowls. But that's me. To me, the candle is much more of a gift-for-the-sake-of-giving-"something" than the bowls with the info you've given.

You don't like her, clearly. It's a tough situation for her to be placed. Perhaps "it's the thought that counts." when giving gifts but I'm really wondering if that doesn't apply when receiving.

People are careless with gifts. Frankly, I'd be more impressed with the thought there, than a store bought trinket wrapped in plastic. If you hate the bowls, or the giver so much, toss them. Don't let it get you all worked up, or at least any more worked up over it. You made the comment about how they can afford more, so apparently the cost is an issue. Maybe you just need to distance yourself from them more altogether to relieve stress on you. There's enough stress this time of year as it is without bringing more in.

Maybe it's just an issue of, how to put it, IDK, "standards"? Maybe let them know a little more clearly what you'd want to receive. If you don't want used, or have them wash it better if that would have made it OK (which I somehow doubt) or you'd rather have a gift card, clothes, or whatever. Some communication could help.

You asked how do you deal with disappointment but sounds like more of a vent. Whichever, it really doesn't matter if I would have been disappointed by this or not, you were. And I like most everyone has been disappointed by something, even a gift. How do I deal with it? I take my minute of frustration, then ration takes over and I let it go. I can't change what happened. Better to find a way to laugh about it. Your husband used the comments about dingy blonde, dense, etc, and it could be his way of telling you to laugh it off and let it go. Obsessing about it won't help. However, if there's something you *can* do, you should. Whether it be just stopping the gift part, specify what you want/require/expect or whatever or what it takes to relieve the stress on yourself. Not trying to minimize that you're upset. You are. OK. I really think when you think about it a year from now, it might not be such a big deal as it is to you now.

Hope your day is going better.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 6:05AM
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I'm thinking she does love you very much or she wouldn't trust you with her problems and her children so let's look at this from another angle. She saw the bowls and thought "my mil would love those" and purchased them and then just wrapped the box they came in without exploring the box. Gee, years ago I bought my mil a very old Raggedy Ann cookie jar as her's had broken, she was thrilled even though it was used and from an auction. So perhaps, at this time of the year, just laugh it off. Yes it seems like the gift to your husband was nicer but really it doesn't have as personal a thought behind it.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 6:09AM
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It seems to me that you probably feel slighted for more than just this 'gift' - there's probably a history here that has influenced your disappointment.

I hope you can put this aside and not let it fester. It took me years to get over the fact that my MIL and FIL didn't give us a wedding gift especially after they had spent a fortune a few years earlier when their DD married. My husband even paid the bill for the open bar as a wedding present to his sister. My DH thought it was strange too but his comment was that his parents had always been a little strange.

So do your best to forget about it and I hope you enjoy the rest of the season.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 8:36AM
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Are they thoughtless all the time or is this a one-time incident? Christmas can be so overwhelming with trying to shop, decorate, get around to see the entire family - I'm sure you know. At least they tried, although not very hard. If this is not their usual behavior, I'd let it pass.

Yes, I am hurt when I get a gift that was a last minute thought. I remember when my (now ex) husband got me a bottle of cheap drug store "perfume" for my birthday. He had obviously stopped and picked it up about five minutes before he gave it to me. I was terribly hurt by his thoughtlessness. When you get cheap junk as a gift it makes you feel as if that is the giver's estimation of you.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 8:55AM
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I'm with Sushipup on this. We only give gift items to *children* for Christmas and birthdays. We don't buy 'things' for our DS, DIL or grandchildren. We do give our DS and DIL a generous check at Christmas; they can spend it as they see fit.

We have more than we need -- of *everything*. That makes it hard to buy for us. This Christmas and last our 'kids' donated to the city's food depository in our honor. *Perfect* gift.

I'm wondering if you haven't sort of 'trained' your DS and DIL that this giving thing is a one-way street?

Is there something you WISH you'd received?

What did you give your MIL for Christmas in the past? (I used to drive myself nuts trying to find something to please mine.)

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Really - is this what you think Christmas is about - REALLY?!

