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Mother-In-Law Stories
Worst Gift Archives
March 2001
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Worst gift:
My MIL once gave me a tin of Cadburys biscuits for Christmas ... or should I say a biscuit tin ... they kept the biscuits and sent me the empty tin!!!  Last Christmas we told her she shouldn't buy a gift, and should give the money to charity instead.
3/14
        signed - They Kept The Biscuits

Worst gift:
My mother-in-law gave me toilet cleaner!!  Need I say more?
3/18
        signed - Toilet Cleaner?

RESPONSE:  Toilet Cleaner?
Only someone with a cr*ppy attitude (like your MIL) would give a gift like that ... no pun intended.
3/20
Worst gift:
This story is not about my receiving a gift, but about me giving one.  After unwrapping her birthday present, my MIL put it to one side without comment.  She carefully folded up the wrapping paper, handed it back to me and said that I should take it as I could probably make use of it again in order to save some money.  My humiliation was complete!
3/15
        signed - Thanks MIL!

RESPONSE:  Thanks MIL!
My MIL is also terrible at receiving gifts.  She has the nerve, as a holiday or her birthday approaches, to tell us what to buy her.  And, of course, it is always something very expensive.  She never asks us what we want, just chooses the least expensive item she can find.  Last Easter, she had me run around picking up baskets and gifts for all her children, her children's spouses, and her grandkids.  Then, she had the nerve to tell me that she couldn't afford to get me or my husband (her son) anything.  I don't care about myself.  But since we spent the holiday with all of them, it would have been nice if MIL had at least gotten a $2 chocolate bunny for my husband like she did her sons-in-law.  And we are the ones who live near her and who run about as her slaves.  Anyway, my relation to this story is: A few years ago for mother's day, I made it a goal that I was going to please this woman with our gift.  I hit every jewelry store in two towns looking for the perfect pair of gold earrings.  Finally found them - at a high price, of course.  Anyway, I was so proud of them.  So on Mother's Day, we went to her home to give her the earrings.  You can imagine my heartbreak when she opened them, took one look at them, and said, "Oh, more earrings."  And, she then sat them down and proceeded to go back to her ironing.
3/18
RESPONSE:  Thanks MIL!
My MIL will threaten all her kids before Christmas and her birthday.  She tells them if they get her anything she will be mad and won't talk to them for a long time.  So, we follow her wishes, and then she seems depressed because she didn't get anything.  The few times one of us has gone against her threats, she acted weird with us and we got scared that a lecture was coming.  But in the end she usually chilled out.  I have even made her crafts because she has farm animals in her kitchen, she hangs them, but I can never quite tell if she likes them.
3/22
Worst gift:
I'm not married, but I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years.  So, it would somewhat make his mom my MIL.  Two years ago, she gave me a kiddie sweater with Mickey Mouse running through a field of flowers for Christmas.  I'm 22!!!  The sweater was also TOO small!  So, I could not wear it.  I went to my parent's home for Christmas.  When I came back, my boyfriend's mom gave me my late Christmas present.  It was an egg with fancy designs on it.  She also gave me chocolate.  I later found out that she had taken this egg from her egg collection.  My boyfriend's mom came over just to catch up with us, since my boyfriend and I spent Christmas with my parents.  She ATE ALL OF MY CHOCOLATE!  I didn't get any!  Oh yeah, she also asked for the boxes my gifts were in, the gift wrap and gift bag back.
3/3
        signed - Basically I Got Nothing

Worst gift:
This wasn't really the worst gift EVER.  And it was well meant.  But it was funny!  My husband and I only have a shower, which is fine.  We happily take showers every evening!  My in-laws have a bathtub.  They have a beautiful bathroom, but they never clean it.  The tub is filthy and the toilet is always on the verge of overflowing.  ANYWAY, my MIL told my husband and I that each one of us could come over ONCE A WEEK and take a bath in their tub.  Isn't that funny?  Whether we need it or not!  Incidentally, she is always whining about being bored.  She opts not to work (even though they need the money), and stays home all the time.  Then she tries to convince us that her boredom is a serious problem, and that we need to pitch in and rescue her.  It comes to a head from time to time.  You'd think she'd clean the bathroom once in a while if she's so bored and has all that extra time on her hands!!  I'm not that great at keeping things clean, either, but at least I'm BUSY!!  I SURE don't sit around complaining about being bored when my house desperately needs a cleaning.  Well, I guess that's my relationship with my MIL.  Neither of us totally approves of the way the other does things.  But it's not the lack of cleaning that I am critical of, it's the whining about being bored.  Does anyone understand that?  I WISH I had time to be bored!
3/3
        signed - It's Not My Year for a Bath, Anyway! (joking)

