Author Topic: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits  (Read 4737 times)

Nick_Miller

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Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« on: December 17, 2019, 12:31:38 PM »
Okay, I know this isn't the biggest deal in the world, but it still bugs me.

My wife exchanges gifts with friend/co-workers throughout the year. Yes it's heaviest during the holidays, but she gets people birthday presents and stuff like that too, so it's a bit spaced out. I don't do any of that. I haven't bought any of my friends presents since 1990. I do give my paralegal a cash bonus for the holidays, but that's it. And it's because she makes money for my household (not just for me).

So essentially this is my beef...my wife uses "household" money to buy presents, BUT the gifts she gets in return from co-workers, friends, etc., are for her only. Examples: soaps, crafty stuff, articles of clothing, accessories, etc. She bought gifts for 12 different co-workers this Christmas (I just found out), and she'll almost surely get 12 presents in return.

So to other husbands (and possibly to other wives too, but I suspect this is somewhat of a gender specific thing), does your significant other use household money for presents, and does he/she get the lion's share (or all?) of the presents that come into the household? What is a fair way for this to be handled? I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am? I admit to being a bit of a grinch.


ixtap

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2019, 12:45:36 PM »
How are your finances laid out, in general? We only have household money, even though most of it sits in individual accounts.

If she is getting gifts back, this is an important part of their friendship, but perhaps she could set a social budget so that going out with friends and gifts for friends come out of the same bucket?


Here4theGB

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2019, 12:46:01 PM »
I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am? I admit to being a bit of a grinch.
Yes you are and you should let it go.  Your wife is part of your household is she not?  Do you cut a bar of soap in half and tell her to piss off if she uses her half faster than you use yours? 

Is the $$$ going towards this excessive?  Is it really an issue worth forcing?

Cranky

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2019, 12:52:17 PM »
Lawyer grinch, at that!

All of our money is “household money”, and we share gifts of soap and baked goods. ;-)

ketchup

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2019, 12:54:00 PM »
I'm the grinchiest grinch that ever grinched, and I think this is a silly thing to worry about.

What's the real problem here, are you jealous of all the presents that enter the house but aren't for you? I'd be thrilled - I find receiving presents stressful and unnecessary.  What part of this are you looking to make "fair"?

NotJen

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2019, 12:57:26 PM »
I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am? I admit to being a bit of a grinch.
Yes you are and you should let it go.  Your wife is part of your household is she not?  Do you cut a bar of soap in half and tell her to piss off if she uses her half faster than you use yours? 

Is the $$$ going towards this excessive?  Is it really an issue worth forcing?

100% agree. 

I am not a big gift giver.  But I have friends that enjoy the practice.  Some years I minimize the financial impact by making them gifts, some years I spend more money.  I graciously accept their gifts, although they are rarely things I want or use.  It's part of maintaining the friendship, so I embrace it.

It sounds like you need to make more friends?  Or maybe start a gift exchange with your friends so you and your wife can be "even".

Nick_Miller

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 01:02:42 PM »
@ixtap We have mostly household money, but we each get $200 a month for blow money with no restraints. This gift thing is outside of that. Yes, maybe I should just agree to a "gifts" household category that would be essentially just for her and I just suck it up.

@Here4theGB, ease down the hostility.

Car Jack

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2019, 01:03:18 PM »
does your significant other use household money for presents, and does he/she get the lion's share (or all?) of the presents that come into the household? What is a fair way for this to be handled? I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am? I admit to being a bit of a grinch.

My honest answer here:  "Who cares?"

I mean....if she's giving a co-worker a Ferrari or something, then maybe that's overboard.  Otherwise, see my answer above.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2019, 01:04:41 PM »
I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am? I admit to being a bit of a grinch.
Yes you are and you should let it go.  Your wife is part of your household is she not?  Do you cut a bar of soap in half and tell her to piss off if she uses her half faster than you use yours? 

Is the $$$ going towards this excessive?  Is it really an issue worth forcing?

100% agree. 

I am not a big gift giver.  But I have friends that enjoy the practice.  Some years I minimize the financial impact by making them gifts, some years I spend more money.  I graciously accept their gifts, although they are rarely things I want or use.  It's part of maintaining the friendship, so I embrace it.

It sounds like you need to make more friends?  Or maybe start a gift exchange with your friends so you and your wife can be "even".

