To Top

Stepmother Gives Me Used Gifts Every Christmas

I get used gifts. My husband gets beautiful brand new, expensive gifts. We give her and my dad very nice, well-thought out gifts. Obviously, my stepmother isn't wild about me, but I am starting to get tired of it. I have ignored this for years because I just do not know what to do about what is very obviously done by someone who, by the way, has a lot of money.

Ad

So any suggestions? I do not want to tell her, but should I sent her a used gift? Would that let her know that I do know exactly what she is doing and that I don't think it is nice? Thanks.

We are giving away $200 in Amazon gift cards (US only) for people who answer recent questions on ThriftyFun this month! Click here to find out more...

Add your voice! Click below to answer. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

July 15, 20150 found this helpful

Can you talk to her about this? How do you know the gifts are used?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 16, 20151 found this helpful

Perhaps you or your husband could suggest that the four of you take whatever amount of money you would have spent on Christmas gifts for each other and donate it as a whole (in other words add the amounts together and write one check from all of you)?

Ad

If, as you suspect, she is doing this just to bother you, this would take all of the sting out of it, especially if you can be happy about it. Plus you would be helping out a good cause.

Also, if she or your Dad questioned your motives, you and your husband could simply tell them that you felt gift giving had become a challenge for them. This would open up a conversation I think, and you could tell them how you feel...but you probably would need to think a lot about it beforehand, because if you get angry or emotional during this discussion, it probably will go badly in a hurry.

Personally, I love it when my folks get me used gifts, because I know they got a better deal on them and kept them from going into a landfill. I really love receiving used books. However, my mother always chooses carefully to make sure the item is in good condition...

Reply Was this helpful? 1
Ad

July 16, 20150 found this helpful

Excellent answer 4TruLady [7]!

Years ago, our adult children and we decided to pool our gift money and donate every year for Christmas. We have done this now for over 20 years. What a relief!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 16, 20150 found this helpful

Very nice responses. Unfortunately, would not work as I am divorced from husband (though gifts are jointly mailed) and they are not one's for giving to charity. I think I would be better off just ignoring her. It is truly "on her" what she does. Perhaps, just once, I will, in addition to the normal gifts she gets, just send back a used pin she sent me (it was bent out of shape) so that she knows that I know. Or perhaps, best to just do nothing and ignore her. Yeah, that is what my heart says to do. Ignore her. There is no relationship. She managed to destroy that.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Ad

July 16, 20150 found this helpful

Why not simply re-gift the things she's given you? Wrap them in paper and give them back as your gifts to her. If she doesn't get THAT message, why not simply ask her to not give you any gifts at all?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 17, 20150 found this helpful

This is a simple solution that might make you feel better about yourself, too. After receiving anything from your step-mother write a lovely note on a pretty card and mail it to her. Tell her, "Thank you so much for your wonderful gift. I have donated it to (name your charity) and I'm sure some lucky person will be most gratified, as well." That way you can feel good about helping out someone who really needs it and you can release the hurt feelings you have accumulated coming from your step-mother. Be sure and drop your item off for a charity of your choice and that will make you feel even better. There are so many to choose from. My personal donations go to the Humane Society who run a resale shop in my town and the money goes to feed and heal discarded animals who would meet an ugly end without them. There are many other human places who are always greatful for donations, too.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Ad

July 17, 20150 found this helpful

Ignoring this might be the simplest thing to do, but you might also speak to your dad about this. Does he know his wife, your step-mother, is giving you used gifts? Also, you say that these are not the kind of things that can be given to charities. Perhaps if you gave us an example of the gift we would be able to give other advice. I have often given gifts to my family that I have purchased at garage sales or thrift shops - used books, pieces of art, antiques, etc. Also, we often give gifts in our family of family heirlooms that have been passed down - silverware, fine china, etc. I do not think there is anything wrong with that sort of thing.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 17, 20150 found this helpful

First, I think you all have very kind thoughts. Unfortunately, my stepmother has shown me in many ways her dislike. Chrsitmas, she gives my husband an angora sweater (new from Macys) and I get a brooch that is bent out of shape and tarnished. She has made it abundantly clear for many years that she dislikes me. This is just one way she expresses that dislike. So, I May take your advice and just ONCE, one time only (in addition to the usual gift that we send as a couple) I will send her back her brooch, that is if I get the nerve up to to this. Just put her name on the package. Nothing more. I will not stop sending her nice things. But that one return will let her know that I realize what she does. She has alienated both my grown children with her cruelty (long, long story) and most people in her life. My father? He is under her spell and she has all the power as she has all the money (quite a bit) and he has none. She is in complete control of him as well. I feel badly that I even wrote this whole thing in the first place, but I let years go by with this nonsense. I will not tell anyone she does this. I will simply send the bent/discolored broach back to her. No comment. No note. She probably won't notice. Oh well. Enough. I just have to stop feeling hurt because at the end of the day when she does things like this to people, it is about HER, not the other people and I need to learn this lesson.