Think about all the people that didn't get ANYTHING, including food. Next year, ask your kiddos to donate to a charity in your name and give you the receipt.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:20AM
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I have reached that point in life were I really don't need any more "stuff" and if there is something I want, I really want to pick it out myself. So, I ask my kids to make a donation to a charity in the amount they would ordinarily spend on me. There is lots of need out there. Some charities they choose are less favorable to me than others, but it was the charity of their choice. Two of the most favorites was a donation in my name to our local humane society and one year my daughter got me a cow (for a family in some foreign country that would provide for them for years). One year I made them all pick not a charity but a person and buy them presents...they weren't allowed to just give money and Christmas day they could tell me what they bought and why they picked that person. The stories were very heart-warming. Perhaps next year you could do something similar. Just a suggestion. I promise you there will be no disappointment that way.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:35AM
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I understand your disappointment and hurt. How would I deal with it? Just try really hard to forget about it. At least your husband understands and supports you.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:44AM
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Hmmm...I think you were put into a tough situation. I believe that if she had given you the same bowls, but they had been brand new in a box, they may have been more warmly received. My impression of your complaint is that it's not the bowls themselves that are the problem - it's the fact that they are dirty and used. Or I could be wrong...

Your hubby described her as dense. Even though she bought them from a Facebook garage sale, could she have thought, in her mind, that maybe they were antiques or a rarity to find? Maybe she truly believes in her heart that you would have loved the gift.

My Mom loves antiques - and when I look for gifts for her, I spend a lot of time thinking about what to get her. It's not always old, but when she does get something antique, her eyes light up. The older, the better in her book.

From what you describe, it sounds like you had a good relationship with your son and DIL. You must remember - the gift came from both, not just her, so if it offends you, you shouldn't be upset just with her. You might just have to let this go though, and when the next Christmas comes around, suggest a donation to charity as was suggested above. I really feel for you - I think it's just a bad gift and not a "jab" at you or your relationship with either.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Georgysmom - That is really touching. What a wonderful idea!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:54AM
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When you mentioned she got them from a garage sale group on Facebook it made me think that she was looking for something special for you - something with chickens because she knew you collected them.

No different than looking for something specific on Ebay because you can't find them in a store today. Personally, I buy a lot of retired collectibles on Ebay and yes, they're used!

Interesting that you said "she" gave you dirty bowls, but "they" gave you a candle.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 11:17AM
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I was never disappointed in any gifts my kids gave me, but at a certain time it became superfluous and we decided NO gifts. I need nothing and really neither do they. If we want something during the year, we buy it. That said...I prefer old things and used to give them, usually antiques, to a friend when we exchanged. I'd get them at antique shops and shows and know she liked them as I did. She did the same to me. Maybe they are antiques. That's exactly why we don't give gifts anymore because usually some size was wrong and had to be returned. Now it's easy peasy...just buy for the grandkids.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Please don't focus on the feeling of being slighted,that she wanted to hurt you,a slap in the face. If she wanted to do any of those things, she wouldn't have gotten you anything at all. Nor would she have showed up to give them to you. She would have pled ill and just sent your son over.
I bet she thought you would truly like them and perhaps didn't notice they were dirty.
I love my mother in law a whole bunch. Having said that, she is terribly hard to buy for. I hate,hate,hate getting her gift cards as they feel so impersonal to me. But that's usually what we get her. I can see myself finding something like those bowls and thinking they were a more personal gift than a gift card. I would have checked that they were clean,but that's just me.
If she wanted to hurt you,she wouldn't confide in you. It sounds to me like she deeply cares for you. Just try to think about her trying to find something personal for you. Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Well, I've been reading all the responses, and I do tend to agree that she was happy to find something that she thought you would love. So what if she bought it at a flea market, on Facebook, or whatever. As far as the dirt is concerned, so what????? It will wash. I guess I just don't see why you should feel so terrible about this.....a gift is a gift, you know.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 3:05PM
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I understand how you feel, and I am sorry you were hurt. I have had many similar experiences. I have come to realize that we really do have to teach others how to treat us. Maybe your DIL really is dense, thoughtless, or really did mean well. Do you think talking to her might clear the air? Telling her that you are having a hard time seeing the gift as really thoughtful and not a slight? I know that sounds difficult, but I have found that talking can clear the air, when it is done gently and honestly.
Other than this issue, I hope your holidays have been full of love and happiness.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 4:40PM
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I solved such issues by not buying anyone anything! Who the heck needs the stress of trying to buy for someone that they have no idea what to get them. Christmas should not be about some stupid "stuff" we get anyway. Petty!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Giving one partner a nice shirt & a $50 gift card & giving the other partner a candle (???) & 2 dirty bowls does send a message.