I have a decent number of friends. But no, we don't give each other presents. I could be wrong, but I don't think most men buy presents for male friends. At least we don't. We do have a monthly lunch, and we rotate on who pays, but I pay for it with my own blow money when it's my turn.

And sometimes we might treat each other to a ticket to a sporting event, but that's more hit and miss based on our schedules. It's not a constant thing.

wenchsenior

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2019, 01:13:30 PM »
I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am? I admit to being a bit of a grinch.
Yes you are and you should let it go.  Your wife is part of your household is she not?  Do you cut a bar of soap in half and tell her to piss off if she uses her half faster than you use yours? 

Is the $$$ going towards this excessive?  Is it really an issue worth forcing?

100% agree. 

I am not a big gift giver.  But I have friends that enjoy the practice.  Some years I minimize the financial impact by making them gifts, some years I spend more money.  I graciously accept their gifts, although they are rarely things I want or use.  It's part of maintaining the friendship, so I embrace it.

It sounds like you need to make more friends?  Or maybe start a gift exchange with your friends so you and your wife can be "even".

I have a decent number of friends. But no, we don't give each other presents. I could be wrong, but I don't think most men buy presents for male friends. At least we don't. We do have a monthly lunch, and we rotate on who pays, but I pay for it with my own blow money when it's my turn.

And sometimes we might treat each other to a ticket to a sporting event, but that's more hit and miss based on our schedules. It's not a constant thing.

I don't think this is a gender thing, at least it isn't in our house.  I (female) mostly stopped doing the expected 'regular schedule' gifts years ago (I also stopped sending Xmas cards, which was a huge relief).  Now I occasionally give a gift if I run across something that I know one of my friends or family would like, as opposed to trying to find something half-assed every year for a dozen or more people.  It works out to maybe one or two gifts per year, which I might or might not attach to holidays/birthday, etc.  Whereas my husband has more of the "we 'should' give gifts of some sort to at least some of our friends/family" on the gift giving holidays.  Plus, he personally buys fairly expensive gifts for every one of his grad students when they graduate from his lab.  Plus, he also does what I do (just occasionally sends friends gifts he thinks they might like).

My husband is using household funds to do this, but I don't find it worth arguing about, unless we are in a real money crunch situation.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 01:15:21 PM by wenchsenior »

Nick_Miller

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2019, 01:17:24 PM »
I'm the grinchiest grinch that ever grinched, and I think this is a silly thing to worry about.

What's the real problem here, are you jealous of all the presents that enter the house but aren't for you? I'd be thrilled - I find receiving presents stressful and unnecessary.  What part of this are you looking to make "fair"?

Apparently you aren't the biggest grinch!

Yeah I am like you, I get nervous trying to find something "perfect" for someone, but honestly most everyone we know has EVERYTHING they need. So I just feel like it's tossing money in the toilet getting people yet another candle or yet another shirt or yet another thing for the house. It's just ridiculous. And all of my wife's friends (and mine too) fall into the "have everything they need" category.

I am much more excited about giving small gift cards to people like my kids' teachers and bus drivers. The flying spaghetti monster knows that they've earned it!

Kierun

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2019, 01:26:11 PM »
My friends and family have stopped the adult gifting thing but the wife's friends and family still does the gifting. The gifts given are from the "both" (as in our wallets) of us, but the gifts received are tailored for her, but meh, never really thought of it in an unbalanced way. It's not so much the imbalance but the notion of exchanging newly bought material things and the culture that you have to give gifts for occasions that bothers me, but I feel ya on the whole bugging thing.

Psychstache

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2019, 01:27:02 PM »
Husband here.

does your significant other use household money for presents, and does he/she get the lion's share (or all?) of the presents that come into the household?

Yes and Yes.

What is a fair way for this to be handled?

Unless she is giving away iPads, ignore it.

I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am?

Yes, Illogical. There are roughly 6 million things that are better uses of your mental and emotional energy than this.

I admit to being a bit of a grinch.

You are.

Sibley

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2019, 01:32:05 PM »
You've got two basic options here. Let it go, or address it in some way. If you let it go, then no conflict. If however, you decide to do something, then you open up a number of possibilities, many of which result in potentially angering or hurting your spouse. Is that something you're willing to risk?

Relationships involve compromise. You and she aren't exactly the same. She has compromised on something that you do that drives her nuts, that you may not even know about. So unless you're willing to change that thing (which may actually be you being a grinch, who knows), tread very carefully.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2019, 01:38:26 PM »
You all have convinced me to let it go. -deep breath- Okay, letting it go.

