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Aster's avatar

What would you get a son in law you can't stand for Christmas?

Asked by Aster (19974points) November 30th, 2011

I adore my daughter and she gets me nice gifts . I usually get her husband, who I don’t like for good reasons, gifts. She admits he laughs at most of them because he makes so much money I could or would not choose to impress him plus I don’t like him so I would not spend much. He doesn’t like his parents either. But my grandkids adore the man and he works like a dog to give them anything theyd ever want. I love my grandkids so I hate to stiff their dad. What should I do?

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34 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

Send him a card and donate the money you would have spent on his present to a charity in his name.

Aster's avatar

Thanks but I’ll be seeing him at a party. There won’t be any mailings involved.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Aster Are the grandkids male or female?

poofandmook's avatar

Maybe a gift involving the kids? Some kind of keepsake?

Blackberry's avatar

Go old school and just give him a big chunk of coal.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Aster I was thinking a ferret that hates men, but it depends on the kids.

Aster's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe girl nine; boy ten.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Aster Scratch the ferret.

CWOTUS's avatar

Give him something that you know he’ll hate and revile, yet won’t be able to say a word against.

Give him your love.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

How about a special food dish just for him that he really likes?

Lightlyseared's avatar

@aster OK in that case hand him a card and donate the money you would have spent on his present to a charity in his name.

Aster's avatar

@CWOTUS You mean like a long hug and kiss on his cheek plus some complimentary words? I just couldn’t do it. I’m too resentful and it would be super fake.

Kardamom's avatar

Presents aren’t for impressing people, they’re gestures of love and friendship. I have no idea why you don’t like this fellow, maybe you could give us some examples. It seems odd that your daughter admits that he laughs at the gifts you’ve given him in the past because he makes so much money. I think it’s time for a heart to heart with your daughter.

You should ask your daughter how she thinks you (all three of you) could solve this problem. Maybe you agree not to give him a present anymore. Maybe you decide to give a present to the two of them as a couple (like a family photograph or some cookies that you’ve baked). Or the present is something that can be enjoyed by the parents and the kids. Or you all could decide to stop giving presents altogether and choose a charity to donate to, or a charity event which you go to (like feeding the homeless on Christmas, instead of having your own party). Or you could even do something else, as a family like going ice skating, instead of having the party. You’d still be together and the activity itself would be the gift.

If it was me, I just couldn’t bear the idea of going to someone’s home and dealing with someone who didn’t like or respect me. If the party is at someone else’s home and you simply have to see him because he’s there, too, just be courteous and nothing more. If the party is at your daughter’s home, talk to her and tell her that you feel embarrassed and ask her what she thinks is a good solution.

Otherwise, just bake him a pumpkin bread or some cookies (find out from your daughter whafor t he likes to eat) and be done with it, and don’t give it another thought. But I think you are long overdue a chat with your daughter. It doesn’t seem right that she seems to be OK with her husband laughing off your gifts and then telling you that. She should talk to her husband and then you all need to figure out how to deal with the family dynamics problem.

At our house, my SIL does not like to join in any family gatherings. This has been the cause of a lot of hurt feelings over the years. My brother tries to blow it off as her just being shy. I know that’s not true, because I knew her for a couple of years before they started dating, we worked together and she never acted shy. Also, she is a school teacher, not a job for the shy. But for some unknown reason, she has no interest in coming to our home for any holiday, or ever coming over to visit when our relatives (who are perfectly normal, pleasant people, no drunks no drama no inappropriateness) are visiting. We’ve had to explain to some of the relatives that “No Aunt Mary, you didn’t do anything to insult her, it’s just her way.” So now, we simply don’t invite her when relatives come over (because she’ll say she’s busy, tired or sick) and we give her an open invitation to come to our house or family member’s homes for the holidays. She always says no, with no explanation. We ususally plan separate mini-holidays and get togethers with my brother and nephew after the fact. We don’t want to alienate my brother and nephew, so we just go along with the “shy” explanation and try not to let it bother us.

I suggest you talk to your daughter about this situation in a non-confrontational manner, but however it goes, you need to decide that you will stop letting this man’s crappy behavior get to you, it’s not worth it.

wilma's avatar

If you don’t want to get one of @erichw1504 ‘s suggestions, then I would go along with @Adirondackwannabe .
Does he like any special homemade treats? I certain kind of pie or cake? Your famous home canned pickles?
It won’t be expensive, but that is the point. He can buy whatever he wants. Or perhaps another kind of favorite treat, that you can buy from a store. A big jar of pickled bologna is a favorite of my brother-in-law. He hides it from the rest of the family so he doesn’t have to share.
I know that you don’t like him, but you stated yourself your reasons for giving him a gift. So if you can find one that you don’t mind giving, but that he will like, you have done what gift giving is all about.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@erichw1504 those are AMAZING.

CWOTUS's avatar

Sorry, you missed my point, @Aster.

Resentment is a poison we give to ourselves.

I think you should find a way – somehow – to change your attitude. If your daughter is married to him and his children adore him, then it sounds like you’re the odd one out in the scenario you’ve described. For your own sake, if not for your daughter and grandkids, you should find a way to see him as at least tolerable.

It can be done. If you won’t attempt it, then that’s your choice, obviously.

cookieman's avatar

How about tickets for him and the kids to go to an ice show, or locally-produced play or some such?

