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March 2002
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Worst gift:  Let's see.  MIL got us exactly NOTHING for a wedding present, although she gave DH and his FIRST wife over $1000 in cash, PLUS a washer/dryer.  FIL, bless his 75 year old heart, managed to get himself to the mall, find out how to buy something off our registry, and did it.  The card said that it (a place setting of our china) was from FIL, not FIL/MIL.  I'm still amazed at his thoughtfulness, and at her lack thereof.  The ILs always get very nice food gifts/baskets from us.  SIL loves baskets, and always raves about them, but has never bothered to find out what WE might like.  I get that as a common theme here - these thoughtless ILs get stuff for us that THEY would like, never bothering to find out what WE would like.  While, all the time, WE bust our @sses trying to find something THEY would like, even if WE don't care for it.  We are given CR@P from CR@P FAIRS - none of the IL's have bothered to find out anything about me (or DH, for that matter) to know that we do NOT decorate with that sort of thing.  They've been in our home, you'd think they could SEE that it's definitely not done "cutesy country".  MIL gets DH clothing from discount department stores.  And, while there's nothing wrong with it, that's not the style or type of clothing he wears.  She still buys him things, as if he were a blue collar steel worker (which he USED to be 20 years ago!).  But, now he has a college degree, and is VP of a BANK!  Not exactly the same kind of wardrobe, if you get my drift!  But, MIL can't figure that out, apparently.  I occasionally get the same thing that they give my 14 year old stepdaughter.  Yeah, I'm dying to look like a 14 year old wannabe!  NOT!  I think the worst was what my poor SS had to go through 2 years ago.  MIL's favorite son (not DH, BTW) is a VERY cheap person.  He refuses to wrap presents.  He says that he'd rather stick a dollar on them, and that it's a waste of time and money, etc.  And, he DOESN'T put a dollar on them anyway (not that I'd want him to, but those are his words, not mine)!  What a moron!  It's very obvious that he puts zero time, effort, thought, or $$ towards his brother, me, or his niece and nephew.  He gave my SS, then 8, a black plastic trash bag and said, "Here kid.  Here's your Christmas presents."  Imagine how an 8 year old is supposed to feel when he pulls out of his "Christmas Present" bag, boxes of tissues, batteries, flashlights, cologne samples - it was completely nuts!  It was so obvious that this man (who, fortunately, has stayed OUT of the gene pool) had no CLUE, and didn't give a seconds though to an appropriate gift(s) for an 8 year old.  SS didn't say anything.  Not out of politeness, but, I'm guessing, it was because he was simply in SHOCK.  And, MIL tried to play it up and say that he could play outdoors at night with the flashlights (yeah, everyone wants to send their small kids out of doors, at night, to go play with flashlights).  And, he would be attracting "all the girls" with the cologne (news flash MIL - SS still HATED girls at that point!!).  It was truly pathetic.  And, he had the NERVE to complain about the $50 golf sweater that DH spent a lot of time AGONIZING over (he wanted BLUE, not GREEN!).  That little episode certainly opened DH's eyes about his brother, BIG TIME.  Several months after this, he gave DH a "Free with purchase" bag he'd gotten when purchasing cologne.  DH had had enough, so he did the same thing to his brother when his birthday rolled around a few months after that.  It was his idea, mind you, not mine.  But, I was happy enough to have him give BIL a taste of his own medicine!  And, BIL had the nerve to COMPLAIN, and he even gave it BACK to DH!  What a b@stard!  BIL can dish it out, but he sure can't take it!  Needless to say, DH and his brother DON'T exchange gifts anymore.

        Signed - Annoyed In Illinois

RESPONSE:  Annoyed In Illinois
Aside from the BIL, it just sounds like your ILs are simply clueless, not nasty.  As far as your DH getting clothes that are like a steelworker, what EXACTLY do you mean?  Does your VP DH wear Armani 24 hrs a day or something?  I know a man who is a multimillionaire, and HE wears casual things all the time.  Give the cr@p away if you don't like it!

