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Mother-In-Law Stories
Worst Gift Archives
January 2003
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Worst gift:  For my 30th birthday, just 3 months after our wedding, my MIL brought me a gift.  Part of it she picked up on our travels through Germany that summer, where she spent nearly 2 months.  I unwrapped the small gifts (wrapped in tissue paper, no tape), and was amazed to find a small white chocolate bar and a travel size sunscreen!  The chocolate bar was her "thoughtful" gift from her travels, and the sunscreen was for the upcoming camping trip that my husband and I were taking.  Needless to say, I was speechless!  Signature:  DIL

        Signed - My FMIL is Absolutely Insane!

RESPONSE:  My FMIL is Absolutely Insane!
Wow!  She went all out, didn't she??  The next time you need a gift for her, give her laxatives and spot cream for her next adventure.  Turn about is fair play, eh???

RESPONSE:  My FMIL is Absolutely Insane!
If you A:  Like chocolate, and B:  Were going on a trip, the gift was appropriate and thoughtful.  What did you expect?  Diamonds?

RESPONSE:  My FMIL is Absolutely Insane!
When you and your husband travel, start collecting the hotel soap, the hotel shampoo, little packets of sugar, salt and pepper, etc., and wrap it up as a gift for her!  Just to let her know that you two were thinking about her!  Happy Birthday MIL!!!!

RESPONSE:  My FMIL is Absolutely Insane!
Oh, let it go.  If she isn't mean to you in other ways, everyone gives the wrong presents now and then.  It's her underlying attitude toward you that really counts.

RESPONSE:  My FMIL is Absolutely Insane!
For her birthday, send her a card in the mail with a chocolate piece in it.  Put the candy into the microwave, melt it, and smash the candy into the card.  I hate people who do this and then say, "Oh, they were free," like they put a thought into giving it to YOU.  Good luck!!

Worst gift:  I just suffered a miscarriage.  For Christmas, my ILs sent us a nice Christmas card.  Inside was a sympathy card.

        Signed - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

RESPONSE:  The Gift That Keeps On Giving
I am so sorry for your loss.  I think that it is sweet that your ILs sent a sympathy card, but how they went about it was very inconsiderate.

RESPONSE:  The Gift That Keeps On Giving
I don't even know what to say.  I am so sorry.  I guess they couldn't spring for an extra stamp, or what is the deal here???

RESPONSE:  The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Cheap, cheap, cheap!  What boorish people.  First off, you do not mail a sympathy card in another card - that is just plain TACKY.  Just chalk it up to being the CLASSLESS, horrid people that they are.

RESPONSE:  The Gift That Keeps On Giving
I'm curious as to why this is a problem.  Sorry, I think you are taking it out on the wrong people.  At least they showed their sorrow for you and DH.  I don't see how they meant any harm by this.  They were letting you know how they felt for you in your time of need, and that is what Christmas is about.  Could they have given you a happy card?  Yes, but it wouldn't have been all that appropriate either.  Sorry about your loss, but I don't know what else you were looking for from people after such a disappointment.  Start healing, and get out of your room.  Your life goes on.

Worst gift:  Worst gift?  How about no gift at all?  One year, for Christmas, my husband's family decided to draw names.  My MIL drew my name.  When Christmas came, there was nothing for me from my MIL at all.  I knew right then that I meant nothing to her.

        Signed - No Gift At All

RESPONSE:  No Gift At All
Wow!  That's awful!  I am sorry that she is such a b!tch.  But, now you know what to get her next Christmas, and for every birthday and Mother's Day from now on.  Good luck!

RESPONSE:  No Gift At All
How RUDE is that!!  If you commit to picking a name, you are committed to buying that person a gift.  My goodness, how thoughtless.  What was her excuse?  This must have looked really odd in front of the rest of the family when everyone had something to open, except for you!!

RESPONSE:  No Gift At All
That is not a nice thing to do to anybody.  If she didn't want to exchange a gift with someone, she should not have participated.  Hope that your DH wasn't wimpy, and told MIL how RUDE she was to his WIFE.  One can dream.

RESPONSE:  No Gift At All
I'm sorry, but I would have sent her a bill for half of what you paid for the gift to the person whose name you drew.  That was downright wrong of her to do that, and I don't think I'd be drawing names with them again.  If they ask why, you tell them.  Don't let them walk all over you.  I hope that DH was ticked off about it.