Yes it sort of bugs me (obviously), but no it's not worth some huge argument, not unless it gets a lot more extreme than it currently is. So you all saved me from taking this issue to my wife, which I appreciate. Happy holidays and such.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2019, 01:44:23 PM »
Why does it have to be an argument?

Have you actually talked to her using non-confrontational/judgemental language regarding this?

If you have a set amount of fun money you each don't question - sounds like it's $200/month where you both could blow it on absolutely stupid shit and no questions/repercussions from each other? Then the issue is that you feel it isn't fair that she spends more money on things that are not shared between you/benefits you both using funds that are not out of the "fun money" bucket, so yes, that is something that should be examined. I'd also do some self-examination about WHY this bugs you so much - especially if you can easily afford the $ to do so, and she's not being wildly inappropriate with her gifting.

If it was me, I'd phrase it as my own personal discomfort about the discrepancy between using household/shared money for purchasing gifts for her friends and making sure I went into it saying it may be irrational, but you can't help how you feel and ask to discuss it with the other person to see if they feel it is truly irrational (in which case, I'd feel better expressing it and being understood) or else maybe the other person may rethink that it's not fair, and either start using their own fun money pool or cut way back on the gifts for personal friends.

It doesn't matter how other people deal with this or think it's right/wrong... you need to untangle this stuff with YOUR partner, get the feelings/concerns out there, discuss them, and reach a compromise if possible. But at least express your feelings without anger/pettiness or resentment and listen to her about it. If this is really bothering you (and it is at least enough to get outside opinions on here) then it really should be broached WITH her in terms of dealing with the feelings - not specifically in setting boundaries or rules.

I mean, I have literally started a topic of discussion with something akin to   "I know this is likely me being a total weirdo about this but it really bothers me and I just wanted to talk about how I'm feeling, and I understand I may be totally in the wrong here..." and make a point to emphasize I am not attacking or looking for an argument.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 01:49:08 PM by Frankies Girl »

ketchup

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2019, 01:44:38 PM »
I'm the grinchiest grinch that ever grinched, and I think this is a silly thing to worry about.

What's the real problem here, are you jealous of all the presents that enter the house but aren't for you? I'd be thrilled - I find receiving presents stressful and unnecessary.  What part of this are you looking to make "fair"?

Apparently you aren't the biggest grinch!

Yeah I am like you, I get nervous trying to find something "perfect" for someone, but honestly most everyone we know has EVERYTHING they need. So I just feel like it's tossing money in the toilet getting people yet another candle or yet another shirt or yet another thing for the house. It's just ridiculous. And all of my wife's friends (and mine too) fall into the "have everything they need" category.

I am much more excited about giving small gift cards to people like my kids' teachers and bus drivers. The flying spaghetti monster knows that they've earned it!
Oho, challenge accepted! 

I find Halloween to be pretty much the only acceptable holiday, in terms of American societal norms.  No specific family obligations, no gift expectations of any kind, no religious baggage, no songs everyone expects you to know or to ruin your grocery shopping experience.  It also encourages creativity (costumes/decorations/whatever) while at the same time every level of effort is deemed acceptable, from nothing at all to one lonely pumpkin on your porch and a $15 creepy unicorn mask on Amazon to weeks spent on elaborate costumes and crazy graveyard stuff all over your front yard.  And Halloween decorations/etc are fairly inoffensive and a nice buffer before the onslaught of Christmas garbage in stores starting November 1.

Fuck the rest of them, especially Christmas. :)  Thanksgiving is almost acceptable, but Black Friday culture ruins it.

partgypsy

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2019, 01:44:50 PM »
Hmm. I would in general say just lay off, it is part of what she does with her friendships, as long as monetarily it is not impacting your household. I had a similar thing with my ex (note ex) where he didn't: want to take family portraits we used for cards/photos for the grandparents and great grandparents. He didn't like buying presents. Yet other than token gifts for my friends as well as gifts, etc for teachers the presents I was buying were for family members, mostly his family and in turn they gave us nice gifts including his parents sometimes giving significant cash. So I thought it was rather hypocritical, him complaining about the whole gift giving thing, not doing any of it, but taking part in the gift receiving part of it...