Worst gift:  My mother-in-law is Catholic, which I have no problem with - but she has a big problem with me being Baptist.  For every single holiday or birthday, or whatever, she buys me something religious - like a cross (I have so many that my house looks like a church).  The last thing she bought me was a picture of the Last Supper.  Most Baptists don't hang "images" of Christ in their homes, and she knew that.  Also, this picture was hideous.  It was shiny and hologram-like, surrounded by a fake plastic "gold" frame.  It looked like it was from the Dollar Store.  My husband made me hang it up in the dining room to be polite, but I hated it, and finally took it down a week later.  I couldn't take it anymore.  Well, MIL is living with us right now (I told her she can't come back when she leaves in 2 months).  It's a really big deal (and there are a whole bunch of other long stories).  So, when she saw that I had taken it down, she went on a rampage, ranting and raving, yelling that I don't appreciate anything, and saying that she wants every single gift she's ever given me back.  Like I really care!  I hate all her gifts - but, she doesn't know anything about etiquette.  When you give something to someone, it's not your business what they do with it!!!

        Signed - MIL Told This Baptist Girl Only Catholics Go To Heaven

RESPONSE:  MIL Told This Baptist Girl Only Catholics Go To Heaven
I feel for you.  I, too, am Baptist, and my MIL is Presbyterian.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I am southern Baptist, and she is always making cracks about it.  It drives me nuts.  She wanted her preacher to perform our wedding ceremony, and he wanted $200 to do it.  My Pastor wanted no money, and was happy to pay for his trip to the ceremony (out of state).  But, of course, we didn't let him.  Luckily, my DH was very fond of my Pastor, and he did perform our wedding ceremony.  Signature:  A Fellow Religion Dissing MIL Sufferer.

RESPONSE:  MIL Told This Baptist Girl Only Catholics Go To Heaven
Take her at her word!  Give her back each and every cross and other relic she has forced upon you.

RESPONSE:  MIL Told This Baptist Girl Only Catholics Go To Heaven
Tell her to go home if she doesn't like it.  I am a convert from Catholicism to Baptist, and my grandma nearly threw a fit when I did it.  But, she now realizes it is MY life, and I have to decide what I think God wants me to be.  Tell her the rude behavior stops NOW!!!  I would also get a garbage bag and give her back EVERYTHING!

RESPONSE:  MIL Told This Baptist Girl Only Catholics Go To Heaven
Since she believes that only Catholics go to heaven, I'd just tell her that, since you won't be seeing each other in the afterworld, why waste time and emotion now?  And, bid her a fond "Adieu" when her @ss walks out your door.

RESPONSE:  MIL Told This Baptist Girl Only Catholics Go To Heaven
Ack!  I'm a Catholic, and I would never dream of telling someone that ONLY Catholics go to Heaven.  That's bullsh!t (don't worry, I'll go to confession later).  Tell your MIL that you will be happy to give back everything she has ever given you, with the exception of your DH.  And tell your DH, in front of her, that any more cr@ppy-looking Dollar Store religious items will be instantly thrown in the trash (since your MIL obviously has no respect for the fact that you are Baptist, and are not converting to Catholicism).  And, that if he doesn't like it, he can damn well go and live with her.  What a b!tch (once again - I'll make it to confession later).  I hope that you tell her off but good, in FRONT of DH, so he knows exactly what his mother is capable of!

Worst gift:  My great aunt, who constantly gripes if you don't see, call, or write her on every occasion (including any minor surgery), called to tell me that she was going to come over to visit me and bring along my great, great aunt.  When I told her that it was my birthday, and it would be a nice treat to see them, she seemed a little shocked because she hadn't known.  When they got there, they had brought me presents - unwrapped.  She gave me the compass that she had ripped off of her dashboard, and a bar of soap in black crepe paper that looked like it was from a hotel room in 1979.  My great, great aunt gave me some used place-mats, and a hot-plate that had pictures of the rocky mountains (they were laminated and yellowed with age).  I thanked them, and laughed my butt off after they left.  It still makes me chuckle.  So, in a way, I guess they were good presents.