RESPONSE:  No Gift At All
I don't know if that means that you mean nothing to her, but it's a bummer.  The same thing happened to me.  We drew names, and my SIL had my name and I had hers.  I went to a lot of trouble hunting for presents for her, but she just got tiny little gifts for everyone (a key ring), and that was her gift to me.  I didn't think that I meant nothing to her, but I was still a bit sad.  But she's made up for it since.  You know your MIL better than I do.  If she acts like you mean nothing to her, you probably know.  But, if you have any doubts, give her another chance.  It seems like lots of people have gift-giving successes and failures.  That was definitely one of her failures, unless she's mean to you in other ways.  But, she probably is mean, and I'm just being long-winded!

Worst gift:  It's not that my MIL buys me bad gifts, but it's the message that I believe she is sending to me in her passive-aggressive way.  Tell me if you think that I am wrong.  Every year she asks me what I want, this goes for my birthday and Christmas.  I tell her exactly what I want, including the brand and everything, so as to make it easier for her.  Every gift I get is the ITEM that I asked for, however, it is always just a bit different (such as brand or style) because she "thought" that I would like this one better.  To me, this is telling me that I don't know what is best for me, but she does.  Hmmm.  So, this year for our birthdays she has chosen to stop buying all of us adults presents without an explanation (another story).  For Christmas we are only going to buy for the kids, no adults (my idea).

        Signed - Am I overreacting?

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
One shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
Yes, you are over reacting.  At least she bought you what you wanted.  She may have just wanted to make it personal.

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
No, I do not think that you are overreacting.  My SIL is the same way.  She will either buy me something a little different, or she will get it a size smaller because the size that I told her looked too big.  She is always doing this or something like it.  SIGNED:  FED UP.

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
Yes, I think you're overreacting.  Maybe she can't afford the type you wanted.  Maybe someone recommended it to her.  Maybe she wants to show that she has put *some* thought into it, rather than just obeying you exactly.  You got what you wanted pretty much, and I think that it's a bit much to b!tch about it because it isn't exact.

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
Yes, you're overreacting.  First of all, when someone asks you what you would like, they're generally looking for ideas.  You are treating your MIL like a dolt, as if she can't pick something nice to give you as a gift.  As for buying for adults at every birthday, my family (since I was young) has never bought gifts for adults, only for the grandchildren.  It can be much too expensive to buy a gift for everyone in the family.  Not only would she have to buy for her children, her sisters and brothers, but also her DILs, SILs, and grandchildren.  That's nuts!

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
I don't think that you're overreacting.  I'm a big fan of only buying for kids anyway.  Adults can easily buy for themselves.  Why invite all the drama that goes with buying for and receiving gifts from ILs?  Adults don't really need gifts, unless it's your husband, mother, or best friend.  All this whining I hear on this site about unthoughtful gifts is crazy.  At least they got you something.  Now, if it was used toilet paper, then, yeah, complain.  But, if it was something usable and clean, then who cares?  Sell it on ebay if you don't like it.

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
Yes, you're overreacting.  What fun would gift-giving be if we had to follow everyone's exact *criteria* for what they wanted?  You should be grateful that she ASKED what you would like, and then apparently tried to match that request as closely as possible.  Gift-giving is just that - GIVING.  And it should not have any restrictions or judgments made on it, when it, by chance, doesn't come up to your elevated standards.

RESPONSE:  Am I overreacting?
I think it's a good idea.  Both yours (to just get presents for the kids) and your MIL's (to stop trying to buy all the adults birthday presents).  It sounds like the fun had really gone out of it.  I don't think that what your MIL did was that bad.  It might have been sincere.  And, she might have thought that she got you an even better one than the one you wanted.  But, it sounds like you're both smart to stop a practice that wasn't bringing you any pleasure, just frustration.  She probably felt badly, too.  I don't know that it was passive-aggressive, although you know her better than I do.

Worst gift:  Two gifts come to mind when I think of the worst gifts I've ever received from my MIL.  The first one was a HUGE chess set that she painted in a ceramic class.  It was literally 3 feet square, and the pieces were ten inch cowboys or Indians.  Never mind that we don't play chess, nor did we have anywhere to put this thing.  It sat in our attic for a few years before we donated it to charity.  The second worst was a teddy bear carousel that she made out of small stuffed teddy bears and a wooden paper towel holder???????

        Signed - Mommytomy3sons

RESPONSE:  Mommytomy3sons
That actually sounds like she put lots of effort into it.

RESPONSE:  Mommytomy3sons
You could probably sell those gifts on eBay under "weird stuff".  They say there's a market for everything.  Yikes!