I have a similar thing with current guy. He is from a different religion and does not celebrate Christmas. I did get him one gift (something useful) but otherwise trying to refrain from gift giving for him since he neither expects it nor likes receiving gifts. In turn while he is great at acts of service he has told me he is not a gift giver and not to expect anything from him, though I do like gifts and tokens. Maybe that makes me immature but so be it.

One thing was good, is that I am a naturally frugal person and kept to a cash limit for how much I spent on each kid for Christmas (around 100). That sounds like a lot but the gifts would also be utilitarian things like books, socks and other clothing saved up for Christmas. I am really glad my ex never picked on me about that, that really would have been a fight.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 01:53:29 PM by partgypsy »

mm1970

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2019, 01:47:52 PM »
Quote
I don't think I'm being illogical in how I'm viewing this, but maybe I am? I admit to being a bit of a grinch.
Adding another to say let it go.

Years ago my husband and I agreed to have the same "budget" for hobbies.  Then I started quilting...and there was no way he was gonna catch up for a few years.  I don't do so much anymore.

Likewise, my husband likes to eat out more than I do, and he LOVES MOVIES.  So you know what?  I buy him gift cards to the smoothie place to take the kids.  I let him go to as many movies as he wants (and buy popcorn, and the kids prefer movies with him because he'll actually buy popcorn.  I won't.)  If the kids are dying for a burger on a Saturday, I let them go.

partgypsy

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2019, 01:56:31 PM »
I'm the grinchiest grinch that ever grinched, and I think this is a silly thing to worry about.

What's the real problem here, are you jealous of all the presents that enter the house but aren't for you? I'd be thrilled - I find receiving presents stressful and unnecessary.  What part of this are you looking to make "fair"?

Apparently you aren't the biggest grinch!

Yeah I am like you, I get nervous trying to find something "perfect" for someone, but honestly most everyone we know has EVERYTHING they need. So I just feel like it's tossing money in the toilet getting people yet another candle or yet another shirt or yet another thing for the house. It's just ridiculous. And all of my wife's friends (and mine too) fall into the "have everything they need" category.

I am much more excited about giving small gift cards to people like my kids' teachers and bus drivers. The flying spaghetti monster knows that they've earned it!
Oho, challenge accepted! 

I find Halloween to be pretty much the only acceptable holiday, in terms of American societal norms.  No specific family obligations, no gift expectations of any kind, no religious baggage, no songs everyone expects you to know or to ruin your grocery shopping experience.  It also encourages creativity (costumes/decorations/whatever) while at the same time every level of effort is deemed acceptable, from nothing at all to one lonely pumpkin on your porch and a $15 creepy unicorn mask on Amazon to weeks spent on elaborate costumes and crazy graveyard stuff all over your front yard.  And Halloween decorations/etc are fairly inoffensive and a nice buffer before the onslaught of Christmas garbage in stores starting November 1.

Fuck the rest of them, especially Christmas. :)  Thanksgiving is almost acceptable, but Black Friday culture ruins it.

No one I know partakes of Black Friday, and even if they did what does it matter to you? If you let that ruin your Thanksgiving, that's on you. Same way I don't watch Football. It's like going around saying I used to like Sundays but football ruined it.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 02:03:28 PM by partgypsy »

KCM5

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2019, 02:00:20 PM »
I don’t know - since you have agreed upon blow money, sounds like she could be using that? Do you feel like your blow money is insufficient? If so, maybe you get a December increase?

This discussion makes me think of how gifts are generally less economically valuable to the recipient than they cost the giver. I’m a woman and also a bit of a Scrooge about purchased gifts for this reason (love me some homemade gifts, though - I’ll never Scrooge about that!). So perhaps because your wife sees the gifts she receives as less valuable than the money she spends on giving gifts, she doesn’t want to use her blow money. And then there’s the additional social ties that are strengthened through gift giving, which you may very well benefit from. In my relationship, I spend more time/effort maintaining friendships, but my husband enjoys an evening dinner at our friends places as much as I do. So are you getting more than you think out of it? (Maybe you’re not, I don’t know!)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 02:01:57 PM by KCM5 »

Alternatepriorities

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2019, 02:01:07 PM »
Some people get a lot more enjoyment from giving and getting gifts than others. My DW is in the first group and I am in the second. I see the effort I put into not being a Grinch about giving and receiving gifts that aren't "needed" as one of the ways to effectively love DW. I even buy her small things she doesn't need but will like because it makes her happy to receive them.

She's realized that giving me stuff isn't the most effective way to love me and finds other ways of doing so. When she does find a perfect gift for me I try hard to let her know because I know it's a challenge.