Worst gift:
I do receive a gift from my MIL each birthday and Christmas.  However, it is always clothes which (apart from two nice items which I do actually wear) are usually consigned to the back of the wardrobe awaiting the next charity shop clear out.  However, last Christmas she surpassed herself with an ensemble of a nylon lavender colored vest with tiny concertina pleats.  This was matched with an over-shirt of the same material and design but in a sort of chocolate/maroon color.  It was truly awful, and certainly not designed for anyone under the age of 70.  I was so embarrassed to unwrap this item in front of my parents (visiting for Christmas) and particularly my husband, that I hid it away before they saw it.  However, my husband found it a few days later, and was so disgusted that he immediately marched me back to the shop where it came from (my MIL always puts the receipt in with the gift) to get a refund.  The only thing I can say is that bad taste doesn't come cheap!!!
3/9
        signed - Bad Taste Doesn't Come Cheap

Worst gift:
Does this count?  My "worst gift" entry is that my MIL, when it comes to ANY gift for ANY occasion one might have reason to expect to receive a gift (birthday, Xmas, holidays, etc.) has NEVER given me a gift!  Her reason (which she has said more than once, DIRECTLY to my face, and in front of DH, no less)?  "I only get gifts for members of my family."
12/19
        signed - Never Got One

RESPONSE:  Never got one
I can't believe the gall that that woman has.  I would smack her!  I hate my mother in law!!!!
12/21
RESPONSE:  Never Got One
That's along the same lines as my husband's brother (I even hate to give him the title BIL) - anyway, he used to get only my husband Christmas gifts.  When asked why he didn't include me, he said, "She's not FAMILY."  He was really bothered by the fact that they are Caucasian and I'm Asian.  He doesn't believe people should marry outside their race.  What an idiot.
12/22
RESPONSE:  Never Got One
How did your DH respond to her when she said you weren't part of her family?  You and your hubby became a package deal when you got married, so if you aren't part of her family, neither is he.  Hopefully he has enough of a spine to stand up for you.  Good luck!
1/8
RESPONSE:  Never Got One
Well, take the money you would have used to buy your MIL a gift and treat yourself to something special.  If she inquires as to where her gift is, tell her YOU only buy gifts for family members.  You can't change some people.  Don't suffer and fret.  Go out and treat yourself !
2/21
RESPONSE:  Never Got One
What a you-know-what your MIL is!!  My MIL does give out gifts, but the gifts she gives her two daughters are noticeably worth more than the gifts she gives her sons.  I am also not considered "family" because I am not her blood.  For that, I am actually grateful!!  I would ease up on the gifts you and your husband are expected to give her if she can't be nice and reciprocate.
2/23
RESPONSE:  Never Got One
Since she only gives gifts to members of her family, the next time she wants to visit tell her, "I only invite friends and members of my own family."  If she asks what you meant by the comment, remind her of hers, and tell her how you feel!
2/26
RESPONSE:  Never Got One
Same here, but it's a FIL in my case.  He was a widower when I married my H (18 years ago).  H asked him why he didn't so much as send me a card.  He said, "Your mother used to take care of the gift giving.  I just didn't get into the habit.  I never remember when her birthday is (it's 12 days after FIL's - always has been, always will be)."  He NEVER forgets anyone else but me.  But if you give him his gifts late, you have hell to pay.  Here's the kicker.  He once called my H and told him to send my BIL's girlfriend a birthday card.  She and my BIL were married to other people.  Sick!
3/14
Worst gift:
Well, I have a good MIL worst gift story.  Before I begin, my MIL is not a bad person, unlike most of the MILs discussed here.  I feel terrible for all of you.  How can people be so mean, especially to their own family members?  Anyway, for Christmas, my MIL used to give both my DH and I a paper grocery bag full of things she'd picked up over the past year at garage sales.  She's a real garage sale hound, and buys everything used.  She's not poor, but is constantly afraid she'll wake up one day and have no money.  She stands to inherit a very large sum from her 90 year old father, but that's another story.  Anyway, last year, when she mentioned that it was getting harder and harder for her to find things for us for gifts, since we already have everything we need, we suggested that, instead of trying so hard to find things for us, we should all go out for dinner together.  She could treat, and that could be her gift to us.  Nothing more would be expected.  It worked, and we did go out to dinner.  We did exchange token gifts this past holiday, and she actually bought us new things.  I guess she got the message that we didn't want (or need) a couple of bags worth of used crap.
3/3
        signed - Basically, I Got Nothing

