Unsolicited Gift Suggestions

Your Question

My brother in laws wife (husband’s sister in law), gives me gift suggestions for her children that are unsolicited. I bought her daughter a nice gift that I was excited to give. Weeks later she randomly sent me a picture of what her daughter would like for Christmas and when I told her I already bought her a gift, she asked me what it was. When I told her she told me she already had two and doesn’t need another. What should I do??

Unsolicited Gift Suggestions

the advicistOh that’s tough.

Tough because my first answer to your question was going to be, ‘Just tell her you’ve already bought something’. I see you did that. And it didn’t help.

Look it sounds like your sister-in-law is rude and has a case of the entitlements. She has no right to ask what you’ve bought, and to then be rude about your choice is the height of bad manners.

However, you’re not going to change her. So you need a new strategy.

Next time, I’d just say, ‘I’d like to keep it a surprise!’. If she quizzes you, stick to the line.

Of course, the easy thing to do would be to ask her before buying anything and accept her suggestion. But I’m not for easy when it means giving in to rude and entitled behaviour. The only way to teach ’em it won’t fly is to stand your grounds. If you start consulting her first you’ve just taught her that rudeness pays.

PSA: if you don’t like / need / want a gift someone is giving / has given to you or a family member, the ONLY correct response is ‘Thank you!’.

Then donate it at will. Do not even THINK about ‘regifting’ it. I hate that practise. You didn’t like it but it’s good enough to give as a gift to someone else?

Donate it – and then someone who geniunely likes it (and trust me, there will be someone) has the chance to purchase it, and a charity benefits. WIN WIN.

photo credit: CS_McMahon via photopin cc

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3 Responses to 'Unsolicited Gift Suggestions'

  1. Christine says:

    I wonder what the advice would be if the question would have been asked the other way around.
    Aka “My daughter receives so much gifts from our family, often she gets things she already has and doesn’t need – would it be rude to send my sister-in-law some suggestions or – if she tells me qhat she is going to give – tell her that my daughter has the exact item already in use?”

    No, I totally agree that this woman above is acting a little rude by sending a picture – christmas/ a birthday / whatever is no cataloguestyle ordering occation – but I also see the other side and where this woman is coming from – maybe she just don’t have the possibilities and free mind to think outside her box, maybe she’s just stuck with a limited ideas of how to handle this situation and this – more or less slightly – rude way was the best she could come up with.

    I don’t want to apologize her behaviour, I just think that there should be no harm between people just because someone is limited in his ways of acting thoughtful and polite.

  2. The Advicist says:

    Hi Christine,

    Sorry your comment took so long to appear, I ‘approved’ it on my phone but it obviously didn’t update properly.

    I totally see what you mean about looking at it from the other side, and that is a compassionate and positive way to look at things.

    I still think it’s rude to specify what gifts you (or your children) are prepared to receive though. If someone asked for ideas, by all means, go for it. If they don’t ask, then just accept, graciously, whatever is given, in the spirit of generosity in which it was given.

    And if you receive duplicates, donate them. There are plenty of charities which would gladly accept brand new childrens toys / clothes and pass them on to children who have no hope of receiving two of something. I don’t mean that in a snarky way, honestly, I just think, ‘Ugh, my kid already has that!’ is only a problem if you make it one. Instead, it could be an opportunity to teach your child about how lucky they are, and how they can potentially share that with those less fortunate, you know?

    • Dupilcates says:

      I do think that the otjer perspective might not be so bad, though. Maybe the sister in law just doesn’t want you to waste time and money on something that won’t be used. In that case, it is thoughtful of her.

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