RESPONSE:  Mommytomy3sons
Kind of tacky gifts, but how generous a woman to give gifts that take such time for her to make.  Those are the best gifts of all.

RESPONSE:  Mommytomy3sons
I don't know how your MIL is otherwise, but it seems like she put some time and effort into making these gifts.  I did that a couple of times for one of my close friends, who turned my gifts into garbage cans and stuff.  I was very hurt.  I don't think anything handmade is a bad gift - even if it looks terrible to you.  Throw it out if want, but don't bear a grudge for receiving it.

Worst gift:  My DH and I moved across the country ten years ago.  The first Christmas that we were here, we bought Christmas presents for his family.  I wrapped, decorated, and tagged them with the recipient's name.  Since the family usually gathers at MIL's house, we sent the entire package to MIL's address.  I suspected that something was wrong, because I never heard whether the relatives liked, or even got, their stuff.  I then learned that MIL got the box, opened EVERY gift, kept what she liked, and gave what she didn't want to the grandkid(s) of her choice.  Some relatives didn't get anything.  I was angry, but not surprised.  MIL has this attitude, "If it's in MY HOUSE, it's MINE."  Since DH saw nothing wrong with MIL's behavior, I never did that again.  But, now, every Christmas, I am reminded that the cost of sending presents is small compared to the agony of being around her all year round.

        Signed - I Never Stop Learning About Her

RESPONSE:  I Never Stop Learning About Her
You are lucky that you don't live near her.  Her behavior was downright rude and tacky.  I certainly wouldn't send anything else to DH's family.

RESPONSE:  I Never Stop Learning About Her
Your DH didn't think that it was wrong?!?!  Call every relative and tell them exactly what happened to the gifts that you lovingly bought for them - that they were stolen by MIL!!!!!!!!!

RESPONSE:  I Never Stop Learning About Her
Send them to the proper recipient, and send your MIL a book about manners.  I cannot believe that your DH didn't think that her behavior was horrible.  I would pay the extra postage to send them to the proper people separately.

RESPONSE:  I Never Stop Learning About Her
Your DH saw NOTHING WRONG with that behavior?  Sorry for being so blunt, but is he STUPID?  I certainly hope you (since your DH didn't, of course) told her off, and that the presents were not all for her.  I also hope that you told the other relatives what she did, and that you never sent her any presents from then on.  This is ridiculous.  What is more ridiculous is your wimpy husband.

RESPONSE:  I Never Stop Learning About Her
I never cease to be amazed by this site.  Instead of giving gifts to her GRANDCHILDREN - ones that were addressed to them - she opened them all and kept the ones that she wanted for HERSELF?  I hope that not only do you get to feel nearly constant relief that she lives so far away; I hope that she never, EVER comes to visit you.  I bet you DO learn a lot from her - how not to be a bad MIL.  Not that most people would ever do what she did!  Sheesh!

RESPONSE:  I Never Stop Learning About Her
I would have made sure that everyone in the family knew that you sent presents, but that they were STOLEN before they could get them.  Let then know who STOLE them.  Next year, send presents to each individual.  If something must be sent to MIL's house, send it certified mail so that you know who received it, and who to look towards if they did not get it.  MIL should be getting a bible with a bookmark opened to the passage about "thou shall not steal".

RESPONSE:  I Never Stop Learning About Her
DH didn't think there was anything wrong with his mother picking through the gifts that you sent specifically tagged for other people?  Keep an eye on DH.  His sense of right and wrong was apparently warped growing up under MIL's influence, and he needs to get that straightened out!  Be glad that you live on the other side of the country from MIL.

Worst gift:  I got a package of post-it notes one year for Christmas from my MIL.  I guess that I needed them to remind myself how much I hate her.

        Signed - Post-it Pam

Worst gift:  My divorced MIL acts very needy all the time.  She has a professional job, and is attractive, which makes the neediness just crazy.  My husband and I are saving for a house, and she expects us to get her things like a new front door, a new kitchen, or a big TV for Christmas.  She tells me her financial status monthly, and calls us whining for money.  Last year, she was very creative with her gift giving.  She was cleaning out her house at the time (which is full of broken and chipped things that she's found at thrift stores).  Our gifts were wrapped in paper lunch bags and newspaper.  She gave us things that she had found in her dirty basement:  Deodorant (used), a pencil, a dirty, used eraser.  My husband was so mad.  He said, "I'm rather annoyed that you gave us old things that you had around the house for gifts."  I can just imagine what she will give us this year.  I'm tired of feeling like the responsible one when I am half her age.