        Signed - If I Gave Her a Gift Like That or Forgot Her Birthday, I'd Have Hell to Pay!

RESPONSE:  If I Gave Her a Gift Like That or Forgot Her Birthday, I'd Have Hell to Pay!
Perfect!  Why don't you just write a note and say exactly that?  "If I gave you a gift like that, or forgot your birthday, I'd have he!! to pay!"

Worst gift:  My SIL gave me a cheap candle and a bar of soap.  Then, she and my MIL wrapped it in used, old tissue paper, and put it in a gift bag that I had used for my MIL's birthday gift the year before.  It was a slap in the face, since my husband got a really nice expensive shirt.

        Signed - A Cheap Candle And A Bar Of Soap

Worst gift:  Housewarming Gift.  My fiancé and I just bought our dream house, and we moved in right after Christmas.  My evil FMIL and FFIL announced that they just couldn't wait to see our new house.  We told them that the house was decorated in my fiancée's and my sense of style (eclectic and slightly modern), and that it was nowhere near their decorating tastes (overly cutesy - country, and brimming with flags and patriotic cr@p).  Nevertheless, they came up shortly after we moved in.  My FMIL announced, two days before her visit, that she was bringing decorating magazines for me, so that I could completely redo the house.  Note:  Our dream house, not theirs.  We don't plan on changing a thing in the house.  It's like it was built and decorated just for us.  Nevertheless, she brought the magazines for me.  The magazines were the overly cutesy - country magazines (so, not my style, and she knows that).  Plus, to top all of it off, all the magazines were ten years old or older!!!  She had cleaned out her magazine racks, and gave me her junk!  Needless to say, those magazines started many evening fires in our fireplace after they left.

        Signed - Those Magazines Started Many Evening Fires

RESPONSE:  Those Magazines Started Many Evening Fires
I can understand you not agreeing with your MIL's decorating style.  BUT I have a BIG problem with the "patriotic cr@p", as you call it.  People have died so you can have your opinion about decorating styles.  Families are separated so you can have your ideas about what you want in your house.  But I don't think that "patriotic" and "cr@p" belong in the same sentence.  EVER.  So your ILs are patriotic.  It's your loss for not recognizing where your country is in your life.

Worst gift:  The very first time I got my husband - then boyfriend - to think about how manipulative his mother was, was back when we were dating.  We had met at a neo-Pagan organization.  He had recently been home to see his mother, and had said that she was beginning to catch on to the fact that he was no longer a Presbyterian.  He said she'd told him, "I guess I could stand it if I found out you weren't a Presbyterian anymore, but if I thought you weren't a Christian anymore, I just couldn't handle it."  He was definitely *not* a Christian anymore, and he was taking this very seriously.  I snorted and said, "Now *there's* a fine, vague threat.  What exactly does 'couldn't handle it' mean?  She'll kill herself?  Kill you?  Write you out of the will?  Cry, moan and b!tch a lot?"  He got it, and that was the beginning of his long journey to freedom.  Flash forward a decade.  We'd been married for five years or so, and his mother had *long* been aware that, indeed, he was not a Christian anymore (and had, oddly enough, not died from the terrible stress).  What did she send us for Christmas?  A counted-cross-stitch picture (really very pretty and well-done) of the "Footprints" poem.  At least, that's what it said on the surface.  Just underneath, it said, "You wicked, ungrateful, faithless boy!  How could you *possibly* walk away from me and the church I raised you in?!  Isn't being just like me good enough for you?  Shame on you!"  I gave the embroidery away to my dear friend, who is, indeed, a devout Christian.  And, I explained the reason why.  Luckily, since MIL *never* will set foot in our house again, we don't worry about her ever noticing that her little sermon hasn't exactly been given a place of honor in our home.