It sounds unlikely from your account that either getting more gifts yourself or having more money in your "blow it" account would really make you happier. If that's true, maybe adding more of what does make you happier in your relationship would help.

aloevera

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2019, 02:11:38 PM »
So essentially this is my beef...my wife uses "household" money to buy presents, BUT the gifts she gets in return from co-workers, friends, etc., are for her only.

While part of me says "Let it go", it seems like you two have come up with a system where some expenses are shared and some expenses are your/her own.

So to me, gifts for your kids/family/close friends from you *as a couple* to them, are shared expenses. (though it sounds like your wife does all the legwork on those, saving you valuable time and energy?).

Gifts from her to coworkers/friends should be hers, jut as your gift to your paralegal or your friends should be yours.

IMO, YMMV, etc.

Laura33

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2019, 02:16:13 PM »
If this is bugging you, don't just tell yourself you're wrong and try to get over it.  You seem disproportionately upset over something that most people would just shrug off.  That suggests that it's the kind of thing that is just going to fester.  You need to deal with it somehow.

So what is the cause of the disproportionate annoyance?  Is it really the "joint money goes out, individual gifts come in"?  Would you be happier if she was bringing home, say, food gifts that you could share too?  Or is it more that you don't value that kind of gift-giving tradition and so resent her spending money on that when it could be so much better used for other purposes?  Or do you just hate giving gifts on general principle -- it is fundamentally inefficient, of course -- and her focus on it makes you feel guilty because you're not doing it and wonder if you should?  Or something else entirely?  Which particular button of yours is this pushing?  You need to figure that out first before you try to come up with a solution.

See, I don't think it's really that you aren't sharing equally in the results.  That level of upset suggests that something about what she does has hit a real sensitive spot.  So my money is on the last option -- although it could be the use of the money, if you're really highly focused on a very high-priority (for you) goal and you are angry that she's ignoring your really important goal to fritter money away on stupid frivolities. 

But if you want to resolve this with her, you also need to figure out how to understand why she cares so much about doing this.  If you approach it as "you have this ridiculous money-waster, but I'll tolerate it because I love you," well, that's not going to go well.  The reality is that different groups of people have very different cultural expectations about all sorts of things.  And if she was raised in a culture in which giving little gifties was an important way to signal that you care, or if she is now hanging with a group of friends that all share gifts like that, then being able to give and receive those little gifts is actually very important to her, even though the gifts themselves are completely meaningless.  You know the old "it's the thought that counts" trope?  This is the flip side of that:  the very act of giving the gift is a way to signal "I am thinking about you and I care about you."

Note that you don't have to agree -- heck, you can think it is utterly stupid.  But it's not about you -- it's about what she needs and what she values.  And you don't get to decide that for her, no matter how stupid you think it is.*  If you want a happy marriage, you need to figure out a compromise that accepts that this matters to her and gives her space to do that, without judgment or implicit criticism, because you want her to be happy and this is part of that.  And she also needs to be doing the same thing with you, once you figure out whatever it is that is hitting your particular hot button about this situation.

As to whether you're trending grinch-like, well, in general, I find that when one of the choices involves generosity of spirit, that's usually the right way to go.

*Have I mentioned my zero-to-120-mph-in-no-seconds-flat rage when DH went out for "sunglasses" and came home with some $120 Oakleys?

charis

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2019, 02:39:07 PM »
I dislike gift giving myself and would probably bring it up to my spouse if he spent hundreds on friends and/or coworkers. I am a curmudgeon about Christmas in particular. As a woman with children, a lot of the overwhelming Christmas responsibilities seem to fall on me. I don't need to worry about the office cookie exchange, whether we mailed out a package to Aunt Petunia in time to arrive by Christmas, or who needs to be on the Christmas card list. I'm over it all.

the_fixer

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2019, 03:04:42 PM »
Yes my wife buys gifts for friends and co-workers and gets gifts in return. All of our money goes into one account so I guess it is similar to your situation.

It has bugged me from time to time in the past because I am your typical male that does not see a point in such things.

However she is better at maintaining relationships and this brings balance as I suck at it and I would honestly be a hermit vagabond with no ties if it were not for her.

I love her, the life we have, the person she has helped me become and the kindness that she shows others is part of that.

So in a way I do benefit from this ritual that I do not understand and would go as far as to say that what I gain is worth 10x more than the .05% of our yearly salary that she spends on such endeavors.