RESPONSE:  Basically, I Got Nothing
LOL!  I would get along great with your MIL -- I'm a yard sale hound, too!  I also learned that not everyone appreciates used gifts -- but I must have been in my 30s before I figured it out!  Our family actually gave a lot of used things as holiday presents when I was a kid.  It sounds like you both handled it well, and she took the hint.
3/4
Worst gift:
Here's a Christmas gift that I received in 2000.  My MIL gave her other DIL personal stationery with the Letter "B" on the top (our married last names start with a B).  She gave me the same type of gift, but with the first letter of my MAIDEN NAME on top!
2/14
        signed - Passenger On The MIL Train To Hell

Worst gift:
When I met my husband, I knew he was very close to his mother.  I admired that in him at first, but it started to get old after a while.  When we found out we were pregnant with our first son, before we could even enjoy the moment, who did he call right away?  You got it!  She would tell me stories about her mother-in-law making plans without telling her, and stopping by without calling, etc.  Then, it started happening to me.  The latest irking story:  As a Christmas gift, my IL's offered to pay for an extension on our house (we have two boys in a two bedroom house).  I abruptly told my husband, "NO!"  He didn't like that.  I explained to him that this is OUR house, and it is our business when we want to extend.  I just have a feeling this would also give them the idea that it would make them "privileged" to come as they please.  Anyway, I just found out that my SIL may be working near our home, and that she will be staying here with us with her son and boyfriend (and what a perfect time to extend our house).  Hmmm ... How convenient to disguise this Christmas gift.  I asked my husband about it and he defended them.  Is it soooo hard to discuss these situations like adults?
2/10
        signed - Trying to be a patient DIL

RESPONSE:  Trying to be a patient DIL
You're more than patient -- please don't doubt that.  What do you mean, your SIL and her boyfriend and son will be staying with you?  Don't you have ANY say in that?  Are you sure you want to be in this situation?  It's your house, and it sounds like you're being totally walked on and disrespected.  It's really upsetting.
2/13
RESPONSE:  Trying to be a patient DIL
Do you mean that you just found out that they have made arrangements to be staying with you without your knowledge or input?  Doesn't your husband have any respect for you, or even treat you as a partner or an equal?  That is YOUR home, and regardless of whether or not it is his family, you have no obligation to take them in.  They definitely have no right to be treating you this way.  You are being much too patient.  I can't believe that you wouldn't be more upset by this.  Put a stop to any construction plans, and in my eyes, I think you should move further away.  Maybe it's time for you to put the house up for sale - suggest that the sister in law buy it.  Good luck, and don't forget to stand up for yourself!  It's one thing to be the bigger person and not want to cause a fight, but it's not right for you to let them walk all over you.
2/23
Worst gift:
My MIL gave me this awful checkered and polka dotted flannel nightgown that went from my chin to my ankles.  To make matters worse, it still had the $4.95 price tag on it.  She gave her other daughter in law (whom she also despises) some other obviously cheap gift, too.  But the nightgown was just too ugly and too funny, so for the past 6 years my SIL and I have been wrapping it up, still with the price tag on it, and gifting it back and forth to each other each Christmas!!!  Needless to say, the MIL was not amused.
2/25
        signed - Right Back In Her Face