Ad


So thank you all for very wise suggestions.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 17, 20150 found this helpful

Ann, sounds like our MILs were sisters. Mine was cleaning out her bathroom closet once. She found an old wig in it, tossed it in my direction, and said, "Here's your next birthday gift". She always had something nasty to say about/to me. My husband and I ended up divorcing, partly because he never showed me any respect either nor did he defend me when she was a witch to me. Thankfully, the union did not produce any children to go thru the trauma of divorce. I had very low self-esteem in those days. Years later, I am in a much better place and am happy with my life. Just wish I hadn't wasted so much time with the ex and the former MIL. P.S. Hope she remembers the brooch.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 17, 20150 found this helpful

Here's something I have learned.

Last Christmas was the first Christmas after my brother died. Do you think I cared about gifts, used or otherwise? Gifts on holidays are nice. They are not necessary or important.

As far as your MIL is concerned, you can laugh at what is obviously a passive-aggressive show on her part. It is feeble and immature. Be grateful that the people you love are are safe and warm- and alive- in your home. Count your blessings and let go of the rest.

Somewhere along the way, people have started to expect to be enriched materially by holiday gifts. However, not one of those gifts is love, and none of them could replace a person once he is gone.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 18, 20150 found this helpful

Everyone here seems to be on your side. My mom always told me that there are two side to each coin. What did you do that has her wanting to send you these things to you and the others get better stuff? Sounds to me that you two need to work things out.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 21, 20150 found this helpful

Hello Again:
Thanks for all replies. Hopefully, I will take the high road and let it all go. To poster who asked what I did to be treated this way? Answer: She treats many people very poorly. Is very verbally and emotionally abusive. I personally stood up to her abusive comments and this obviously got her angry. Controlling people are like that. She has been abusive to both brothers who continue to see them both anyway. That is their choice to take the abuse. Not mine. So what I did was, I stood up to verbal abuse and said "no". Poster: you don't always have to be doing something bad or wrong to be mistreated. That is the very definition of abuse. Actually, there are three sides to every story: "the other's side, "your side" and the truth.
Thanks again to all

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 22, 20150 found this helpful

@Maw Maw - so if someone is in an abusive marriage and is being beaten, do you ask them what they did wrong to deserve the beatings? I've been there. And I did nothing wrong to deserve the physical, mental, and sexual abuse. What I did "wrong" was to marry someone who thought he had a right to such behavior towards another person. And the reason I married such a person was because I had very low self-esteem at that time. Therapy and maturity have gotten me beyond the point of tolerating that kind of treatment from anyone.
So, take your "what did you do wrong" attitute and give it more thought. Perhaps you will come up with a kinder, less blaming response.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 23, 20150 found this helpful

Sophie, so glad you got out of that situation. Your X probably acted very nice to get your into the marriage and then slowly turned on you? So you cant even blame yourself re the self-esteem. Not easy to get out of a marriage, especially with kids, so you are very very strong.
Abigail, you are totally right. It IS about the people in our lives whom we love and who love us. Nothing else, at the end of the day, really matters. I guess I am tired of the stepmothers abuse/mistreatment in general, and since she has all the power over my father as well, I cannot even call him (long, long story). So, in my hurt and anger, I wanted to do something. But, its not worth it.
I have learned that people who mistreat us often are doing the very same thing to others. Or, in the case of a marriage, they have one person whom they can take out all their stuff on. I just have to let go of it all.
I am not a materialistic person, anyway. So its not really about the money but more about the poor treatment. Only thing to do is just let go.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 23, 20150 found this helpful

PS:
You can't work things out with an abuser. They want all the control. It is one-way street with them ... their way or the highway. Someone asked how I knew the gift was used? It was a brooch, discolored and the pin was bent out of shape. the box it was in was old, too. Another year I got a broken alarm clock. To the lady whose MIL threw a wig at you and said this is for you, what did you say? I can't even imagine that one! :(.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 23, 20150 found this helpful