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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2019, 03:08:23 PM »
Yes my wife buys gifts for friends and co-workers and gets gifts in return. All of our money goes into one account so I guess it is similar to your situation.

It has bugged me from time to time in the past because I am your typical male that does not see a point in such things.

However she is better at maintaining relationships and this brings balance as I suck at it and I would honestly be a hermit vagabond with no ties if it were not for her.

I love her, the life we have, the person she has helped me become and the kindness that she shows others is part of that.

So in a way I do benefit from this ritual that I do not understand and would go as far as to say that what I gain is worth 10x more than the .05% of our yearly salary that she spends on such endeavors.



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@Nick_Miller  This is the right answer, sans hostility.  :)

MyAlterEgoIsTaller

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2019, 03:08:38 PM »
If your wife's workplace culture is full of gift-giving, then her participation in that is probably benefiting your household, even though the trinkets she gets from her coworkers aren't directly useful to you.  Her giftiness helps her in her work relationships, so it presumably helps her in keeping that job and doing well in it and possibly advancing in it and/or building and maintaining her professional reputation.  Figure the gifts given are career-related expenses.

We had our office holiday pot-luck thing today.  I don't like those, but I don't categorize my kielbasa expenses as groceries and then resent them destroying the grocery budget.  I categorize them as work-related and accept that it's better for my career to feed my coworkers occasionally than to be that person who Doesn't Participate in the Office Culture.

ketchup

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2019, 03:38:35 PM »
I'm the grinchiest grinch that ever grinched, and I think this is a silly thing to worry about.

What's the real problem here, are you jealous of all the presents that enter the house but aren't for you? I'd be thrilled - I find receiving presents stressful and unnecessary.  What part of this are you looking to make "fair"?

Apparently you aren't the biggest grinch!

Yeah I am like you, I get nervous trying to find something "perfect" for someone, but honestly most everyone we know has EVERYTHING they need. So I just feel like it's tossing money in the toilet getting people yet another candle or yet another shirt or yet another thing for the house. It's just ridiculous. And all of my wife's friends (and mine too) fall into the "have everything they need" category.

I am much more excited about giving small gift cards to people like my kids' teachers and bus drivers. The flying spaghetti monster knows that they've earned it!
Oho, challenge accepted! 

I find Halloween to be pretty much the only acceptable holiday, in terms of American societal norms.  No specific family obligations, no gift expectations of any kind, no religious baggage, no songs everyone expects you to know or to ruin your grocery shopping experience.  It also encourages creativity (costumes/decorations/whatever) while at the same time every level of effort is deemed acceptable, from nothing at all to one lonely pumpkin on your porch and a $15 creepy unicorn mask on Amazon to weeks spent on elaborate costumes and crazy graveyard stuff all over your front yard.  And Halloween decorations/etc are fairly inoffensive and a nice buffer before the onslaught of Christmas garbage in stores starting November 1.

Fuck the rest of them, especially Christmas. :)  Thanksgiving is almost acceptable, but Black Friday culture ruins it.

No one I know partakes of Black Friday, and even if they did what does it matter to you? If you let that ruin your Thanksgiving, that's on you. Same way I don't watch Football. It's like going around saying I used to like Sundays but football ruined it.
My sister works retail, and it means family activities for the day get scheduled around that and messed up.  She had to be at work at 5pm on Thanksgiving this year because of this madness (and no, nobody gets out of it - all hands on deck).

And she's the most sane one in my family and the one I actually want to spend time with, but that's beside the point.

Black Friday has a lot of weird knock-on effects.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2019, 03:47:40 PM »
It’s funny sometimes the things that upset partners. I’d definitely let it go, who wants to have that fight? Instead, do something for yourself, maybe get a massage or a poker night with the guys, or just something for you to enjoy and call it even.

ShastaFire

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2019, 08:06:44 PM »
OP, thanks for your post.  It seems to me a bit of a love languages thing.  Perhaps your wife and her co-workers express their affection for one another through the love language of receiving/giving gifts; your love language is ... not that one.

I feel all warm and fuzzy when someone wants to spend time with me, ie the quality time love language.  The whole gift thing stresses me out, no matter the occasion, so I seek to avoid or make as simple as possible.  This is in dire contrast to my mother, sisters and my spouse's family.  My MIL has wept over the thoughtfulness of a gift.  I am amazed at the meaning gifts can have for people.  Perhaps your wife is tapping into some of that meaning and connection.