Worst gift:
My MIL buys a ton of expensive, brand name make-up products.  Well, lucky me!  Every year for Christmas I also get a ton of these products.  She gives me all of the samples marked "not for individual sale", which she gets free all year when she buys all her real stuff.
1/31
        signed - Sloppy Seconds

RESPONSE:  Sloppy Seconds
I can relate: My MIL is an independent beauty consultant for a large and well known makeup company.  Every birthday, Christmas, and anniversary all I get from her are samples, even though she is well aware that I do not wear make-up!
2/19
RESPONSE:  Sloppy Seconds
My MIL and I both like to shop at thrift stores, and I think I've figured out a way to give her thrift store presents (we don't have much money, either of us) without offending her.  By giving her nice presents, too, and not trying to pass the thrift store presents off as nice presents, but LABELING them as additional, fun, thrift store presents. I think the insulting thing about what your MIL's doing (the poster and the respondent) is trying to pass off what you know is free stuff from her work as nice gifts.  If she'd give you something nice, and then be honest about wanting to be generous to you with her samples, that would be another thing.  But, it's like she's trying to pull one over on you.
2/20
RESPONSE:  Sloppy Seconds
Is your MIL for real?  I can't believe someone would do that and not think twice about what they were doing and how the recipient of the gift would feel.  When my husband and I were still dating, and had been together about 2 years, my MIL gave me a big famous brand department store make-up set.  Big Whoop!  I knew she was a huge customer of theirs -- she buys EVERYTHING in their line thinking it will magically improve her looks (no such luck).  It was so obvious that she was passing off her freebie gift to me.  I let it slide, but I have never forgotten.  Maybe it's time you or your husband call her on it (I know, easier said than done!), or just start giving her lousy gifts.  She is thoughtless and heartless.
2/23
Worst gift:
This wasn't the worst gift, but not so nice as far as I see it.  For Christmas, my MIL gave me a cookbook.  Ok, that was nice, it was a little country cookbook.  She told me to look inside.  It said, "Give this to **** (my daughter) when she is older, and tell her it was from Grandma."  Can you please tell me, who was this cookbook for?  Now, to some this might sound petty, but knowing how my mother in law is, I know this was a slam!  She has hated me from the get go - even begged my DH not to marry me.  This gift was an insult, and nothing less!
2/25
        signed - Was This My Gift Or My Daughter's?

RESPONSE:  Was This My Gift Or My Daughter's?
Sigh.  I know what you mean.  It's that kind of thing that MILs do that are just tiresome, and a burden.  Even if she meant well (which clearly, she didn't really), it was still putting a burden on you, and negating any pleasure you might have gotten from the gift.  It's why being around her is so tiresome -- she probably does a bunch of things just like this.  You probably feel like you need either about 12 hours of sleep or a stiff drink after every get-together with her (or is that me, with my MIL?).
2/26
Worst gift:
I'm sure I can top off all of your worst gift stories.  This Christmas (2000) I received NOTHING from my MIL.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  Get the picture.  Not even a Merry Christmas.  I've been married for 1 year and 1/2.  And she is rude and crazy.
2/21
        signed - Zero Gift

