Daughter in Law Gift

Updated on December 22, 2015
M.A. asks from Detroit, MI
33 answers

Do you receive/give combined gifts? Since my son got married I combine both his and my DIL Christmas gifts. Last year I gave them $100 in one card and then a new coffee maker. Would you be/are you offended by joint gifts? DIL seemed offended.

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So What Happened?

They have been married one year. Yes if I had a daughter who was married, I would combine gifts also.

DIL just rolled her eyes at last year's gift.

I did get her a bath gift set this year, and my son will get socks with combined $.

She should appreciate anything they do get, and I always say I just want hugs and kisses in return.

They do not want kids.

Wow julie, i am not complaining and I will leave it at that. My other posts have nothing to do with this one. It is better to give then receive. And that $10 target bath set is actually from Nordstroms:0

Any money my beloved son receives goes in her pocket. He works two jobs and just graduated college with a engineering degree. DIL does not work. I help them out all the time. Whether it be with money or items needed for their apartment. Heck DIL drops off dirty laundry and then leaves. I myself have two jobs also, take care of my disabled mother and i have guardianship of my two nephews.

DIL expects me to do their laundry. My son will come over and do it. If I am home I will help out so my son has clean clothes for work.

Update 12-26-15: she sat on the couch quietly all Christmas morning. She liked her bath set.

Featured Answers



answers from Washington DC on

I would not be offended by a joint gift. However, did she get offended that it was a joint gift or a household item? Maybe she didn't like the coffee maker. OTOH, if she drops her laundry with you and doesn't work and takes all his money...I would take her eye rolling with a grain of salt. Someone needs to grow up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My parents give a joint cash gift each year to me and my husband. It is my favorite gift every year!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My MIL is not in a financial position to gift her kids anymore, or the in-laws. The kids receive from her at Christmas (normally Wal-Mart clothes) and they get $5 in a card for their birthday. We are always SO grateful for what she sends and the kids love getting cold, hard, cash! We supplement if they are a little over their $5 from her...no big deal.

I would never be ungrateful for a gift received.

More Answers


answers from Norfolk on

It's kind of irrelevant whether I'd be offended or not.
It's apparent it offends your DIL.
Every year ask your son what DIL would like (hopefully nothing too expensive) and do separate gifts.
As for me - I usually try to expect nothing but will be delighted and gracious if a gift comes my way no matter what it is.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

oh dear. it sounds like a tense relationship all round.
i think your method is fine. i also think it's fine to give them individual gifts. i really don't have any hard-and-fast rules about it, and i doubt that will change if and when my boys get married to their girlfriends (both of whom seem to planning to stick around.)
this year i've given the live-in couple stuff for their new house, and some individual gifts as well. the not-yet-living-together couple are each getting their own stuff.
your gift sounds lovely. i'm sorry your DIL rolled her eyes at it. but i guess there's a significant backstory that would sound way different if she were here posting about you.
maybe in your case it would be best to ask gently what they'd like, and go from there. i understand the perspective about buying from your heart, but your heart isn't particularly warm toward this girl so a list would help.
sock and $ for christmas sounds pretty meh. but maybe your son expects something like that?
saying she 'should' appreciate anything but wanting hugs and kisses from a girl you don't like is kind of setting yourself up for disappointment all round, isn't it?
why do you let her drop off dirty laundry with you?
:/ khairete

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have never expected anything from my ILs but have always been touched and grateful that they included me in their gifting. Typically, they have given us a combined gift, and my parents have done the same. There was one year where my husband was being difficult about a lot of things and asked for separate gifts from my ILs so that he could spend his share on something he wanted but really, mature couples should be able to receive gifts as a couple with grace and gratitude.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I won't buy them one thing until they have kids. Of course I am lazy, maybe the word is efficient, I get my daughter to buy him stuff and then give her money.

Looking at your other posts I don't think you get gift giving. The idea is not to give what you feel like giving, beyond setting price points. The idea behind giving gifts is to give something they will like to receive. Your whole attitude that she should like anything you give her is a shitty attitude, no shock she pulls faces.

Here is the odd thing I don't get, you are sitting here complaining about her honest response, you seem to want to put no thought into her gift, just get some stupid Target premade 10 dollar bath gift set and she is suppose to act like you gave her something actually picked out for her. How do you rationalize your disappointment? Why don't you just get them nothing instead of making them act like you care?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Be a good mother-in-law. Treat her like she's a daughter instead of like she's an extension of your son.