        Signed - Annoyed in Pennsylvania

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
Hooray for your DH!  I bet she was shocked that he said anything to her.  Hee!  Hee!  Next year give her some cr@ppy gifts and tell her that you put sooo much thought into them.  Best of luck!

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
Good grief.  Are you sure she's all there?  Who in their right mind would give those items as gifts?  I would look into a mental institution for her.  Good luck.

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
There is an easy solution to this problem.  Tell her that you've decided that you are not going to exchange gifts with the adults in the family - children only.  As far as the money and stuff for her, tell her very plainly that you can not afford it.

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
Well, I'd say that she gave you and DH some very creative gift giving ideas!  You have the rest of the year to think of something to outdo her generous gift giving ideas!!  LOL.  Since that is what she likes to give, then she MUST love to receive the same!!!  Honestly, how do these MILs really even give these gifts with a straight face???

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
Your DH was "rather annoyed"?  Hmm, I would have put it more bluntly to dear mama.  "Take your sh!t back, MOM!"  From that point on, I would no longer give her any gifts.  How about just a nice card, if even that.  I'm sorry, but used deodorant and a pencil eraser is just plain rude.  I think she is verifiably nuts.  Tell DH that no decent mother asks her own offspring for money.  It is not a good thing to do.  Frankly, it is terrible.  It is called manipulation.

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
Hey, just lie and say that you're under financial stress too, and give her junk for Christmas!!

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
Get caller ID and an answering machine.  And, make a separate email file for her emails only.  Then, the next time she starts in, tell her that you are not the bank, and that she needs to get second job to pay her debts.  Also, get her a copy of "Financial Peace", by Dave Ramsey.  Then, if she keeps on, tell her flat out that you are not listening, and hang up.

RESPONSE:  Annoyed in Pennsylvania
Where does she get the idea that it's OK to try to fleece you - a young couple trying to buy a house - for such expensive items?  I can heartily confirm that she is way out of line by asking you for those things.  To me, that's far worse than giving you thrift shop stuff that you can just quietly throw away or give back to the thrift shop.  But don't let her lean on you for money for big-ticket items!  She is being selfish and unfair.  Could you just kindly tell her that you wish you COULD get her those things, but unfortunately, all the money is being put into the house that you hope to get?  If she has any sense of fairness AT ALL, that should shut her up.  If she's patently unfair, you have the right to good-humoredly ignore her requests, I think.

Worst gift:  As the rest of my family unwrapped very nice gifts from my MIL, I waited in anticipation to open mine.  My SIL had just opened a gorgeous sweater from a well known, upscale store.  My package was smaller (jewelry?), and I opened it with a smile on my face.  What I pulled out of my gift box was a leather, ADJUSTABLE belt!  It really sucked.

        Signed - ADJUSTABLE Belt

RESPONSE:  ADJUSTABLE Belt
Well, boohoo, so might you.

RESPONSE:  ADJUSTABLE Belt
Clue me in here.  What other kinds of belts are there, besides adjustable ones?  I'm sure I'm misunderstanding your post by thinking that you sound a bit difficult and hard to please.  I think I'd be awfully nervous when shopping for you.

RESPONSE:  ADJUSTABLE Belt
Some belts aren't cheap.  I really think that perhaps they didn't know your size, so they played it safe.  It is difficult to buy clothing for other people (like SIL), so maybe they thought a belt was innocuous?  Maybe?

RESPONSE:  ADJUSTABLE Belt
Not to sound too mean, but at least she got you something.  At least it wasn't used dish towels like some of the other women on this site get.  Guess that you know for the future not to splurge on her!

RESPONSE:  ADJUSTABLE Belt
I am absolutely disgusted by your post.  What is wrong with an "adjustable" leather belt?  It wasn't plastic, was it?  Should it have been custom-fitted for you?  Does the fact that it was "adjustable" mean it couldn't have been purchased in a store that was sufficiently upscale for you?  You don't say whether SIL is your MIL's daughter, or the wife of another son.  If it is her daughter, then heck, yeah, she might choose to spend a little more on her daughter than her DIL.  And, there's nothing wrong with that.  Do you realize that there are women who have posted here who receive used, broken, stained things, or worse, insulting thing as gifts?  Some of the women here have received things like divorce papers as gifts from their MILs!  Many of them get NOTHING.  I have to say it:  GROW UP.