DIL is a grown woman with children;
she knows what dirt is, & she knows how to clean it up.

& OP's husband reacted with shock when he saw the "gift" OP received.

& I wouldn't give anybody the satisfaction of letting her know that her "gift" hurt my feelings.

Ask her if you want, but what answer can you expect?

"Heh Heh, yeah, I really zinged you that time, didn't I?"

The only answer you'll get is that DIL tried so hard to get something special, & now your ingratitude has hurt *her* feelings.

truth or not, if asked, that's the only answer anybody would be likely to offer.

I my own self would probably think in terms of limiting my risk for further hurt feelings by declaring that shopping & buying has become too burdensome & Christmas gifts are now to be for "children only".

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Stop giving them """everything""". Sometimes when you help out too much, they do not assume responsibility. Out to lunch/dinner?? Tell them ahead of time separate checks part of the time. Can't pay bills? Whoops, time to evaluate what they are buying by them, not you. No is a wonderful word! Use and and mean it again evaluate the situation. We did and still do.
If you still feel like you want/need to help the kids, start a bank account for college.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 5:27PM
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Well I tell ya, two can play that game too ya know! If that DIL truly is being a jerk then just don't get her anything but some old worn out used stuff too, maybe a half empty bottle of perfume(HA!). One year my MIL was POed at my SIL and all she(MIL) gave her for Christmas were some plastic refrigerator magnets that cost about $3! But you gotta ask yourself...if MIL is so wonderful and giving, why is DIL being like this to her? I truly do not buy Christmas present anymore except just for my husband.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Many years ago I read "Jenny", a biography of Jenny Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill's American mother.

I can't quote things well when I've just read them, so this is by no means exact, but the author quoted from a letter one of Jenny's sisters wrote to their other sister.

It was something like,

"I do everything for my boys, & they don't give me the time of day. Jenny does *nothing* for her boys, & they adore her."

(Of course, Jenny really did pull a lot of political strings for Winston when he was a little older; this was when he & Jack were children.)

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 5:49PM
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In my original post, I stated
"In the grand scheme of life, I know this is trivial."

I never said we did "everything" for them. We don't and we won't. I'm thankful for my kids & their spouses.

The rest of Christmas has been grand.
Good food and fellowship!

Thank you all for the various perspectives.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 7:09PM
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I agree with who ever said if she hasn't done something like this in the past..I doubt that it was intended to be hurtful.
I'm thinking she bought them at an antique store and forgot to wipe them out? grasping for straws here..maybe wanted to you know they were antiques? grasping for straws again. LOL

You would know her personality better than anyone here though.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 7:34PM
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I think I would just box them up and store them away somewhere and when/if she ever asks about them, tell her "oh, I must have forgotten about them as they needed cleaning" lol! And who knows, she may say she never noticed that they were dirty being in a hurry to wrap them! If she is horrified that they were dirty than it wasn't intentional. :)

This post was edited by mary7060_mi on Tue, Dec 25, 12 at 20:39

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 8:34PM
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I'm not understanding why anyone would take the time to be retaliatory or baiting over a couple of bowls.

Yes, you could try to embarrass her, retaliate with a deliberately mean gift, or confront her with your "feelings" about how deficient you thought her gift was.

And risk losing a relationship with your grandchildren and possibly your son. Unintentional hurt is one thing. Deliberate hurt is quite another.

I would like to think she bought something second hand that was difficult to find because she knew you liked chickens. That they came dirty may have the condition they were shipped to her in, and she simply didn't check.