A girl married for a year is still trying to find her place in the family. You aren't showing her that she is really a part of the family. When something is SO easy to rectify like this, take care of it with a good heart. Remember, she is a lot younger than you and her feelings of being "dissed" will bother her for a long time.

Ask your son what she likes. He knows. I actually hate getting bath gift sets from anyone. I won't buy them for myself, either.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am not offended by joint gifts.

I was taught to say please and thank when receiving a gift.

I am, however, offended when people are passive aggressive, don't try to get to know me, and then don't communicate with me.

This question kinda sounds like this.

If you think she doesn't like it....ask her...not a bunch of strangers. But only if you intend to do something about it. Otherwise accept it for what it is.

The best "joint" gift you can give your son and his wife is a mature relationship. A MIL who respects and is thoughtful of the person who loves her son. Accept her for who she is and she will do the same. Then these little petty issues won't be such a big deal.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I try not to give combined gifts. If you do, then which of the couple "gets" to open the gift? lol

You don't know the history of the person who is getting/giving the gifts. My husband is an ex-Jehovah Witness...he was raised not getting gifts at all, for anything...so he is like a little kid when he gets a gift. So maybe your DIL has some kind of background you don't know about. If it's clear that she prefers her own, no matter the reason, then try to do that for her. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

ETA: From your SWH, I would not help them out anymore. You have other priorities in life to take care of. As for the dirty laundry, it would stay dirty and she can do her own. You are not their maid or personal piggy bank. They must learn how to live on their own without help or bailing out from MIL for everyday items. Time for a new set of boundaries and no entitlement. Nip this $hit in the bud or you will be broke and out on the street or in a nut ward because of the stress and no relief.

Original: I would try to get each person something separate. I know the my DIL loves to shop at ULTA and I get a GC of a said amount for just her. I get something for my son as well in the sports or cooking area.

If you had a daughter would you do this to her and her husband?

Do spend some time with your DIL and do a girl's day out. You don't say how long they have been married. Make the best of it before any grands come.

the other S.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I often give couples a joint gift if the thing is something they will both use.

For example, my dad and stepmom share an interest so their gift is a joint thing they will both use and enjoy. There is nothing to be offended about.

If both of them drink coffee, then I'm not sure what would cause offense. Perhaps you have misread the reaction? I try to not assume what people are thinking unless they say it outloud.

If your son drinks coffee but your DIL does not, then it would be disingenuous to put her name on the tag too since it is really a gift for your son alone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

For me, it meant the world that my MIL eagerly included me as an equal member of the family. We've been married 27 years and I clearly recall her pulling me to the side during the first year of our marriage following a family baptism service where the family was asked to stand together and I sat to the side unsure what to do. She told me that I was a member of their family now and should always stand with the family if asked to do so. My family did the same for my husband. Individual gifts showing love and gratitude for each person. We do the same for our parents. No matter the size or value of the gift, it is the show of love that matters!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Actually yes I would be offended. My parents and my in-laws have always given individual gifts. Its up to hubby and I if we want to combined money for something for our home. Its been like that for 30 years.

Honestly, you sound like you don't care for the DIL and I'm sure she knows it. So your son is "beloved" and she just a spoiled brat, right? That is how that comes across. Guess what? Your "beloved' married her and if you don't want to get booted off that island, you might want to change your attitude towards the DIL.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I part of me wants to say if she felt offended, that's her problem. She shouldn't have those kinds of expectations. Rather, she should be touched that you included her. That's how I try to look at everything my in-laws do. They don't owe me anything, but I try to feel touched when they do something thoughtful. I do look at it as I should do things for them, but for my own state of mind, I try (try) not to place that expectations on them.

The other part of me knows that you do want to have a good relationship with her, and you value her and her feelings. If it offends her, you want to do something different, because you want her to know that she is valued.

Can you ask your son? Can you talk to him about it and mention to him how you want her to know that she is valued and loved and is there a way to do that at Christmas?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Without knowing what your DIL did/said to make you feel like she "seemed offended"...