Worst gift:  MIL's Child:  $10K.  Child's Spouse:  Box of old bathroom linen.

        Signed - Not A DIL, Just Call Me Chopped Liver!

RESPONSE:  Not A DIL, Just Call Me Chopped Liver!
Well, the 10K, it's half yours, right?  So, give DH a pillowcase and call it even.  J.  I know what you meant though - they treated you like 2nd class person.

RESPONSE:  Not A DIL, Just Call Me Chopped Liver!
At least you were able to enjoy the $10K.  Bathroom linen, used?  That is rude.  It would have been kinder for them to give you nothing.

RESPONSE:  Not A DIL, Just Call Me Chopped Liver!
Yeah, but you are entitled to HALF of that money by being a spouse.  So spend it and revel in the glory of telling the old cow how you spent it!!!

RESPONSE:  Not A DIL, Just Call Me Chopped Liver!
The look on MIL's face when you drop her off at the nursing home:  PRICELESS!

RESPONSE:  Not A DIL, Just Call Me Chopped Liver!
You are married, so you actually received $5K and half a box of old linens!  I dated a guy once who received $20K for Christmas (it was actually a tax thing that his parents had to do for all five of their children).  Most of his siblings were married, so I am sure that whatever the spouses received paled by comparison.  Enjoy the gifts.

RESPONSE:  Not A DIL, Just Call Me Chopped Liver!
I see a lot of stories where only the child gets the money, and I don't see the problem with that in itself.  I certainly don't expect my in-laws to give me money, nor do I expect my parents to give money to my husband.  Perhaps this MIL thought that the 10K, which is an awful lot of money, was for both of you?  The old linen is a bit off to me, but didn't you get ANYTHING to show for that money from your DH?  I think it's fair enough to give a couple money, but address it only to the child.  It is quite a sensitive way of handling a situation - some in-laws would be offended to receive money as "their" gift where I'm from.  Plus, in such a situation, I do wonder what the in-law IS expecting - another 10K themselves?!

Worst gift:  My worst present ever was from my GMIL:  She got us two cans of vegetable shortening and a tablecloth.  And we don't have a table!!!

        Signed - Vegetable Shortening And A Tablecloth

RESPONSE:  Vegetable Shortening And A Tablecloth
Ain't nothin' as good as that.

RESPONSE:  Vegetable Shortening And A Tablecloth
Did she know that you don't own a table????

RESPONSE:  Vegetable Shortening And A Tablecloth
She probably just cleaned out her closet and unloaded it on you!

RESPONSE:  Vegetable Shortening And A Tablecloth
LOL!!!  Makes you wonder just WHAT people are thinking, doesn't it??  Thanks for the laugh!

RESPONSE:  Vegetable Shortening And A Tablecloth
Wow!  Maybe she thought you two could rub yourselves down with the shortening and then roll around on the tablecloth?!??  Like mud wrestling for amateurs.  At least tell her that this is what you did with her gift - it will be good for a laugh!  Next year, get her a big blue tarp and some olive oil for Christmas, suggest 'oil wrestling' and give her a wink!

Worst gift:  I am very environmentally responsible.  On most occasions, I use cloth table coverings napkins, etc.  So, imagine my surprise when my MIL, who not only hates me, but apparently also hates trees (I have never eaten off of a "real" plate in her home in the time that I have known her) gave me cases of toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates and paper napkins for our first anniversary, claiming that it was our paper anniversary!

        Signed - Paper Anniversary

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Well, technically, she is correct.  The first anniversary IS the Paper Anniversary.  I don't see what is bad about this.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Well, the first anniversary is the paper anniversary.  But she is still crazy!

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
I got that too, especially with disposable diapers.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Traditionally, she was correct.  Knowing how you feel, she should could have gotten you some stationery with your name on it.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
That's what I got for my one-year anniversary.  It's a very typical gift for the paper anniversary.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Maybe she will give you everything in gold and diamonds for your golden and diamond anniversaries.  BTW, does she know that you're an environmentally responsible person?

