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Ungrateful Family - Love 'em or Leave 'em?


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I have a rant.  For over 25 years now I have been sending birthday and Christmas cards (w/cash inside) to many nieces and nephews (the oldest is in their late 20s).  I've lived close and I've lived far.  In ALL THAT TIME I think I may have received ONE card from any one of them.

I forgive anyone under the age of 16 just for being young (there are still a few in this category) ... but since some of them are adults and parents by now, shouldn't they be expected to reciprocate?  And if they don't ... should I just STOP sending anything at all?  I wonder if they even notice! (<-- there is a question here, not just a rant!) Yell

It feels good (for me) to remember them all (and there are many, and more "grands" on the way).  But am I just being foolish to keep this "tradition" going when I get absolutely no response?  I love them all ... but I'm starting to think it's a one-way street.

I don't want to "cut them off," per se, although this is about the only interaction we have lately.  I'm just frustrated because this month, there were 5 birthdays in the SAME family, and I know that when it's my B-day I'll be lucky to get a call from one of them! :) 

I know it's trite to say "after all I've done for them ..." but seriously ... after all I've done for all of them at one time or another!!!!  Sigh.

21 Replies (last)
Keep up with the cards just don't give them anymore cash.  Cards and stamps cost enough.

Keep sending the cards, skip the cash inside. Unless you really have a connection with one of them, then by all means gift away. 


I think that the $20 from Auntie Zarelha each year may have become expected and not appreciated.  Which stinks.


But I'll stop my Dr.-Phil-Rant for the day. Good luck!

 

I can certainly understand your annoyance, but you are setting a good example.  Some day, perhaps, at least some of them, might get the message and be as thoughtful to others as you have been to them.  That in itself makes it worthwhile.  (But yes, I'd skip the cash - at this stage of the game, a personal note is far more valuable and meaningful in the long run.)

But that's just my opinion.

Split.

I agree with the rest stop sending money. I myself am not a card sender, but I have told those who may send me one not to (they still do) as I'm not fussed about them. So they know that should they not get anything it's not personal. However if they send something I always call them and say thank you.

maybe this is a silly question, but do they know when your birthday is?

I mean, there is definitely no excuse for not receiving a thank you card or a thank you call, but it sounds like you are talking about when your birthday rolls around and you do not receive any acknowledgment?

My parents always taught me to call and say thanks or send thank you cards.  But I wouldn't know my aunts' or uncles' birthdays unless my Mom or Dad told me when it nears and I will be honest, even then, I have never have given any gifts to them except for a holiday card here and there, and thank you cards. (We pick names for the Holiday's so those gifts don't count.)

However when I am an Aunt, I plan on doing the same. I guess to me, they always seem like the "grownups" or "adults," so it's natural for them to "spil" the nieces and nephews.  (though my Aunts and Uncles stop the birthday "gift giving" when we turn 18 or after we finish college, it's kind of an unspoken rule in our family.)

I have relatives that do send cash on a regular basis for Christmas and our birthdays. While I hardly send out thank you cards, I always make a point to stop and call them to thank them for their gift.

My mom always told us, you better thank them like you mean it or they won't send you presents anymore. So, we did.

I agree, send them cards but forget the cash. It doesn't take much to say thank you.

The bigger question is, "why do you do it?"  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's a way for you to have some leverage.  What worries you more, that if you stop sending cards they will be upset...or if you stop sending cards they won't care?  Because maybe if they don't care, they simply don't care.

Original Post by zarelha:

It feels good (for me) to remember them all


you answered your own question right here!Wink

i just went to a funeral this last weekend. my ex mother in law. i have been divorced from her son 14 years now. my eldest daughter has moved to los vegasCry so i decided to say something for her. this is what i said....

i remember when i first came into the family. i was invited over for thanksgiving dinner. as we all sat at the table i noticed that dinner consisted of turkey, biscuits, gravy, mashed potatoes and corn. i was used to the traditional foods so i asked "where is the cranberries, the pumpkin pie, the candied yams?" they all looked at me and said no one likes these things. the next year, as we sat down to eat, there it all was. and i will never forget how good it tasted. how special i felt. how much love and effort she put into it just for me. i was very young and cannot remember if i ever thanked her properly. so today janet, i say thank you. thank you from the bottom of my heart.

some day, hopefully not soon, someone will be saying something at your funeral. if you continue to remember those you love, with a card AND the money if you can still afford it, i can bet you that you will have people lined up to sing praises of you. you will leave a lasting impression on someone. and if a few of them grow up and remember how special they felt on their big day by you, they may start doing it themselves. all because of you.

remember when people would get all dressed up to go to dinner, ride in a plane, go shopping, say grace at the table, was our hands before dinner, so many things people just stopped doing because everybody else stopped doing it. pretty soon it is never done anymore and if it is it is seen as rare or strange.

so, i guess you figured my vote....defiantly keep sending those cards and $$$$

kattttttt

ps....wish you were my auntieLaughing

Thanks, guys, for your suggestions.  I think I am working out my new plan.

derrycastlerock - we have had "family calendars" for years, so if they wanted to, it would be very easy to know when everyone's b-day is.

I think caloricat, that you hit it on the nose.  It's not so much "leverage" I would like.  But my nuclear family was so close growing up, and when the kids were little (my oldest brother had kids while we other siblings were still in our teens), that I miss that closeness.  I don't have kids, so I can't even duplicate it in my own nuclear family, unfortunately.