Glad you had a good Christmas and are grateful for everything else. Give up the gift giving in the future and spare yourself further disappointment from which you have to be gracious over.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Stop enabling her, you are encouraging her to use you and you allow it.
Paying for everything too, she needs to start paying her own way when you go out for meals or whatever it is or pay for hers and yours.

She is getting away with it and maybe that is why she has trouble with her own family due to they won't allow it and won't let her stomp all over them and make them do for her.

You can love them unconditionally but it doesn't mean being slave and doing all the time, they are adults and she needs to take consequences big time.

I know its a touchy thing being a dil and you love your son and don't want to cause trouble but that is what she is doing to you all and needs to stop.

She does have money if they bought for your husband $50.00 gift for him.

She knows she can get away with you big time and do what she likes as you don't say anything at all.

I, too, would be upset, she can wash them at least, doesn't matter if its old or used but clean they should be and also mentioned at the time that they are old or used but you love chickens and so I bought them for you, that tells you its caring that way but the way she did it doesn't at all.

Its okay, I'm not saying you shouldn't pay at times but not all the time when you go out with her, tell her ahead its dutch and tell the waitress immediately that its dutch and you both get your own bills to pay. Make it plain you aren't going to be stomped all over and you won't pay all the time.

Also remember one day you and husband won't be there and can she survive as you and husband won't be there enabling her all the time. Teach her tough love.

Are you doing it because you are afraid of her? I mean deep down if you don't do what she demands, then you lose seeing the grandkids and your son???????

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Tally, you nailed it.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 9:58PM
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I think there's obviously a much deeper issue here. I can't see anywhere in the original post that indicated that buying dinners, etc was expected from the daughter-in-law.

My grandma is like that. Even though I'm nearly 30 now and I have a very good income, she always pays for everything. Dinner out, movies, everything. Of course I always try to pay, and I offer and sometimes steal the bill and finally I just stopped because it was causing such a problem. I could tell she just really wanted to and she would get upset if she wasn't able to because she saw it as a nice gesture she was making because she loves me and wants to take care of me. I would be horrified to know she was resenting me because of it or thought I didn't spend enough on my gifts to reflect her generosity.

So what I'm trying to say is that maybe the OP has "trained" her son and DIL into thinking she always wants to pay like my grandma has done with me. I know it gives my grandma joy to do it and maybe the same is assumed with your relationship, but obviously someone is assuming incorrectly.

There are a lot of passive-aggressive responses suggested here that I think will do nothing but damage what seems to be a fragile relationship, so my suggestion would just be a nice honest conversation about it. No hints or snide comments but just honestly presenting how you feel your efforts aren't being reciprocated.

As for the bowls...the fact that she found something in a theme that you like is WAY more personal to me than the gift card that your husband received.

Try to see it from her perspective. Maybe she's feeling that no matter what she does, it's never good enough. I'm sure she's not equating Christmas presents with the rest of the year's expenses so maybe she just tried to get you something she thought you would like. I'm sure she could tell that you weren't happy. I hope you're able to work it out.

This post was edited by chi83 on Tue, Dec 25, 12 at 22:32

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Forgot about the edit feature...

This post was edited by chi83 on Tue, Dec 25, 12 at 22:33

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Let's face it, we all have different opinions of just what "clean" is. Maybe her standard of what clean is may just be a tad lower than yours!

Accept that this was a thoughtful gift period, whether you like it or not, or whether it was clean or not. Stop trying to read things into her actions.

