Posted in Holidays, In-Laws, Money, Toys & Gifts, Relationships

Christmas gift with strings attached

My husbands grandfather gives his grandchildren $100 every year for Christmas. Since marrying his grandson, I have been included in that. This year, he asked everyone to tell him what we spend it on. I asked my husband why and the reason he gave me was “He likes feeling useful.” I’m a little grumpy about this ‘gift’. It feels like he gave money to all his grandkids so that HE could feel good. Also, as soon as the check is deposited or cashed, it’s no longer HIS money. It’s MY money, so what I do with it is my business. I feel that it is rude for him to ask us to tell him what we do with it. What people do with their money is their business. Am I blowing this out of proportion or am I justified in being miffed.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 01

    That’s a big amount, I don’t see a big deal with letting him know. I’m sure he just wants to have a connection with his grandchildren/family.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 01

    It seems an innocent enough question from a generous gift giver. And honestly, yes, it definitely feels good to give gifts. That’s the point. Tis better to give than receive. If you don’t want to answer, i think you either have 2 options - 1. Is to think of a polite but nondescript answer along the lines of “oh, it’ll go towards helping to pay for bills, mortgage, rent, nice meal out, etc...” or 2. You can say that you’d rather not say, but I can’t imagine that going over well and you might just expect to not get the gift in the future in that case. It’s a thoughtful gift. Probably best to assume the question is harmless and be grateful for it.

  • Christa
    Jan 01

    I don’t see too much harm in it. I think it would be different if your boss gave you a $100 bonus and then asked you “say in order to get this you have to tell me what you do with it.” Then, yes, by all means it inappropriate, but where it’s grandpa asking the question it’s not a big deal. I can see how you feel though. But I suspect not answering and making a big deal out of it, wouldn’t be your wisest bet. I’d just say if you don’t want to say it’s going towards gas or whatever. Just say I’m putting it in a savings account, or I use it to help with the kids clothes or whatever. It doesn’t have to be absolutely specific if it’s really that offensive to you. If it was me, I’d just say that “I put it in a savings account and hang on to it for a rainy day.” (Or whatever you feel most comfortable with. But don’t say “I’m not answering because I think this is stupid, and it’s none of your business!” Trust me, that won’t go over well, and it’s not worth hurting his feelings. That’s a pretty awesome gift!!!

  • Anonymous
    Jan 01

    I agree with all the statements above. It’s not like he’s telling you what to do with it. If I were him I’d probably want to know too just out of curiosity.

  • Cheryl
    Jan 01

    I would think that too, if it were my own grandfather. But my husband’s grandfather likes to share his opinion on how I should be living my life since I’m in his family now. (i.e. I gained to much weight during pregnancy, we got married too young, we had a kid too early, depression isn’t a real problem and I’m just being an emotional woman; yes he said that). So what I’m actually worried about is giving him the opportunity to judge me and my choices or give him a chance to tell me what to do with the money. I don’t know what I’m doing with it yet (honestly it will probably be grocery money). I think mostly, I am just annoyed that he thought he could ask me what I’m doing with it. Thank you all for your replies. I will probably just tell him it’s groceries.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 01

    My aunt gives my kids each $50, plus a gift, every Christmas & although she doesn’t ask I feel like I should show her what we bought the kids with the money🤷‍♀️ I know some parents keep their kids money, some save it for them.

  • Christa
    Jan 02

    First off, depression is very real, and I’m sorry he makes you feel like it’s not. I think it’s really common for those of the grandparents generation not to understand it or believe it’s real. Also, depression was considered to be a hysterical woman who needed to be put away back in that time period- so ignore him. And a woman’s body gains what it needs to for the health of both you and the baby! I had a resident once (I worked in health care before I had my son) who told me “you sure are getting fat being pregnant.” I basically told her she was being rude, and my body is doing what it needs to to take care of my growing baby. She was just a miserable old woman who thrived on making people feel bad. I don’t think he has the right to tell you what to do with the money, and if he seems to have a problem with what you do with the money - be it groceries, or bills. If he has something to say about it- then just as politely as possible tell him “you asked what I’m doing with it. And it’s helping keep food on my table, or diapers for my baby.” If he has a problem with it at that point then well, that’s his issue I’d think. I’d rather hear “I’m using it for groceries” as opposed to my in-laws who tell me when we give them $20-$60. Or however much “I’m going to go to the bar and drink” - even though they just told us it’s going to be use for gas money because their paycheck ran out... so I think hearing that it’s going towards groceries isn’t a terrible thing! Just fake old folks with a grain of salt. They only make us feel bad if we allow them!!!! Otherwise they have no control over how you feel!!!

  • Christa
    Jan 03

    So I’ve been thinking, and I feel like Cheryl is not out of line or being rude at all. I think by nature, if another human being has made us feel less than our full self worth we are by nature skeptical to want to give them more power by telling them things. I disagree fully that it’s “hiding something.... or overreacting...” I know I’ve been put in that situation where someone is given a chance and they in turn piss all over it and make you feel belittled, you’re not going to be the first to jump and say “hey this is what I’m spending the money on.” Also, I feel like yes, it is her money, in fact, my husband and I have a thing where every Friday night whatever cash we have left in our wallet from the week- it goes to our son. I don’t feel like once I give it to him- it’s still MINE. It’s HIS. To do what he wants with it when he wants. Once money is given as a gift - or not- it becomes the person whom it was given too. So yes, I think she has EVERY right to feel how she does. Place yourself in the persons shoes.

  • Cheryl
    Jan 03

    Thank you Christa. That’s exactly how I feel. I have since asked several other people in my family and they all agree that it’s just a way he wants to have control over people. The family dynamic I married into is ‘grandpa is right now matter what and nobody can argue with him’. It’s very irritating being the only one to see that in the end, he is just a person and he’s not perfect.

  • Robin
    Jan 12

    We send MIL a note thanking her for the “pedi-mani” or facial or something that would be indulgent for you and satisfy their wishes. I think he’s probably just wants a way to remain a part of everyone’s life- and keeps him in touch with you all.