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Well, technically, she's right.  The 1st anniversary gift is supposed to be paper.  BUT, knowing how environmentally conscious you are, that really was an inappropriate gift.  A nice note card set would have been good instead of tons of paper products.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Actually, I think the first year anniversary IS the paper anniversary!  LOL.  Feel free to donate the paper products to a women's shelter, soup kitchen, etc.  They could really use those items, and you won't have to feel badly about single-handedly destroying the environment.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Your first anniversary is the Paper anniversary.  So, she may have been trying to do something unique in the spirit of that.  I'm assuming that you are taking this wrong because of other problems with your MIL.  I know that it's difficult to deal with even the reasonable things when you've gotten used to dealing with the myriad of unreasonable things that can happen with a MIL.  Tell us more about your situation.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Actually, that *is* what various books say.  Is MIL aware that you only use cloth out of environmental consciousness?  Or did she just think, maybe, that you were saving money?  I mean, a nicely framed copy of your wedding invitation would have been a better "paper gift", but I'm not sure I see actual hostility here.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Actually, your first anniversary IS your paper anniversary.  But, she did go a little bit overboard here.  Smile sweetly, say thank-you, and then use them bit by bit for the next twenty years.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
So, you expect everyone else to share your views?  Do you share, respect, and honor all of your MIL's views?  Why not?  Do you hate her?  Have you ever told her that you do not want any paper products?

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
Well, actually, your MIL is correct. The first wedding anniversary IS traditionally the "Paper" anniversary (although, to be honest, a card is enough paper for most people - or, possibly the kind of paper that is green and has pictures of dead presidents on it!).  Sit tight, as next year is your cotton anniversary, and you might get some nicer napkins.  I would just make sure to recycle all the paper she gave.  On the bright side, you can never have enough toilet paper.

RESPONSE:  Paper Anniversary
I did that, my mother did that, and my grandmother did that.  The first is the paper anniversary.  What did you want?  Crystal?  It was a gesture.  Don't you use toilet paper, tissues, or stationary?  Some of it is made from recycled materials, and if it is paper, it is biodegradable.  Why don't you share with your MIL your respect for nature, and perhaps win her to be more conservative?  You have only been married a year, is this a hill worth dying on???  Do you really want to let this one mistake (a well meaning mistake) keep you from a relationship with your new family???

Worst gift:  My ILs are big on gifts, embarrassingly so, really.  DH and I work very hard to pick out our gifts to them, since we're on a budget and cannot spend $500 apiece on them.  We work hard to get them something they'll like.  Last year was our first year as a married couple.  DH's grandmother got DH household cleaning supplies, and told me that now I can teach him to clean.  SIL got everyone hundreds of dollars worth of things - toys for the kids, electronics, movies and books for the adults, DH got 7 DVDs, 4 books, and two electronic items from her.  I got a beanbag style toy and a box of laundry detergent with "SALE" marked all over it.  Everyone in that family gave me cartoon character beanbag style toys.  This year, his family actually asked for a "No Thank You" list.  Number one on that list for me was BEANBAG STYLE TOYS!  Hey, they asked, right?!?

        Signed - Anyone Want A Beanbag Toy?

RESPONSE:  Anyone Want A Beanbag Toy?
Those are stupid gifts, but at least his grandmother believes in equality in household chores, unlike most of the infuriating stories I've read here (where MIL believes the woman should stay home, clean, and bring her husband his slippers after he gets home from bread-winning.

RESPONSE:  Anyone Want A Beanbag Toy?
It looks like no one cared if you got any of the good stuff.  Real thoughtful, don't you think?  Well, at least your husband got 7 DVDs, that I 'm sure you'll get to use yourself.  Didn't anybody seem to realize the pattern of you receiving all the cr@p that no one wanted?  I mean, come on, who wants a lot of stuffed cartoon characters?  Send the bean bags to a children's home.  They will love to have something like that.

RESPONSE:  Anyone Want A Beanbag Toy?
Hmm, very strange.  Was the beanbag toy a joke or something?  Very strange.

RESPONSE:  Anyone Want A Beanbag Toy?
Your in-laws actually sound pretty nice to me, if a bit tacky!  At least you get stuff.

RESPONSE:  Anyone Want A Beanbag Toy?
Do you itemize every gift and its value?  The grandmother did give your DH the cleaning supplies (I actually thought that was cute).  And, as far as your SIL goes, you did indicate that part of the value was in the form of gifts to children.  Is the "No Thank You" list the result of you making them so uncomfortable last year that they are working hard to please you?  Relax.  Perhaps they thought that you liked those types of things.  Donate them to a school or church.