If you like it, just wash it up and display it. If you hate it, accidentally-on-purpose drop it. Either way, end of story.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:59PM
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Ever thought that maybe she put a lot of time and effort to find the right gift, she probably ordered it off Ebay "new and in box" and never even thought to inspect that it wasn't as the seller reported (has happened to us a lot of times!). Candles...well what does that mean? A Walmart $5 candle or one of those crazy expensive $50 candles...AND do you LOVE candles or do you never burn them? Too much is left out and the story is too one sided to determine anything. As one person said, finding bowls with a theme you collect is more personal then a gift card...there are also many people out there that are offended to get a gift card(crazy as that sounds!) some people there just is no pleasing them!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 6:59AM
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I reread the post and what I see key here is that the OP USED to collect chickens. She is no longer interested in this hobby and so I think that added to the disappointment. Dirty bowls aside, I might want to tell DIL that you are no longer collecting.
Sometimes when people think they found just the right thing, you will receive it over and over. My dear SIL thought I liked candied ginger because she once offered me some and I said I liked it. For the next few years she sent me a pound of it. Not only was it expensive, but it was expensive for her to ship. I would give it away. Finally I just had to tell her I was no longer interested in the ginger. I felt guilty having to give it away. I think she might have felt a bit hurt, but things are fine. That said, if I find something that I want to repeat, sometimes I ask the person, " you still like the....?
It seems like there are some issues that need to be cleared up. I do hear resentment on your part for treating your DS and DIL so well and this is the thanks you get!
You might slowly have to back away from treating them all the time. I get it if they don't have the means. I see this happening with my DH. He is very generous and so often times people will "step back" and let him pay. I am trying to get him to understand that it is fine to split the bill, or even allow others to pay for us. Most people want to do their share. For those that don't you need to stand firm, if indeed this bothers you.
I think if this keeps happening than you should put a stop to the adult gift exchange. I would instead offer to treat them to a family outing with all of you going. The zoo, a movie or local attraction.
As parents, we still do love taking care of our kids. Sometimes this means treating them. But, when it becomes expected, and expected always, I think we need to reevaluate the situation.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:45AM
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I would watch future behavior. If she contined doing things on this level, then it might be passive-aggressive. If it was a one time thing, it's an oversight. A careless oversight, but at least, it might soften the blow to know she wasn't up to anything.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 9:33AM
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I also see "score keeping" going on here. In the OP I noticed the comment that I though was very telling that "it wasn't all they could afford". I've said already that I don't buy presents and it has absolutely nothing to do with what I can afford. I mean I could buy them all cars if I wanted to...sheeeesh! Besides that, Christmas shouldn't even be about keeping a score of the best presents you get and who gives the most expensive presents. I think you all have totally lost sight of the meaning of Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 11:21AM
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OT: Sylvia -- What an interesting quote! (But we know Winston turned out to be an obsessed-with-attention alcoholic. Not that Papa was a great influence! Maybe his fussed-over cousins were happier men?) I've known men with distant mothers who searched for love for the rest of their lives -- from "Mother" and from a procession of other women.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 11:23AM
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How horrible! I think I would just wrap up those bowls& Candle and give them to her next Christmas! I wouldn't go out of my way anymore for any of them.
That really stinks! Are they know for this type of behavior?

Big hugs for you((((((((((((((pudgeder )))))))))))))))))

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 1:51PM
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"Winston turned out to be an obsessed-with-attention alcoholic."

never heard about the alcoholism, but, yep, he could have been seen as attention-obsessed.
or maybe it was achievement-obsession.
& he suffered from depression as well.

& he still managed to save England, & he & his friend Franklin Roosevelt led the free world to victory in WWII.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 2:02PM
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It's really interesting how people seem to be divided so dramatically on the subject. Some see it as an incredibly rude gesture while others think it was a thoughtful gift.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 2:19PM
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I would not do anything, esp anything mean. I would maybe rethink things, I give or do for them, put up a few bounderies to protect my feelings in the future, but nothing to damage my relationship with my son and grandkids. I have a SIL and a DIL that I have had to go to counseling for, to learn some grace and wisdom on how to be around them, but not get wrap up in any weirdness or to cause any harm to my relationships with my children. And it worked~~~it is best to do nothing, take a breath relax and on another day you will feel differently.

It is all about Peace and Harmony

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 2:27PM
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In regards to how people feel divided about this.....I think any time someone gives me a gift, I think it is thoughtful...whether it is something I particularly want or not, but I don't try to read into it any ulterior motives. If I don't want it, I give it away or donate it to Goodwill. I feel nothing in the way of disappointment. It is not in me to dwell on these kinds of things. I am puzzled that anyone would.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 2:27PM
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From some of the replies here I see that many of you are sizing me up to be selfish and petty. Whatever.