I would echo @Laura33 - try to find out why this is bugging you in particular - is it perceived unfairness...?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Love_Languages
 

gooki

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2019, 01:37:33 AM »
My wife uses personal money for friend and coworker gifts.

We use household money for relatives gifts (parents and our kids cousins).

Like you I don’t exchange gists with my friends. At the most I’ll buy a round of drinks, and that comes from my personal money.

But at the end of the day if it’s only minor I’d forget about it. We’re all different.

Duke03

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2019, 05:36:55 AM »
I feel your pain.  10 years ago when I married my wife that first Christmas my eyes got open really big when I saw the list of people she drew up to give gifts to.  I kept my mouth shut and let her buy all the presents she wanted because she had her own job and was using her own money.  The following April I called her into our spare bedroom in our house aka junk room and told her we have a problem.  There where at least 10 wrapped presents to people she bought still sitting in our house because she had not seen them in 4 months.  I explained that maybe these people aren't as important in our lives as she thinks they are and therefore going forward don't warrant getting a Christmas present...…. The light bulb finally went off in her head.  She was buying gifts just to buy gifts....It's taken me 10 years, but every year I'd cut her list of people down one by one and now we both agree Christmas is for kids and if you are not a child don't expect anything outside of parents.  You have to play the long game and whittle it down a little each year.

Kris

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2019, 06:16:19 AM »
I just wanted to add that often, among women-based “cultures” e.g. a work environment with a group of women at its core, a group of women friends, etc., gift-giving is a part of the culture in a way that it is not for many men. To me this looks like a “greasing the wheels” of her work culture, which means that it’s part of what helps her to be seen as a good friend and colleague. So I’d look at it in that way, and realize there is a household benefit to it.

frugs

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2019, 09:32:27 PM »
These compulsive gift givers don't realize that:

a) they may be putting the person they give the gift to in the awkward position of feeling like they have to reciprocate when they don't want to

b) they think they give gifts because they want to make others happy... but the truth is they give the gift because it makes THEM feel better about THEMSELVES

c) the amount of money they spend in a year on ridiculous things people do not want or need probably adds up to more than they think

You should bring any or all of the above points up with your wife, it may not have crossed her mind.



minimustache1985

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2019, 10:50:19 PM »
I just wanted to add that often, among women-based “cultures” e.g. a work environment with a group of women at its core, a group of women friends, etc., gift-giving is a part of the culture in a way that it is not for many men. To me this looks like a “greasing the wheels” of her work culture, which means that it’s part of what helps her to be seen as a good friend and colleague. So I’d look at it in that way, and realize there is a household benefit to it.
I agree with this- even as an engineer and having few female coworkers small “I remembered/thought of you” gifts were important for some of my working relationships.  I imagine it would have been a larger part of my holiday budget if I’d been in a different office setting.

use2betrix

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2019, 07:04:11 AM »
My wife’s parents sometimes don’t get her birthday presents over the years, and often Christmas presents are limited (other times they’re great). This year we just spent $156 buying them concert tickets for a Christmas gift..

FYI - my wife and I have been together 7-8 years. She’s worked maybe 1 of those years. All our money is shared money. We talk about our financial choices together. I couldn’t imagine not being on the same page with a spouse of needing to have “my money/her money” but whatever works for the spouse..

Kris

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2019, 07:39:54 AM »
I just wanted to add that often, among women-based “cultures” e.g. a work environment with a group of women at its core, a group of women friends, etc., gift-giving is a part of the culture in a way that it is not for many men. To me this looks like a “greasing the wheels” of her work culture, which means that it’s part of what helps her to be seen as a good friend and colleague. So I’d look at it in that way, and realize there is a household benefit to it.
I agree with this- even as an engineer and having few female coworkers small “I remembered/thought of you” gifts were important for some of my working relationships.  I imagine it would have been a larger part of my holiday budget if I’d been in a different office setting.

I’m not into gifts, myself, but as a woman I have had to recognize and adapt to giving gifts in cohorts of female friends and colleagues, for this reason.

norajean

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2019, 08:07:47 AM »
This could be just a symptom of a larger financial mis-alignment.  You need to get her 100% on board with your frugality or there could be rocky waters ahead.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2019, 08:10:08 AM »
Seems like @Nick_Miller resolved the situation for himself, but I like the comments contributed so will share my own.

