Dear Kim,

I need your advice.  I have an issue with my daughter-in-law.  Christmas is coming and I’m not sure what to do.  During last year’s Christmas celebration, my daughter-in-law chose to leave a few of her presents we purchased for her behind.  We initially thought that they were forgotten because of the chaos of the day.  When I spoke with her to tell her she left them, she said that she really didn’t like or want those “things”. 

As a little background, my son (her husband), is a senior executive and earns a substantial living.  Consequently, my daughter-in-law only has the best of the best.  She is very label conscience and tends to look down upon things she feels are beneath her status in life.  Both she and my son grew up on a farm and should know the value of hard work.  They are truly blessed to be in such a great financial position.

The gifts I purchased for her were not inexpensive or without thought.  I try very hard to find gifts that are meaningful for the recipient.  I was heartbroken at her remarks.  How do I avoid another repeat of last year’s gift fiasco?



Dear Elle,

I think your letter is an excellent example of the fact that money does not equal class.  I think these past few months have brought many people’s sense of entitlement to light.  Your daughter-in-law clearly displays a lack of gratitude.

Seriously though, I believe it’s probably a safe bet that we ALL have received a gift or two that we didn’t love.  The appropriate response to receiving a gift of any kind is to say thank you.  Gift-receivers should express appreciation that someone thought of them.  The gift-giver should never know someone was disappointed with their gift.  Gracious people take the gift home, not leave the gift behind.  Once home, they can do whatever they want with it – return it, donate it, re-gift, hide it or toss it.  They should never express anything less than gratitude to the gift-giver.

Even if your last gift did miss the mark, your daughter-in-law lacks the necessary social skills to accept a gift graciously.  If you want to continue exchanging gifts with her, I suggest speaking with your son for gift ideas.  He should be able to steer you in the right direction. 

If it were me – I would also probably put on my evil mother-in-law hat and discuss this with her directly.  I would let her know she hurt my feelings and talk through how we can avoid hurt feelings this year.  Gifts are supposed to come from the heart.  Let her help you through this.  I love my daughters-in law.  I also treat them the same as I treat my sons, honestly and openly.  Have a conversation with her.  You just might be surprised.

Good luck.

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