I KNOW the meaning of Christmas. I KNOW there are many people who hurt and suffer over greater things than this.

For those who understand where I was coming from, thank you.

We don't over-indulge and we don't bail them out.
Helping now & then is different than over-indulging and bailing out.

When I said they could afford more, I was clarifying that they aren't destitute and that was the best they could do. I don't expect them to lavish us with gifts,and would never want them to either.

I was taken aback by the dirt in the bowls. You couldn't miss it. It looked like someone had used one of them under a potted plant. There was literally potting soil in the bowl.
It's all water under the bridge now.
(Or perhaps, dirt down the drain. ;-) )

The bowls are all cleaned up now and I'll use them, simply because they were given to me by my kids.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Pudgeder....yea! Very nice conclusion to a 'sticky' situation. Do you happen to think that is exactly what is was used for, and what your DIL thought you'd use it for ~~ sitting a potted plant in?

Don't really matter now, does it, nice to see that you're grateful for having received it.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Good for you pudgeder. Being a mother-in-law is not always easy.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 5:18PM
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You've got that right Jkayd!!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 5:40PM
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This whole issue is absurd!

EDITED from what I really meant to say but others are too one sided.

This post was edited by arkansas_girl on Wed, Dec 26, 12 at 19:00

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 5:57PM
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I ususally don't contribute to the on going bickering of these types of posts, but for pete's sake arkansas girl; did you read what she just said before you posted?

Pudegder, you sound like a great mil; your dil is lucky to have you as her shoulder to cry on and help her in her role as a mother! Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 6:37PM
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Ark girl...that was an insensitive, stupid comment.
I suggest you practice using the new edit feature.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Sorry but I feel like this is a ridiculously selfish thing to be worried about.

But I'll leave you to wallow in self pity now....have fun.

This post was edited by arkansas_girl on Wed, Dec 26, 12 at 19:02

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:01PM
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Thank you ark girl.
We all have everyday annoyances.
In the big scheme of things, many
are not really that earth shattering.
Everybody should be able to vent on this
forum without having to validate how
important it is compared to "solving
world peace".

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Good Lord, arkansas_girl - how rude to belittle someone's feelings that way. Incredible. You owe pudgeder an apology. But I'm sure she won't hold her breath waiting for it.

Pudgeder, I get it. I get that you weren't making it a big deal here, and just thought that AMONG FRIENDS here you could be honest. Guess not, huh? So sorry about that. And if it were I, I'd feel the disappointment, also. I'd be disappointed that she didn't think enough of me to clean up the bowls before she gave them to me. I would've interpreted it all as a lack of caring.

The old saying "it's the thought that counts" is fine and I agree. I'm not saying it's necessarily true in this case (maybe, as some of you think, the DIL really did think this through), but I've been the recipient of a gift from someone close where it was obviously that there was zero thought put into it. So, if the thought counts, and there was none, disappointment and a bit of a hurt follows.

It's not a world catastrophe, nor did pudgeder indicate such.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:44PM
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For Pete's sake ArkGal!

For someone who claims this is too trivial to deem worthy of comment, you've posted 6 of them offering your personal armchair analysis of the situation.

And let's not overlook your suggestion about deliberately inflicting hurtfulness by giving a half used bottle of perfume, while the other side of your mouth chastizes everyone for being petty and losing sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

You seem more agitated about this than anyone!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Good Lord, we are talking about a couple of bowls, is this really that important?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 10:34PM
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terilyn, my sentiments exactly.

UGH, please get over it already! There are families that don't even HAVE their loved ones with them this Christmas due to illness, death or worse yet, murder.

Did Connecticut teach us nothing about the frailty and importance of life?!?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 11:51PM
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Your logic is flawed.
"Don't be upset because you burned the roast...'s no biggie...remember CT."
"Don't be upset with your DIL...some people
don't have loved ones...and...remember CT."
We're not going to stifle the emotions from
our lives because of all the tragedies in the world.
You're not being realistic.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 12:26AM
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I get it and would be upset too! Very harsh statements by some here. To leave dirt in the bowls is just not right.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 4:53AM
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Well put Lindakathy. Grammy Myrna, do you always stop and consider the world's tragedies before venting or voicing an opinion about anything? If so, you must be a perfect person!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 6:52AM
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Hey man, I know exactly where you are coming from. It is the thought that counts, at least you got something, yada yada. And we feel bad for feeling slighted because we KNOW we are not supposed to feel that way and should be honoured to get anything at all.