        Signed - He Can Believe What His Heart Tells Him To

RESPONSE:  He Can Believe What His Heart Tells Him To
Everyone has the right to believe whatever they choose.  Religion and politics are always "hot topics" with people in general.  Your MIL doesn't share the same view as you.  Maybe you need to blatantly sit down and talk with her about what it is that you believe.  If you don't believe your soul is going anywhere after you die, tell her.  Tell her flat out if you want her in or out of your life.  At least tell her you don't want any more subtle hints or gifts from her about religion or God.  She is probably just concerned about you because she believes there is more to come after our death here on earth.  She probably has a hard time with the fact that you do not believe there is a God.  Talk to her with a warm heart so that she understands 100% what it is that you believe (because, apparently, she really doesn't know).

RESPONSE:  He Can Believe What His Heart Tells Him To
That was the right thing to do.  We're atheists, and my mother's response was *exactly* the same as your MIL's when I finally told her.  She said that it would have been better if I'd told her I was a lesbian!  I tried to explain to her that my Christian upbringing was very important to me, as it taught me a sense of ethics that I've had ever since, but she just wouldn't listen.  So, she started sending me subscriptions to devotional magazines and other religious items from the local fundie bookstore.  I just turned right around and donated everything to a local nursing home run by the Baptists.  After a while it'll get to feel less like a slap in the face, and more like a mosquito bite.  But, girl, I know exactly how you and your DH must feel.

Worst gift:  For my 29th birthday, I received an ironing board from my in-laws.

        Signed - See Jane Run. Run Jane Run

RESPONSE:  See Jane Run. Run Jane Run
What a weird gift.  Do your in-laws think you can't, or don't, iron?  For their birthday, I would suggest giving them something just as ridiculous.

Worst gift:  For my birthday several months ago, and my first birthday after getting married, my new MIL sent me a card.  Only a card.  I guess I was surprised, because her son and I had been dating for more than 2 years, and I had always been generous with presents to my future in-laws (presents for birthdays, Christmas, housewarmings, mother's day and father's day).  And, though they had not really been generous with me yet, I still thought that they would be once I became their DIL.  So, what should I make of getting just a card for my birthday?  I'm both offended and hurt.

        Signed - Just A Card

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
UUUMMMM.  I don't give my extended (or IL) family anything but cards.  Personally, I would not be offended.  That's just what some people do.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
I have been with my husband for almost 4 years.  We were married this past fall.  My MIL has never even asked my husband about my birthday, so I get absolutely no recognition on my day.  I do not do anything for her birthday, because she hates to be reminded of her age (52 this year).  In fact, she won't even tell her children when her birthday is!  I figured it out from my husband's birth certificate.  I don't bring up her birthday because that is her wish.  Now, for my husband's birthday, she sends him a cr@ppy gift.  Then, she expects me to hide it from him until his birthday.  But, then, she calls a week earlier, and acts like I was supposed to let him have it right away!  It bothers me that she has so little interest in me and her son.  But, then again, I am super glad that she's not an overbearing, in our business, visiting several times a year MIL, etc.  As it is, we rarely hear from her, and see her even less.  Perhaps your in-laws just didn't have the money for a gift, or are just not big into birthdays?  At least they took the time to bring you a happy birthday wish.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
I think the fact that they acknowledged your birthday is positive.  Some families are not big gift givers.  Everyone is different.  I don't expect my parents to give my DH as much as they give me.  I have been their daughter for 35 years.  My DH has been around for 5.  That is a huge difference.  Be grateful for what you do receive.  If you expect too much, you will always be disappointed.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
It might not be reason for you to be hurt - it might just be different customs.  We cause ourselves lots of pain (I know I have) by imposing our own gift-receiving expectations on others.  I almost think it's a rare thing to be "in sync" when it comes to gift-giving.  Unless they are being blatantly mean (or passive-aggressive), maybe you could give them the benefit of the doubt.  I wouldn't mind just getting a card from my MIL - it would be better than insincere, forced gifts!