In my office, gifts go down.  I give to the receptionists because they help me throughout the year.  I give to my assistant for same reasons.  I give to my referral sources because they give me clients.  Before I had my own practice, this money came from our household funds (or I made and gave homemade treats).  It's the "greasing the wheel" that was mentioned upthread. 

I also use house money (joint money) to buy gifts for both of our families and teachers of kids and any of my own friends.  My friends are the ones who will help us out if we need it in our lives (ie, watch the kids in an emergency).  DH's friends are negligible, tbh.

Still, I do find cheap ways to fulfill these gifts when possible.  A bulk purchase of homemade soaps from a neighbor, wrapped individually by me in a re-used gift bag with a sprinkle of bulk-bought candies/treats in the bag, looks really nice and costs very little.  I also get the joy of re-using/recycling gift bags and helping out a neighbor, both of which do give me joy, and that's worth something, too.

-Edited to finish b/c I hit post too soon.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2019, 08:16:38 AM by TVRodriguez »

ketchup

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2019, 08:11:30 AM »
This could be just a symptom of a larger financial mis-alignment.  You need to get her 100% on board with your frugality or there could be rocky waters ahead.
I think this is some /r/relationships style over-reaction.  This is small potatoes.

cupcakery

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2019, 08:21:30 AM »
I don't exchange gifts with friends (or with most family members if I'm being honest).  Partially because I'm cheap and don't like shopping and partially because I'm averse to adding more fancy soaps and candles to my life.  My husband exchanges gifts with a friend from college, one of his brothers, and with some of his coworkers.  I find it odd, but not a hill I want to die on.

Here4theGB

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2019, 09:13:26 AM »
This could be just a symptom of a larger financial mis-alignment.  You need to get her 100% on board with your frugality or there could be rocky waters ahead.
Ridiculous

ditheca

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2019, 10:18:37 AM »
My wife has never had her own income, so maybe there are some intricacies here that I don't understand.

If your financial arrangements are his/hers to the point where these gifts are a problem, it seems like the obvious solution is for you to exchange gifts with a dozen coworkers.  Give each friend $50 cash and get $50 cash back from them.  Put all the gifts you receive into your personal "Not For My Wife" fund.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2019, 11:40:21 AM »
These compulsive gift givers don't realize that:

a) they may be putting the person they give the gift to in the awkward position of feeling like they have to reciprocate when they don't want to

b) they think they give gifts because they want to make others happy... but the truth is they give the gift because it makes THEM feel better about THEMSELVES

c) the amount of money they spend in a year on ridiculous things people do not want or need probably adds up to more than they think

You should bring any or all of the above points up with your wife, it may not have crossed her mind.

Point A is certainly true. At my work we once had a new female coworker who at Christmas bought presents for all the women in the company, like a soap/bath foam package. I didn't even have much to do with her at work. So I felt awkward getting a present. I thanked her and chatted about what she (a muslim) did with Christmas. But I have been in a lot of doubt whether I needed to join the gift habit, which I personally find silly.

On topic, I think her personal gifts should be paid from her personal spending budget.

iris lily

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Re: Bugged about my wife's gift-giving/getting habits
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2019, 11:59:31 AM »
Yes my wife buys gifts for friends and co-workers and gets gifts in return. All of our money goes into one account so I guess it is similar to your situation.

It has bugged me from time to time in the past because I am your typical male that does not see a point in such things.

However she is better at maintaining relationships and this brings balance as I suck at it and I would honestly be a hermit vagabond with no ties if it were not for her.

I love her, the life we have, the person she has helped me become and the kindness that she shows others is part of that.

So in a way I do benefit from this ritual that I do not understand and would go as far as to say that what I gain is worth 10x more than the .05% of our yearly salary that she spends on such endeavors.



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This is nice. Agreed that “there is no point” except to grease our human relations.

In our household, DH is this one who gives the gifts to his family, or at least did back in the day. Very early in our marriage I helped him but a few years ago I decided I didn’t care about getting packages shipped off to five points of the country to be received in time for Christmas. Or conversely, having everything purchased and wrapped that by the time we/he makes the drive up north.

I never resented the money. I only resented the time I put into it so that’s why I stopped.

His family is very nice and in one of the mini discussions about should we stop giving gifts one of his sisters asked nicely if I felt cheated because our household received so many fewer gifts than the households with children.

I genuinely did not feel cheated, the amount of stuff coming into my house doesn’t matter and I prefer less over more.