I don't have a DIL yet. My oldest is 23 and has been with the same girl for 7 years, through both of them going to college. Her family lives about 3 hours away. She has since spent every major holiday with us instead of the other way around, for which I am eternally grateful. I am also grateful to know she loves him and has stuck with him all this time.

Both of them graduated last spring. They now live together as an adult couple in Texas. They're coming home for a few days for Christmas, I'm so thrilled. This is the first holiday for them as independent adults.

I've always gotten her something for just herself, this year a Sephora gift card, she's a girly girl. I want her to feel close to me, close to us, as a family.

On the other hand, I've been the DIL myself and don't remember ever being offended by a couple gift, I hope I didn't behave that way.

So back to the reason you think she's offended, I want to hope you're over thinking.

But to me, any person who loves one of my adult kids is worth indulgence.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

As a DIL, it depends for me. I used to get ticked off when my MIL gave us a joint gift card because she made a huge flippin' deal about me not writing her name inside her birthday card one time. It just irked me that she would make a big deal like that and then turn around and put a gift card in a Christmas card for my husband and say, by the way, it was for me, too. Now I would rather she just give us a joint gift card. She has absolutely no idea what I like (despite seeing me all the time). Most of the gifts I have gotten from her and my SIL have been regifted or returned because they are things I would never use (like an electric wine bottle opener and scented candles and scented lotions that I can't use because they cause migraines for me).

My parents always give us a joint gift of money. But my mom always has something for my husband to open and she makes an effort to make sure it is something he would use.

I don't think there is anything wrong with giving a joint gift, but it is nice to get an individual gift. Just make sure that it is something that she will use and appreciate. Will she use a bath set? If I got one, it would go right in the donation box. Who has time for luxuriating baths? I'd have to clean the dang tub first! 😋

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I would not be offended by a joint gift and neither would my husband. We don't expect anything from our parents in the way of gifts, they did enough for us when we were growing up.

We are thankful that our mothers are still with us, both of our fathers have passed away.

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answers from Chicago on

They are individuals, they should get separate gifts.

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answers from Seattle on

psh. My husband's family is in a different country, so we never get anything from them. But, when my parents buy for me and my husband or my brothers and their wives they sometimes buy a combined gift and sometimes individual.
This year I am buying my parents a combined gift. They want to be offended then that's on them.
Geesh. Your DIL sounds a little spoiled. You spent a LOT!

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answers from Phoenix on

Why the heck does your DIL drop off her dirty laundry??!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I think joint gifts are wonderful, but that is me. I do not like extra stuff piling up in the house, so one practical item would sound wonderful...to me. She might be different.

Does your DIL drink coffee made at home?

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answers from Portland on

I would not be.
I actually prefer a combined gift, and quite frankly, prefer money. I think what you gave is great. I'd be happy :) And the coffee maker is a nice gift. I'd be pleased.

I guess everyone is different. My MIL used to buy me things that I never really would use. So my husband actually just said one year when she asked, "You know mom, money would be great". We give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

What made you think she was offended?

ETA: My MIL did not like buying us gifts. It was a real chore. I just want to clarify that. She used to go out and just stress and buy stuff just for the sake of spending. So when my husband suggested money was fine (or gift cards) it was to spare her the bother. She asked us - if that would be ok. She does the same with the kids (just gives us the money now). It works better.

I do love actual gifts (like everyone) - my family and friends give me those. But again, I'm not offended my MIL doesn't and does the combined. It works for her, and we can always put it towards something as a couple. Last year, it was a TV.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think a cash gift should be joint, or the same amount to each. My grandmother used to give checks to her 2 sons and not to the 2 daughters-in-law. She would say to my mother "I love you like you're my own, dear, but the fact remains that you are not." Pretty sucky. I know that's not what you are trying to say, but you don't know what her background is with her own mother's receipt of gifts. So the cash is nice but if it's in 1 card, your DIL may feel that she doesn't get to spend it if your son puts it in his wallet. Some women just don't like to get appliances - it doesn't seem personal maybe? One year my father got my mother a set of pots and pans - and her attitude was, "What? So I can cook for you more efficiently?" It was, in his case, very sexist.