RESPONSE:  Zero Gift
It's just as well.  If she gives you such a bad vibe and is such a witch, any gift from her would just be a burden, anyway.  At least she doesn't give you passive-aggressive, awful little gifts that are a slap in the face.  I bet some of the other respondents here would just as soon their MIL's didn't even give them anything -- the gifts are so awful and insulting!
2/22
RESPONSE:  Zero Gift
What a "Sweet" MIL.  That's ok, I'll share my Xmas gift with you.  It consisted of a bath set she received three days before Christmas that I watched her unwrap at a party.  The kind of party where the gift limit was less than $10.  She was nice enough to re-wrap it in different paper, but she forgot to take the tag off the bottom that said, "To:  MIL,  From:  XXXXX".  Hope you like the smell of strawberries! J
2/22
RESPONSE:  Zero Gift
Well, in the 4 years I've been married, I've received no gifts from my in-laws.  The only time I met my father-in-law, he stood there making racist remarks about Asians (I'm Asian).  My hubby nearly decked him, but there were police nearby.
2/25
RESPONSE:  Zero Gift
I wish I had gotten nothing from my MIL for our anniversary this year.  I was looking forward to telling my mother (who has never met my MIL) about not getting anything.  In the first 3 years of marriage, I also got nothing.  That was fine since I don't want anything from her anyway.  But this year, since our anniversary is a day after Valentine's Day, we got ONE red, cheap, ugly glass flower which was probably on sale after Valentines Day!  I saw something similar a couple of weekends ago, and the price tag (not surprisingly) was $10.00!!  I can see how much our 4 year anniversary means to her.
2/28
Worst gift:
Last week I wrote in about the "washer balls" that my MIL gave me during the Christmas my DH and I were engaged.  When I told him that I had sent that story in, he laughed and asked if I had told you about what my MIL sent THIS Christmas, the first Christmas DH and I have been married.  So here goes ... She sent me a bottle of lotion (probably about $8.00).  And she sent my DH four tiny, one-inch-tall bottles of tabasco sauce and a USED guide to the 1999 movies.  Merry Christmas, huh?  And the thing is, my parents-in-law ARE NOT hard up.  Not at all.  They're just really, really cheap!  I just think it's great that my DH can laugh about the gifts.  I'm trying to learn to laugh, too, but I do know that, even if we laugh, those cheap and tacky gifts actually hurt both me and my DH quite a bit.  It's a real shame.  Her gifts, along with all kinds of other awful things she's done, are really driving a wedge between all of us.  Why would she want to do that?
2/18
        signed - Does She Know That Cheap Gifts Hurt?

RESPONSE:  Does She Know That Cheap Gifts Hurt?
Guess what!?  My husband got the SAME gift your husband did for Christmas - tiny Tabasco sauce bottles!  We laughed when he opened his gift, out of shock and the shear tackiness of his gift.  I received something a little cheaper than your gift (if you can believe that).  It was a magazine of recipes with a huge $4.95 sticker on the back of it, still.  We did laugh over those gifts, but it hurts.  Also, I think that was MIL's whole intention - to make us feel misery on Xmas.  Our problem is that this woman is passive-aggressive, and also a control freak with a capacity to hold a grudge over every minor infraction.  Her husband is a dish rag she carries around in her back pocket.  Get the picture?  They are toxic people who need to be held at arms length.  For the sake of your marriage, don't let these sick disturbed people rob you of your marriage.
2/22
Worst gift:
One year, my MIL gave me (in an old shoe box) a turkey baster and a pair of striped tube socks.  The year before that (our first year of marriage), she included a set of wooden pant hangers, which she clearly said, "These are for my son's pants!"
2/16
        signed - A Not-Liked DIL

RESPONSE:  A Not-Liked DIL
Yikes.  How absurd!  Next time, you could decide to just have fun with the absurdity of her present.  You could let yourself laugh a little and say, wryly, "YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE!"  Maybe you could even make the old witch laugh, too.
2/17
RESPONSE:  A Not-Liked DIL
I know it's hard to believe some people can be so ignorant and mean, but you can always take revenge.  On the next gift-giving occasion, get her something equally nice!  One box of tea-light candles should do the trick.  A two or four pack.  They would probably cost a couple of dollars.  Just the price alone would insult her!  The obvious thoughtlessness of the tiny candles adds insult to injury!!!  So, it's like aggravating her twice!  Think of it this way, there is a positive side to her not liking you.  She won't smother you with affection to the point of not having any privacy.  That is something I had to put up with for years, but not anymore.  Best of Luck!
2/17
RESPONSE:  A Not-Liked DIL
You can do this one better.  Give her a box of tea candles, but make sure that you've lit each one briefly before wrapping the box.  If this is questioned, let her know that you tested them to make sure they worked - you would feel really bad if you gave her something that didn't work.
2/19
RESPONSE:  A Not-Liked DIL
Oh dear, I'm sorry, but I cracked up at your story - especially the part about the pants hanger.  That is funny!  Hey honey, why don't you start having a NOT-LIKED MIL.  Buy her a discount coupon at a liposuction clinic.
2/20
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