Since his children adore him, it’ll be great fun for them and, ultimately, the gift isn’t really for him.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Aster I was thinking along C’s line. We’ve had some black sheep in the family. A little reaching out and a peace offering sometimes change the entire dynamic.

Aster's avatar

@CWOTUS he’s tolerable. He is far from a black sheep. He’s almost a “hater.” He has a chip on his shoulder and erases people from his life. Who gives presents to someone who has been rejecting for decades for stupid reasons? I have and I never liked it.

Aster's avatar

@cprevite this would be a good idea but he lives out of town 75% of the time at least. I think his kids feel rejected for it.

poofandmook's avatar

@Aster: Is there anything about him that you like, or at least, don’t dislike?

cazzie's avatar

I’d ask your daughter if there is anything he’d like. Show her online catalogues.

http://www.redenvelope.com/gift-ideas-men-rfhot

That way, he gets something he wants, or perhaps something that would make your daughter’s life easier around the house because he’s gone all the time (I know how THAT is!) and you could say it’s something for him, but you really got it with her in mind.

If all else fails, wrap up a teacup saucer. (without the teacup). If he asks what it is, just tell him that you thought he’d appreciate a ‘shallow’ gift. Bazinga!

LuckyGuy's avatar

A Hickory Farms gift box
It’s filled with meat, cheese crackers, mustard, etc.(guy food) You can get it in any value from $20 up to $100 and it does not take up space in someone’s house. It all gets eaten.

XxBOOMxX's avatar

I have a most excellent son-in-law.
I have a not so excellent mother-in-law, which makes me…what?
Anyway, a great gift I gave my…mother-in-law…was unconditional forgiveness.
It broke the(my) chain that bound me.
She still hates me, but she does that alone. My gift is unconditional.
My wife is much happier now.
So am I!

Aster's avatar

I’m happy for you but I don’t feel bound by any chains. I might, possibly, if I had to be around him more than an hour a year. With him gone I have so much more to concern myself with other than him. He would never have a thought about me, now he’s working on his own parents, so I will try to think of him even less than before since he got an out of town apartment because that is where the money is. I’m only thinking of him now because of the gift giving thing. @worriedguy , wonderful idea!!!!!!

Aster's avatar

@Kardamom ok; now I have time to explain this guy. He wants nothing to do with us because we have helped my daughter tremendously with housing even though she was on drugs and won’t work. He thinks everyone, even his wealthy mother of 52 whose husband is in the oil business should work. He does not approve of anyone on welfare or anyone who gives my daughter a dime. We have not given my daughter much of anything for years but he holds this against us for going against what HE thinks is proper behavior and he’s not even forty yet. I am his wife’s mother and he will have zilch to do with me. If he could work 100 hours a week he’d do it and just may do it now. He wants nothing to do with my husband’s family and one reason could be they are all college educated from wealthy parents and grandparents like they can really help that. Get this: his best friend has faked disability for many years after an accident. I see the guy walking just fine and he rakes in the money from the government. So this makes me think he simply wishes to keep his wife, my younger daughter, away from us but it has not worked. We do things together all the time.

XxBOOMxX's avatar

You know, now, as a parent, that unconditional love only exist between a parent and their child. He not only does not, but can not understand this relationship you have with “his wife” and “your daughter”. It would not be wise to expect him to give what he himself “can not” have. You two can not live in the others shoes. He sees her as a horrible person, you see her as your little girl. Two VERY different, yet one-in-the-same sick individual.
A gift for him? You can surrender many battles and still, if you choose your battles wisely, win the war. What do you want? My dad always said that it is easier to pull a string, than to push one. The grandchildren are obviously the prize. It’s your responsibility to assure that they and/or their daddy do not become collateral damage.
Find out what he likes. A gift card to Baskin & Robbins to take his children there, a day at the zoo! A membership to the zoo! Something he can do with them…and you, if a nanny is needed…
You may have to eat some serious crow, but the black feathers really started looking good up against my clean-shaven face and head!
God called me to love ALL. It’s not impossible, but it ain’t easy, or clean! You may make 3 steps back but 5 steps forward.
Hey! At least you aren’t giving up! You are willing to navigate this self proclaimed mine field. That tells me something.
Good luck. Your family depends on it.

Adagio's avatar

I agree with @lightlyseared, you can give the card directly to him, you don’t have to post it… I usually use the Oxfam website and do the same thing for friends I really like, also, this way you can be sure your money has not been wasted and if he laughs about your gift when he gets home, who cares…
actually I have just re-read the original suggestion by @lightlyseared and mine is slightly different, I’m talking about a scheme such as Oxfam Unwrapped

Supacase's avatar

Sure, there are other things going on here, but you can deal with them when and if you want to.

You’ve asked about one specific thing – what to buy him. I say get him a token gift and put him out of your mind. I’m usually all about finding “the right” thing, but I don’t think you should waste much time or money on someone who doesn’t even pretend to appreciate the effort.

Doing this wouldn’t necessarily mean you’re bound up with resentment – it could very well mean you’ve let go of the concern and choose to focus on other, more pleasant, aspects of the holiday season.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Adagio The pile of poo present caught my eye on your link. That might be particulalrly apropriate here.

Adagio's avatar

@Lightlyseared Go for it, what have you got to lose?

poofandmook's avatar

Silly question… but if you didn’t waste your time, would anyone really be offended?

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