Etiquette Questions, Answered: Holidays and Gifts
My Grandkids Never Wear the Gifts I Send. What Should I Do?
Q. I often buy cute clothes, shoes, and accessories for my granddaughters, but I never see them wearing these items. What’s
more, when I babysit, I sometimes look for the clothes in their closets but can’t find them.
These girls are my only grand-children and I love buying clothes for them, and I cannot understand why they disappear. I have mentioned the missing clothing, and my daughter-in-law pleads ignorance. I have done nothing to hurt this woman and am baffled by the situation.
A. It is satisfying to give gifts that are well loved and well used, but remember that real giving should be motivated by generosity toward others. That being said, it doesn’t make sense to spend money on clothes that aren’t being worn, so you may need to consider a new approach.
Start by acknowledging the possibility that you and your daughter-in-law don’t share the same taste in children’s clothing and that her pleas of ignorance may be motivated by an effort to spare your feelings. Although it’s possible that she is being honest (and is simply disorganized), the most likely explanation is that she is donating or packing away your gifts because the clothing is not her—or the kids’—preferred style.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the pleasure of dressing your granddaughters. Two options spring to mind: One, give them a gift card to a clothing store, and follow up to see what they picked out. Or, two, find out where your daughter-in-law likes to shop, and go online together so that you can order the items that she or the kids are most drawn to. You’ll learn more about what they do like wear—and have a much better chance of seeing your gifts in action.
- I Mailed a Gift to a Loved One and Never Received a Reply. What Should I Do?
- How Can I Be More Involved With My Nephews?
- Must I Reciprocate Gift-Giving to Relatives I Barely Know?
Want to Ask Your Own Etiquette Question?
Submit your social conundrums to Catherine at realsimple.com/modernmanners. Selected letters will be featured on the website each month.
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