All Sorts of Families Face Gifting Challenges

If Gifting Sense does one thing, let it be to assure you that pretty much every family faces challenges when it comes to modelling sound financial literacy and gracious gift-giving and receiving. If you are in a Book Club, or Parent Support Group, or even just lunch with the same set of colleagues on a regular basis, you already know this – but there is also loads of proof in periodicals such as REAL SIMPLE Magazine.

We’ve gotten into the habit of consistently referencing REAL SIMPLE’s “Modern Manners” column where each month etiquette expert Catherine Newman offers her best advice on all sorts of social quandaries. Almost without fail, there is a question regarding gifting – for example the one we are reprinting below from the October 2015 issue.

We like to think that our process offers grandparents exactly the sort of gift selection guidance Ms. Newman suggests is capable of keeping both the daughter and mother-in-law in question happy, not to mention, the grandkids!  If you know Gifting Sense, then you know that we believe getting kids gifts they will use and appreciate makes the most sense of all – for everyone.  We haven’t had the opportunity to discuss it with Ms. Newman – but based on what we read in her column – we think she would wholeheartedly agree.

“One of my daughters-in-law always asks for cash or gift cards for her children on birthdays or holidays.  I feel that she is teaching them bad manners. I would prefer to have the cost of my gifts remain classified. Isn’t that why we remove price tags? How can I let her know how I feel without causing a rift?”  REAL SIMPLE, October 2015, page 54.

Catherine Newman’s Answer:  “Let’s leave aside the parenting issue of teaching manners for now – because, alas, it’s not really yours to take on – and address instead your experience of gift giving. Presenting cash or gift cards can feel crass: It’s unadorned expense, without a lot of sentimental value. The flip side is that kids choose something they want, rather than being given something they may not. Is there an option that offers the best of both worlds? One possibility is to thank your daughter-in-law for trying to make your life simpler, then say that you would prefer guidance in gift selection instead. Another, if time and geography allow, is for you to take the kids shopping to share in the experience and to get to know their tastes. A third choice might be the most practical: Give the kids the money, but ask them to send you a photo to show you what they ended up with. This won’t mask the dollar amount, but it will connect your generosity with a tangible object (e.g., the Lego set Grandma got me) while reinforcing a little something about expressing gratitude.”

Reprinted with permission from the October 2015 Issue of REAL SIMPLE magazine.


Got an idea for an article? Let us know!

Fields marked with an * are required