Yet when we unwrap, oh let's say a pair of pajamas that have shopping cart skidmarks on them and are size 3x - and told repeatedly that if they are too small we can get a larger size even thought 1x is a good fit thank you - it does hurt a little.

When we are told "Due to a busy year we aren't doing presents this year, just for the kids" then sit there while present after present is handed out "Oh, I meant we are only buying for FAMILY" when the other in-laws were included...well, we aren't allowed to say our feelings are hurt because it makes us look selfish and petty. No, it is not about the presents.

A heartfelt present that misses the mark is an entirely different thing, and yes I have had that happen to me as well, when I gave something I thought was perfect and could see in the eyes of the recipient that I had been way off. Usually though I explain my thought process and we all have a good laugh. I have relatives that give oddball presents with no ill-intent and we have a light-hearted laugh about that as well, and the items are cherished all the more.

Anybody want a tableau of chocolate dipped tropical fruit, including the two items I am most allergic to and did I mention that I am diabetic? But it was the thought that counts.

(((Hugs))) to all of us that sometimes need to just pout and be reminded that we all have moments when we are less than perfect and need somebody to say "Yep, that was a bad present".


    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 7:36AM
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mammie15 I've missed you and your posts! :)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 9:26AM
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I do think we all need to be reminded from time to time that the reason why we come here is to vent about things that we might not want to in real life. It is great getting many opinions and I know that when I post and get a majority, well, it it something I would consider and then reevaluate my own thought process.
I don't think we come here to get judged on how unimportant or silly a thread is. That to me is the reason why I come to a site like this one.
I think we all have to be mindful of what we post. Because we don't really know each other, some things can come across as really mean spirited. I know that my sister and I can say the meanest things to each other but then laugh about it because we have a history and love each. Here it is different.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Groan.....once again I was going to stay away from this post and here I am, hahaha.

I've read all the posts. Some were harsh for sure. I think I will just say, I agree with Dances post. I think she hit it right on.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Somebody had mentioned that the OP should get over it already, but the OP stated, about 50 posts ago, (LOL) that she was. We are the ones that keep bringing this up. It's interesting to hear different points of view - but it also seems we are giving this post life, not her.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Dances, I think your comments are exactly the same as the way I feel! It's good to see you posting again!! By the day, can I interest anyone in FIVE Boxes of gourmet cocoa mix, a large plate of assorted cookies and a HUGE tin of gourmet cookies, non of which are sugar free???? I, too, am a diabetic and these came from close relatives and friends, one of whom is a doctor! Yep, I can smile about it, but I also understand the original poster's being a little "irked". LOL

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Thank you Dances, you nailed it.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Where is the Delete/Remove button for this thread???

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Please - there's no need to Delete/Remove. Just because people are disagreeing (and in some cases, being disagreeable!), doesn't mean that a post has to be removed. That's net-nannying.

And - I agree that the OP has handled this circumstance and this thread well. I also find it interesting that this circumstance has received several responses chastising the OP for being petty, while the thread about the other poster's thoughtless gifts from her husband is mostly received with "isn't that cute"-type responses. I don't think that OP is being petty (I think her husband's thoughtlessness, or cluelessness, are appalling), but it's ironic that she's not being alleged to be while this OP is.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:56AM
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I just have to butt in again, I just think from pudgeder's post it was done on purpose. It was mean & rude. You don't go giving a nice gift to one person in the family then a dirty/used one to another. Yes, any gift is welcome normally but I think this was intentional. If I am wrong I'm sorry and misjudged the situation.

And............if we can not voice our opinions here where can we? She was hurt as I would have been. She just wanted to know how to handle disappointment.

BTW.... I've gotten something used & very dirty before but it was done very lovingly and meant no harm.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 4:04PM
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