The main thing with gifts is to make sure they are purchased with that person in mind. My brother and SIL used to just buy a whole bunch of stuff (like 6 copies of the same bestseller) and 4 things made by the same charity workshop, and so on, and then sit there are the last minute and start assigning gifts to different people. My mother and I would open gifts and find that we got the same damn thing, over and over, year after year. So what you spend isn't important. If your DIL loves baths, get her a bath set. If your son loves socks, then get those. Make sure the cash is given in the sense of "You guys don't have a lot of money and I want to help" rather than "I couldn't think of anything and didn't have time to go out, so here you go." Sometimes people want to get things they wouldn't get for themselves - and if a coffeemaker either wasn't needed or if they would have bought it anyway, then getting it from you make take some of the "fun" out of opening a gift. If you have taken the time to get to know her and explore her interests and then have made a real effort to pick something out (whether in an actual store or on line if you really hate or have difficulty navigating the stores/crowds), she will appreciate it.

Again, I don't know what your DIL's experience is, how her parents treated the in-laws, and how her parents were treated by theirs. A lot of that goes into it. She may just need to feel that she's a special person in your life and worth your time to find just the right gift. You say in your SWH that "She should appreciate anything they do get, and I always say I just want hugs and kisses in return." So it sounds maybe like you aren't too fond of her, and almost like you are being a little bit of a martyr, saying you aren't into "things" and they are. Maybe that's not what you meant but maybe she's misinterpreting your sentiments the same way I am. And blending traditions from 2 families is a process, and they have only been married a year, so maybe everyone needs to work a little harder on understanding whether the other is coming from.

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answers from Milwaukee on

It's a shame your DIL is too wrapped up in herself to recognize the generosity you are extending. You could just forgo giving gifts to people over the age of 18, & eliminate the problem altogether. Too many people get wrapped up in the "getting" of the holidays, & forget the important things - spending time with family, celebrating according to their faith for the season, & eating tasty food!

Everyone does gift giving differently - my husbands family insists on getting "lists" from everyone in the family (I wish I was joking about this, they want specific items & where to buy them even!) & then proceeds to buy stuff off the list. I'd much prefer that they get to know me, & find things throughout the year they think I would appreciate. In my family, adults draw names, & shop for 1 person. We send out a list of 3-5 general interests, since extended family members may not know each other as well.

But the key in all gift-giving & receiving is to be thankful for what you have to give, & grateful for what you have been given. You don't say why your DIL is upset - is it because of a combined gift? Or because it felt impersonal? Was it $$ related? Talk to your son, & if it is something that you can change (without feeling coerced or guilted for selfish reasons), then do so. Otherwise, let them both know that your time & resources allow you to do what you have done, & that you hope they can appreciate that going forward.

I hope you are able to have a happy holidays with your family, despite this concern ahead of time! T. :)

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answers from Beaumont on

She sounds like a brat BUT in the interest of everyone getting along I'd give separate gifts and be SURE to tell her that she'll need to do her own laundry because you don't have the time. Merry Christmas!!! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Wow, you are generous! I would not be offended at ALL. And yes, I often do joint gifts for couples. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I find it surprising that she rolled her eyes at that very nice gift. What do you think she expects or wants for a gift? Some people get offended easily at everything..it's just in their nature. All you can do is not let it get to you and then laugh about it later I guess.



answers from Harrisburg on

My in laws gave each of their children/spouses a joint gc to dinner. We loved it. I'm the in in-law and never thought twice about it.



answers from Denver on

Any normal person would not be offended by a joint gift but appreciative. I would give up on DIL and definitely not be doing their laundry for them. Stop helping them out so much and maybe your son will realize she is bringing him down if thats the case.



answers from Detroit on

absolutely not. your gesture and generosity are exceptional. our family decided years ago not to do adult gift giving but keep it focused on the kids. Mine is 14 so I can't say what we'll do once he's at the married stage but in your case? If she was offended....that's on her.



answers from Jacksonville on

I am grateful for whatever I receive. I am not offended when we get joint Christmas gifts. But, I don't know why you are surprised, as your DIL sounds like a spoiled, lazy princess.



answers from Fayetteville on

I would not be offended. My mom gives my brother and his wife a restaurant gift card and something small each.



answers from New York on

I would not be offended at all. I am always appreciative of anything I (or we) get as a gift! I guess it really depends on the person. My fiancé and I don't expect single gifts especially now since we are our own little unit. I love joint gifts, especially meaningful ones! Hoping it goes better for you this year.

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