I think it is being afraid that they just won't care.  And because I know that young adults can be very selfish (I was).  So if I cut it off, does that mean that I won't have a relationship with them at all when they are in their 30s and 40s?  That would make me very sad, because I know that family is pretty much all you have sometimes.  I know they would rarely seek me out now (I live out of state), but life is long, and losing touch with one's family is never a good thing.

So I think you all have it right - I think anyone over 18 will from now on get a card, and that's it.  It's just sad to see yet another tradition fall by the wayside ... :(

EDITED TO ADD:  Thanks, Katt, now you've got me confused again!  I definitely will continue sending the cash to the kiddies (they are the ones that seem to appreciate it most - and some of them actually do call and thank me, which is nice, if only to know that your cash wasn't stolen from the mailbox).  And I think cards for the others will at least keep the "contact" going without making me feel used. :)

I agree with Sportstergirl on some aspects.  I do believe that it's the kindness you show in life that will be remembered when you are gone.  But I don't think it's neccesary to send $$$ anymore.  Still send it for the little ones, but after 15 or 16, the concept of $$$ is ingrained, (or should be) and they will understand that you can't send everyone cash.  In this economic time, being conservative is smart. 

On another note, remember that even if some of these family members are adults now, it was their parent that didn't instill in them the humility and respect one needs to be able to display gratitude.  It's sad that this generation is full of materialistic opportunists who just take whatever they can.

 

ha ha this is funny to me.  I am now 29, and I always sent thank you cards for any present that I get including a card with money...   But it seems that the gravy train has ended.  Two years ago, I stopped receiving cards at all... even from my parents!  SO... I think it is totally acceptable to either stop or just send a card with NO cash!  Good Luck!

It's so sweet that your nieces and nephews are so important to you.  I would faint dead away if one of my aunts or uncles sent me even a card on my birthday.  I'm fairly surprised when I get a card from my paternal grandmother.

I tend to worry more about thank you notes with the older generations (I'm 30).  My maternal grandmother looks forward to receiving thank you cards, so I send them to her whenever I get event he smallest thing from her.  With everyone else, I guess I assume that a thank you card is just one more piece of mail for them to throw away (since that's how I feel about them).

Under 18: card w/ a brief "what I've been up to" and an open ended question for them, a self-addressed & stamped postcard, and a small cash gift.

Over 18: card w/ a brief "what I've been up to" and an open ended question for them and a self-addressed & stamped postcard.

People are lazy, busy and addicted to convenience, but mostly lazy; so if you want a response you're probably going to have to remove all the barriers to receiving that response.

You could start donating to organizations in their names, for the older crowd. Or you could just give them a quick phone call instead of a card. That way, you talk to them, and you don't feel unappreciated.

Are you 100% sure you were sendign those cards to the right address? :)
By the way, my aunts have never sent me anything before, even though they love me to death. A simple phone call is much more meaningful (to me at least)
Send them cards, send me the ca$h!
Original Post by frothbeast:

Send them cards, send me the ca$h!

 Zarelha! Heed not the beast of froth, but be wary of it. What good has a beast with money? I ask. Surely a true beast needs naught but plunder and terror to sustain it.

Take heed and proceed with caution!

*gallops away*

I was taught that giving a gift of any kind was to come from the "heart" of a person with no expectation of reciprocity of any kind. There should be no strings of any kind attached to the gift. I still feel this way.

I have to admit I have given gifts because I felt pressured to do so. I have also experienced hurt feelings when I felt that my gift was not appreciated or reciprocated. I have also received gifts with expectations attached to them. We're all human.

It is good and proper etiquette to always thank someone for a gift. As another poster expressed I was taught that if I didn't thank someone for their gifts, the giver would probably quit giving them. People do need to feel appreciated and not taken for granted.

It does seem to me that you are at least being taken for granted. It's hard to say what the recipients of your cards and gifts think since they aren't in any kind of contact with you. It would seem to be a pretty clear message that they aren't interested in exchanging cards and/or want to keep in contact. It could also be that they just don't keep in contact with family. I no longer have immediate family, except for my son who is 21 and off at college. I think about my other relatives from time to time, but I just never get around to contacting them. I really don't know them all that well.

Someone mentioned that you should keep on giving cards and cash as this might cause them to say something nice at your funeral. I can't think of any worse of a reason to give gifts than to have someone say something nice about the deceased at their funeral.

If you want to keep giving because you truly think this might influence the younger relatives to keep in contact then do so. It might. I'd quit sending cash to anyone over 18 though. If you want to maintain a current family directory of names and addresses, then I'd send birthday and holiday cards.

Original Post by moonikins:

 

Someone mentioned that you should keep on giving cards and cash as this might cause them to say something nice at your funeral. I can't think of any worse of a reason to give gifts than to have someone say something nice about the deceased at their funeral.

 

i did not say that at all. i said i was at a funeral just the other day and that got me to thinking that even though you THINK that no one really pays attention or cares because they don't say thank you does not mean that they were not grateful. go to anyones funeral and you will see this. what i was getting at however is just what you said, "one should give simply to give with no expectations. this is a true gift" when there are expectations associated it can be seen as a bribe.

i do not plan to have a funeral or be buried just so you know. i want people to go on and remember me the way i was not a dead corpse in the ground.

as far as the cash goes. i am on the fence on that one really. i say if you have it give it. if you don't, don't. you cant take it with you and wouldn't you rather share it while you are here to see the happiness you spread? on top of no funeral, i plan on leaving this world debt free and maybe $100 bucks in my account and a big smile on my face!Laughing

btw, it's late, i'm hungry and i lost 2 lbs this week so if i'm not making sense, that would be why....Wink

kattttttttt

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