Worst gift:  Worst Gift, Huh!  Well, my in-law's, the mother, father and sister, are all famous for the gifts that they give to my husband and me.  Although my monster-in-law is, by far, the worst all around, they all share the same wonderful gift giving technique.  Since the day I met my now husband, any gift that was for us has been a great idea - but that is it - just the idea.  At every gift giving occasion, my in-laws make a huge spectacle of how generous they are, but their gifts are nothing more than ideas.  For my husband's college graduation, his parents told him that they bought him 50 shares of Microsoft, and his sister told him she was going to send him on a weekend to a racing car driving school.  He graduated 3 years ago.  His parents were also going to pay his student loans for the first couple of years to help him out.  A couple of years later, we found out that they only deferred the loans the whole time, not even paying the interest.  So, now he owes more than he did then.  My wedding shower gift was the promise of all of my glasses and dishes (of course, I bought them all for myself, because I know I'd never see them any other way).  Our wedding gift was all new luggage, and something else - REALLY BIG!  We still hear about it every once in a while.  My husband was to inherit a beautiful grandfather clock from his grandfather.  They won't let us take it out of their house.  So, no, my worst gifts weren't ugly clothes or a "how to be just like my mother-in-law" book.  They were really special - they were great ideas.  Why they just don't send a card and keep their mouths shut is beyond me.  Talking about cards - they do buy, NO LIE, about 5 - 7 cards from each.  They clap and cheer at each card going "great card, great card, crying at the mushy ones like they wrote it themselves.  And, God forbid anyone move during the opening of the cards - it is a huge deal, and you sit there while they pass every last one around, crying and clapping all the way.  My best yet, though, was the famous "birthday dinner".  They wanted to have me and my husband over for a nice dinner for MY birthday.  All week I was sick, so I couldn't go.  You would think that they would reschedule the dinner, but NOOOOO.  They expected my husband to leave me home, sick as a dog, while the 4 of them had dinner to "celebrate my birthday".  I told him to go anyway - I was happy to get out of it.  My husband called me to see if I was feeling OK, and my monster-in-law yelled, sarcastically, in the background, "Oh, it's nice of you to join us."  Do I even have to say it, b!tch!!!!

        Signed - The Great Mystery Gift

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
As you probably know, your DH shouldn't have gone out to that dinner.  I would have been furious.  The nerve!  Also, your in-laws $uck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I hope you write thank you notes to them, something along the lines of, "Thank you so much for that kind offer of grandfather's Grandfather clock.  It is so nice of you to think of me on my birthday.  I will be reminded of your nice gift every time I go to your house and see it on the wall.  Just hearing it chime in your home will make me remember how you made my birthday special."  They stink.

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
If your DH legally inherited the clock, he can legally have it removed from their home.  And, he actually went to dinner when you were too sick to celebrate YOUR birthday?  He should have told them to reschedule or forget it, no matter if you told him to go or not.

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
Argh.  My MIL does this, too (although nowhere near as much as your in-laws).  She'll often say, "I had my hand on a (fill in the blank) as a gift for you/your daughters," and I'm thrilled.  Then she'll finish the sentence with, "But I changed my mind."  Why bring it up, then?

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
Sicko's.  How dare they "celebrate" when you are sick.  Excuse me, but isn't your birthday about YOU??  Your DH was WRONG to go without you and have supper with his folks.  He needs to grow a pair and stand by you.  Good luck!

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
If they get you such "gifts", don't let them get away with it.  Tell them, in front of everyone, how "worried" you are that you never received the stocks, or that the loan seems to have been deferred, NOT paid.  Ask if you all need to go down to the loan office and straighten things out???  GIVE it back to them.  Don't let people think that they are sooo generous, when they are PHONEY to the core.  What JERKS.

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
Do we have the same MIL, or what???

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
Well, your in-laws are clearly loonies, but I think it was very mean of your husband to leave you ill in bed while he went out with mommy and daddy, ostensibly for YOUR birthday.  If my husband did that, he'd get a serious earful upon his return.

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
LOL.  Your ILs are crazy!!!  The "opening of the cards" is so pathetic that I found myself giggling.  At least you have a sense of humor about it.

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
If your husband was supposed to inherit the clock, please contact a lawyer.  I think it is illegal to withhold/take away something that's been willed to someone else (if there was a legal will).

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
One question:  Why did your husband go without you to your OWN party?  If you were sick, then he should have been at home with you, not at his parent's home celebrating YOUR birthday.