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
Is it normal for them to just send you a card for your birthday or Christmas?  Are you sure they can afford what you think is acceptable?  If you're feeling hurt because they've been "generous" in the past and suddenly it's "just a card", then fair enough, I understand why you feel slighted.  But, if you've been giving good gifts in the past and they're making you feel like an outsider, don't expect to "get back" what you give.  Let your DH do the cards and gifts for them in the future - his family, his responsibility.  I bet before the year is out, they end up with no cards and no gifts.

RESPONSE:  Just A Card
You're lucky that you get a card!  I get NOTHING.  Ever.  And my IL's and I have a "nice", "cordial" relationship!  Early on, when I understood that I was getting nothing, I gave nothing.  And, you know what?  I feel great.  Christmases come, and now DH gets them a gift - one gift - and it's from us both (but, only if we visit them).  Otherwise, they get a card.  And, for his parents' birthdays, I simply remind him.  He gets the card, and I sign it.  You sound like a lovely person to try to be generous, but they don't operate that way.  So, for God's sake, stop wasting your money and emotion on these people.  Treat yourself and your DH to a nice restaurant instead on THEIR birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  Find an excuse not to attend their housewarmings, etc.  Then, don't mention it, or ask about how it was or anything.  It doesn't interest you - as your birthday doesn't interest them.  Send a card if you really NEED to show you're thoughtful, but nothing more.  And good luck!

Worst gift:  Worst Christmas Gift from Mother.  My wife and I had already decided that we couldn't associate with my mother anymore.  Against my better judgment, I asked my wife to go to my sister's house with me for Christmas, because some of my brothers and sisters would be there, and I wanted to see them.  My family is not very nice to my wife, but, knowing my feelings, she agreed to go.  We had already decided, beforehand, not to accept any words or presents coming from my sister or my mother, who we can not stand.  My mother sent me a Christmas gift, and I refused to accept it.  My sister begged for me to take it.  She said it was just a copy of my mother's book, that she wrote.  I refused, and we left shortly after that.  Why would my mother have that book done and give it out?  She wrote mean things about my sister (who is psycho, but still), and she made accusations about my dad.  I'm glad I refused that gift!

        Signed - Son Of Psycho

Worst gift:  For Christmas this year, my husband assured me that his sister is very generous, so he could justify getting my SIL a DVD player.  However, she wasn't nearly as generous as he thought she was, when all I got was a ring, from a discount department store, that gave me a rash!

        Signed - Gave Me A Rash

Worst gift:  My MIL is famous for her tasteless and thoughtless gifts!  For three years (including this past Christmas), I have received a pea green turtle neck (I don't wear green, it's not my color), and either one pair of socks or one pair of underwear.  My MIL will purchase one package of undergarments and split them between the three DIL's.  All of us, by the way, are different sizes.  I'm the thinnest, so I usually drown in the underwear.  And, my feet are 3 sizes larger than the other two DILs, so the socks are always too small.  Last Christmas, I purchased a brand name gold bracelet for $80 for MIL, because that is her favorite jewelry (she had requested a bracelet from my husband).  In return, I received a costume jewelry bracelet!  This year, I went to the nearest discount store and got her a $10 pair of PJs!  She'll be lucky if she gets as much next Christmas!!!

        Signed - Turtle Neck Special!

Worst gift:  In front of my husband, my MIL claims to love me so much!  For my birthday, she usually buys me some horrible flowered outfit that is 3 sizes too big!  But the "best" gift was one of the hanging wooden calendars (like slats fitted together).  It sounds okay so far, right?  It was the previous year's calendar.

