grown stepchildren and Christmas Presents : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

How do you handle presents for grown children/stepchildren whose parents are not married?

After many years of difficult dealings with my grown sd's mother, we would like our dealings to be with our child. Things like, where would you like to spend the holidays or what is your list for "Santa". Ideally we'd like her to make two lists for each family or make one list and then we can tell her which items we(or the other family) would like to purchase/make and she keep track of what has not been taken on the list.

Is it unreasonable to think that we no longer have to negotiate christmas Presents now that she is grown? There are things that would have to be discussed, like wedding payments, perhaps. But on the whole, our daughter is grown and we would like to enter a new relationship with her that does not involve negotiating (might I add, petty negotiating where any opportunity to be unpleasant is taken advantage of).

I know that ideally it would be great if all of her family could be happy together, but that cannot happen due to years of antagonistic behavior. Is it too much to ask to move on? OR are we being unreasonable?

-- Ann Markson (, November 26, 2001


I would tell her to make two seperate list and give one to each side of the family. We do this all the time. Once she decides how she wants to spend the holiday, you can develop your own traditions. With us we spend Christams Eve with our Mom, and christmas Day afternoon with our Dad. This works pretty good for us.

-- Melissa (, November 26, 2001.

Should we really encourage grown children to make lists at all? No offense intended.

-- mary (, November 26, 2001.

That is probably up to the family, but my parents are always pretty practical and like to buy us something we really need or want. So we do have fun making lists for them, to choose from or not!!

I don't want to buy someone something they don't want or need, and sometimes it is hard to know for sure, so some well-meaning hints are nice. Like, I know my sister needs silverware this year, because it is on her "wish list", some items on mine are sheets for my bed, a mantle clock, garden tools, a watch. My Mom is always glad for our list, even though she doesn't always buy everything on them! I think they just give ideas...

-- Melissa (, November 26, 2001.

No offense taken. As usual, Melissa's answer is very much in line with my own (sometimes I think Melissa is another me). We do like to be practical with gift giving and we don't buy things throughout the year for our kids, only at the holidays (or rather GIVE at the holidays, I shop sales and thrift stores and yardsales year round).

They don't get everything, or near everything on the list. Especially if something on their list is a) something we think is a questionable--like designer clothes; or against our values. We don't spend our money, even for others, esp for our own children on things we feel are against our values.

My question still is though, when do you have to start negotiating with someone who is not a member of your family? Is there a statute of limitations? We feel when our daughter visits us is between ourselves and her (similarly between her and her mother) but the time for the parents to negotiate is over since she is grown and these things are her choice (choosing).

Similarly, I do not wish to give a list of what I have bought or made for my sd to her mother each christmas now that she is grown.

-- Ann Markson (, November 26, 2001.

Sorry Ann, we do get off on so many tangents around here don't we?!?

You don't say how old she is, but certainly if she is out of High School, it seems to be she can do the negotiating herself about which home to visit when.

I wouldn't compare buying with her mother, I would just give her what you want to, and in the highly un-likely event that you both purchase the exact same object, you could give her "permission" to exchange it.

But usually even if you both buy a sweater it probably isn't going to be the exact same sweater, and if you both buy a radio, well sometimes it is nice to have 2 radios. So I don't think it will be a big problem...

-- Melissa (, November 27, 2001.

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