RESPONSE:  The Great Mystery Gift
The worst part of your story was about them not telling your husband that they were NOT going to pay for his college education.  Your husband should have known their mentality by then, and he should have made sure that they kept their promise.  How can he just take it for granted and forget all about it?  Be glad that he decided to do some casual checking up before it was too late.  He *REALLY* should have talked to them about it and found out what their problem really is.  They don't HAVE to pay for his education, but they can't be so irresponsible as to not let him know about it and pile up his bills.  Maybe they can't afford to pay, but that's no excuse to behave in such a disgraceful and surreptitious manner.  The other thing that stuck out in your post was:  Why did your husband leave you at home sick and go out to dinner with them ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?  He should have declined the invitation, and stayed home with you.  Your MIL is a B!TCH, but your husband's behavior that day isn't exactly commendable either

Worst gift:  My MIL recently went on vacation and brought back gifts for us:  The plastic cups that they were given their margaritas in.  She said, "I know you have always wanted to go there, so now you can sit out back on your deck and pretend."  She handed the used plastic cups to her son saying, "Here are the straws, too.  I haven't washed them yet."  How thoughtful!!!?????????

        Signed - How Thoughtful!!!?????????

RESPONSE:  How Thoughtful!!!?????????
She's a Class-Act.

RESPONSE:  How Thoughtful!!!?????????
That is just gross and mean.  Does your DH say anything?  If not, he needs to grow a pair and tell them off when they are RUDE!

RESPONSE:  How Thoughtful!!!?????????
If I were you, I would bring back a bit of toilet paper (preferably used) from the next place I vacation at, and tell her that she can use it as memorabilia.  This sort of cattiness shouldn't go unpunished.

RESPONSE:  How Thoughtful!!!?????????
How about giving her used toilet paper or her birthday?  :)

Worst gift:  I received a "popular" exercise machine for my thighs, which, BTW, bruised me up pretty badly.  I guess she can't legally do it herself, so she bought a contraption that I actually had the will to try out, and BAM, she got me.

        Signed - Tacky Family

RESPONSE:  Tacky Family
On the next gift-giving occasion, why not give MIL a gift certificate to a restaurant that isn't on the Board of Health's top 10 list?  Maybe she'll come down with a little food poisoning (kidding!).

RESPONSE:  Tacky Family
If you did not ask for the "thigh" machine, you should have responded, "I use your son for that exercise."  And, next year, give her some hemorrhoid cream.

Worst gift:  My FIL and MIL visited us and stayed in our house for three months after they retired.  After that, they went back to their own home, because we lived in different countries.  I remembered what they brought to us as our gifts:  One of the "rarely" worn shirts of my BIL for my husband.  It turned out to be my husband's gift to his brother some years ago - exactly the same shirt!!  For my son, an old hat with the number of a retired basketball player, meaning that the hat is out.  Another was a watch with a TV symbol - not used by the BIL for many, many years.  All these so called "gifts" were actually dug out from FIL's youngest son's drawers.  My BIL didn't mind about this, because they are all his trash.  Above it all, my husband invited them to have a holiday with us before they took off.  DH took us all on a vacation, by plane, at my his own expense.  They didn't even need to spend their own money, because my husband gave them "pocket money" the lst day that they arrived at our home.  When handing out the "gifts", my FIL didn't feel embarrassed at all, and told us the truth.  I really felt sorry for my husband when he had to take the shirt from his father, how hurtful!  It's not the money, it's the love!!  Dear all, I'll continue the story next time.

        Signed - Money Orientated

Worst gift:  Upon graduation, my not yet MIL gave me a little white plastic box in the shape of a graduation cap and said, "This is to remember us by."  Since then, I've been given many useless gifts, and been told that I have never been, am not, and never will be family.  All this took place after 11 years of marriage to a man who doesn't realize that mommy refuses to cut the cord.  When my husband needed surgery, and I had three small children to care for, she beat me in a foot race to his bedside, and I will always resent it.  I finally told her how I felt about her interference, and asked her to stop it, along with her verbal abuse and mind games.  She proceeded to tell the rest of the family that I wanted nothing to do with any of them.  So, now, I'm the outcast, and my husband wants to remain neutral.  After trying to split up my marriage, they finally split their own!

        Signed - Moved Away From Abnormal, Dysfunctional ILs

RESPONSE:  Moved Away From Abnormal, Dysfunctional ILs
Get counseling and move away.  This may be the only way to save the marriage.

RESPONSE:  Moved Away From Abnormal, Dysfunctional ILs
Inform DH that there is no "neutral" in this type of dispute.  He is either on your side or he is completely worthless.

RESPONSE:  Moved Away From Abnormal, Dysfunctional ILs
The worst thing about this story is that it's clear how heavily this all weighs on your spirit.  Tell DH how you need his support, and forget the rest of them.

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