        Signed - Previous Year's Calendar

RESPONSE:  Previous Year's Calendar
Time for the Geriatric Gift Basket!  Next time you are to give her a gift, line a lovely (or ugly) basket with tissue paper and put all kinds of goodies in it for her - wrinkle cream, hemorrhoid cream, wart remover (OK, that's not geriatric, but I think it's a great touch!  LOL!), age-spot remover, corn pads - anything along those lines will do.  Then, put a gorgeous, HUGE bow on it.  Make that basket so pretty that your DH compliments you on it.  Then give it to MIL, along with your husband, with a big smile on your face and a, "Look what I made just for you" comment on your lips.  She will know that she hasn't fooled you.  Maybe she will knock it off if she sees she is not as clever as she thought.

Worst gift:  For Christmas, my MIL gave me a bathroom scale.  Before I opened it, she stated that it was "something for your new house."  The worst part about it was that I had an 8 week old baby!

        Signed - Bathroom Scale

RESPONSE:  Bathroom Scale
Maybe you should give her some diet books for Christmas or her birthday.  You can smile and say, "The bathroom scale has helped me so much.  I thought I would share my positive experience with YOU!"

Worst gift:  My MIL claims to have had a tough life, as my FIL has spent money supporting his 2 sisters and parents.  Not that my MIL lacked anything - she owns 2 houses, and had her own chauffeur driven car.  In spite of this, she always guilt trips my husband into buying her expensive clothes when we visit or when she comes over.  It is customary in India for the MIL to give her DIL clothes for a festival called Sankranti.  Would you believe she actually gave me a dress belonging to my elder SIL that she (SIL) did not fit into.  She actually told me that she did not "waste money" buying a dress for me, when she could give me this one.  What was worse, was that there was a big, brown oil stain on the dress!!!  She insisted that I wear that dress at her place!!!  When I told my husband, he said, "Forget it.  I'll buy you what you like."  Does he not understand that this is a big insult?  Doesn't anyone?  Earlier, she "gifted" me pink plastic cups that my SIL (DH has 2 sisters) picked up in a garage sale!!!!  How Do I Stop This????

        Signed - If Only I Could Get Back!!!!!

Worst gift:  My MIL gave me a Mr. Potato Head vibrating massager for my birthday, and actually had the gall to say, "Make sure you only use that on your back!"  It was in the trash immediately after they left!

        Signed - In The Trash Immediately After They Left!

RESPONSE:  In The Trash Immediately After They Left!
Give her a turkey baster for Mother's Day, and tell her to make sure she only sticks it up a turkey's @ss.

RESPONSE:  In The Trash Immediately After They Left!
Amazing.  Why on earth didn't it end up in her nostrils?  I would use that gift and verbal abuse as a very good reason as to why they are not to visit me again.  Ever.

RESPONSE:  In The Trash Immediately After They Left!
Okay - you win the award for grossest - worst gift.  Where did she get such an item?

RESPONSE:  In The Trash Immediately After They Left!
Okay, you win.  Hands down.

RESPONSE:  In The Trash Immediately After They Left!
That is a horrible, vile gift from your MIL!  I, too, would have thrown it away.  But, knowing myself, I would have done it while MIL was there to put her in her place.  Good for you for throwing this trash away.  I say that for her birthday, you should give her Viagra.

Worst gift:  My MIL is a Jehovah's Witness who doesn't celebrate birthdays or any other organized/traditional events, except wedding anniversaries.  No one else is a JW in the family.  Yet, we all must get together and celebrate her wedding anniversary; not ours or her other daughter's anniversary.  To keep the peace, everyone goes along with her wishes, and once a year, during the Christmas Holidays, we celebrate their wedding anniversary, and she gives out gifts to us.  In great anticipation of the big yearly gift (I'm being sarcastic for effect), I opened my gift:  I got a sack containing four rolls of toilet paper, specially designed for Marine Sanitation heads.  Either I'm full-of-sh!t, or she was giving a "practical" gift.  Whatchathink?

        Signed - Still Steaming

RESPONSE:  Still Steaming
She might be a little weird, and not know how to give gifts.  That is really funny!

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