To all the responders who reminded AnnG that it isn't about material gifts - I don't think AnnG was ever concerned about the value of the gifts. What she, in my opinion, was trying to address was the hurt and humiliation of being treated so poorly be her step-mother. I don't think it was ever an issue of getting material things, but rather the step-mother's abusive treatment of her. By the way, trust me, it's very easy to tell if the gift is used when the item is rusty, broken, or bent out of shape, etc. But, as I said, AnnG isn't concerned about the material value, or lack thereof, of the gift. It's the way she is being treated by the step-mother that is the issue. So I don't understand why all the responses about not being materialistic. AnnG, I hope you don't mind my stepping in like this. Personally, I would still re-gift that broken, rusty pin to her just to let her know that you are aware of her passive-aggressive behavior, and perhaps she would find out what it feels like to be treated so rudely. After that, I would just let it go. P.S. I was so shocked when the wicked MIL threw the used wigs at me, that I didn't say anything.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 24, 20150 found this helpful

Ilovesophie:
Gee, I seem to have really caused a lot of trouble on this site, not meaning to. But, thank you. You got it right  it is the hurt and the mistreatment.
I hope no one got hurt over this stupid Christmas gift thing. Sophie, I know you must have been shocked. She, clearly, was very nasty to do that and when these things happen, I too, go silent. And then later on, I think .. why didn't I say anything.
Anyway, you all have helped me and I feel so much better now. Don't know if I will return that broach or not, but do know this is not about me but on her for her poor behavior.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 24, 20150 found this helpful

I saw this same question recently on Carolyn Hax or Dear Abby or one of those sites. I think though it was the mother in law in that case giving the bent broach. Are you going from site to site to get sympathy or what?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 28, 20150 found this helpful

Wow, Ginnee, what an assumption and cruel statement! Maybe it's time to drop this topic before even more nasty comments are made. I think AnnG needed to vent and has come to her own decision of how she is going to handle the matter. And that's all that is important. Enough of the distasteful comments, please. Best wishes, AnnG.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 29, 20150 found this helpful

Hi Ginnie:
No, Im not. Are you going from site to site to cause trouble? Just curious?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 31, 20151 found this helpful

Used items for Christmas is fine IF everyone else is receiving/giving them too and they on the whole do not mind or it is something you've yearned for like antique glassware piece or a vintage piece of clothing if that's your thing etc. However, you are being singled out and it's cutting and hurtful to be targeted as the only one getting used items each year while everybody else gets a new or expensive gift. I do not think you need put up with the embarrassment or deliberate pain inflicted on you in front of other family members either because you spoke up for yourself.

I would go to you MIL in private and tell her you no longer care to receive any gifts from her as she's made it quite clear to you how she feels toward you and that she feels you aren't worth spending her money on for something nicer than a poor condition item she expects you will continue to receive without saying a word because you don't want to make waves and keep the peace. You are letting her get away with this poor conduct and she will continue to behave as such. Help her break away from this hurtful pattern and end it. No gift is better than being given something her heart is not in when giving to you on that special time of the year. Stop letting her do this to you. Are you a mat she can walk on? No...so, end this kind of treatment.

Have courage and step out and face MIL with grace and dignity and hold your head up and feel good about yourself instead of allowing another to be demeaning toward you because they think they can get away with it. She has no respect for you more so when you don't stand up to her. There is a lesson to be learned here.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
August 8, 20150 found this helpful

Myrna:
Very good and thought-provoking response. So very true about the feelings, too. Thanks for taking the time to post this to me.
Ann

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 8, 20150 found this helpful

Myrna:
Very good and thought-provoking response. So very true about the feelings, too. Thanks for taking the time to post this to me.
Ann

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 16, 20170 found this helpful

Since she knows what she's doing, you have two choices. You can tactfully talk about how this hurts you or you can ignore it. I might cut back on the cost of the gifts you give her (but not used ones!) and use the extra money to buy a treat for yourself.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Add your voice! Click below to answer. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!

Related Content
In This Guide
two unhappy women
Getting Along With Your Stepmother
Categories
Better Living FamilyJuly 15, 2015
Guides
Homemade baked Christmas gingerbread tree as a gift.
Christmas Gifts from Your Kitchen
Closeup of Red Christmas Bell Ornament
Saving Money on Christmas Ornaments
Gifts That Cost Nothing
Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas
More
🎂
Birthday Ideas!
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube
Contests!
Newsletters
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Categories
Desktop Page | View Mobile

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

© 1997-2017 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published by .

Generated 2017/09/17 04:11:14 in 1 secs. ⛅️️
Loading Something Awesome!