Gifts for You from Adult Children

Updated on November 14, 2013
R.X. asks from Fayetteville, AR
28 answers

I am pseudo Aunt. She asked me to go Christmas shopping with her to seek a gift for her mom..

Dang! She is looking at real designer handbags at about $3oo a pop!

She laughed and said her mom would be upset if she did not.

Would you expect that type of expensive gift from an adult child?

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So What Happened?

Blessed1 and the 12 who agreed thanks.

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answers from Danville on


For me, the 'presence' of my kiddos is my gift...not the 'presents'.

That is the true meaning of the holidays for me.

Just saying...

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I don't expect gifts at all, and would be just as happy with a hand made card as a pricey gift (assuming the cost would not be a hardship for them). For me it is about the thought, did they really think about what I would love or did they just do something easy?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I always make my mom something and I buy her something...this year it is going to be a nice new sweater and a homemade cheese serving board. The sweater is pricey, but she loved it when she saw it. It is $100. We also give her some little things like a pack of really good coffee, homemade jam, etc.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter has given me gifts that came from thrift stores. That happened to be where she found the item and she knew I would like it.
I don't care if she gives me a gift that came from Tiffany, Target, a thrift store, a garage sale, or someone's curbside trash pile. I don't care if it's a new car or a plate of homemade cookies. What I care about is that my daughter saw it and her first thought was, "I'll bet Mama would like this," and took the time to acquire it for me.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I'm not sure what you mean by "playing myself cheap." You don't get to "expect" a gift from anybody. Gifts aren't required. That's what makes them gifts.

I've given my mother gifts worth hundreds of dollars, and I've given her gifts worth $30. It's the thought and consideration that goes into the gift that makes it special, not the dollar amount spent.

Your friend's mama is tacky and rude, in my opinion, for guilting her daughter into purchasing only expensive gifts. And your friend is silly for allowing that guilt to continue.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My sister is the $300 designer handbag kind of giver. My mom really doesn't need or want something like that for her trips to Wal-Mart LOL.

Many years ago, at the suggestion of my sister, the 5 of us went in on a Dooney and Bourke bag for my mother that was over $300. It was the right size and color for my mom, which is all she cared about. Well fast-forward a few years and that bag was worn out, so she suggested a replacement for her Christmas gift. Well my sister picked out a Coach bag that we all paid for and my mom didn't like the size or color, so she went into Coach (wearing her mom jeans, bad haircut and a sweatshirt) to exchange it. She nearly fell over when she found out how much it was, and she was IRATE that we would spend that much on a bag. I was shocked that she thought that we pooled our money and bought her a $50 gift LOL. parents are practical people and make life pretty easy for us. Some years they say "just give us cash, we're saving up for a new [whatever]." Last year a couple of us went in on a Nutri Bullet for my mom, which she uses all the time, we gave our dad some shirts and cash, my other sister and brother bought my dad hubcaps (seriously LOL). This year I'm giving them a digital picture frame and will give them 4 hours of my own "tech support" so that they finally know how to get photos off of their camera and computer and onto the frame or - gasp! - printed.

My in-laws are harder. They are beyond generous to us and our kids and are rather wealthy. They don't "need" anything. I get my MIL a token $50 gift each year like jewelry, a scarf, or something funky for the kitchen. I leave the FIL gift up to my husband and he sometimes fails miserably. We did get him a Keurig a few years ago that has been used regularly. My husband is more likely to get him "experience" gifts like a ride in a Ferrari, or going out to a specific seafood restaurant with the kids and getting the $100 family crab feast platter for lunch.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

My parents are very hard to buy for. They are in a very good position, financially, so if they need or want something they just get it. My brother and sister and I are doing fine, but we don't have a lot of excess.

Before kids we all bought college sweatshirts - EIU Dad, Mizzou Mom, etc. Then we went through a phase of books or nice cookware. Now their presents grandkid related.

We want to get them something, because we appreciate them so much - maybe more now that we all have kids of our own. We just want them to know that we love them and we do not take them for granted.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

There are so many various parent child relationships.

I personally would just love it if my entire family would simply get together during the holidays and enjoy each other playing,eating and laughing...that would be "gift" enough. No I would not expect an expensive gift from my adult the future.(they are 13,11,7)

I don't think you are cheap. I don't know you. But, I also love treasure hunting at Thrift Stores so I understand how fun it is to find things of value...but marked down drastically. It is is a saves you money.

Others do not feel the same way and view it as cheap.

I personally do not value named brand stuff...but I do value quality made items.

I buy my mom a year of Netflix each Christmas. She absolutely LOVES this gift and tells me all year long how much she loves and appreciates it. Alright mom, I get it!! Don't buy you another blanket, scented candle or scarf like tv!

I really put value on the thought that is behind a gift. I know my mom is lonely, is a recluse and loves to sit and watch tv. My buying her Netflix shows her that I "know and understand" her.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

I never expect gifts. I usually get them but they are not expected.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

It completely depends on the family and what is the norm for them. Some people spend lots, some don't. My family does more personal gifts, pictures and momentos and the like.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would be happy with any thoughtful gift, expensive or not. Of course I wouldn't want my kid to buy me something he couldn't really afford, but if he had the money, why not?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I think it all depends on the financial situation of the gift giver. Not sure why a few people are attacking you... I assume this coworker is fairly young and not making that much money and that's why you're surprised. If she's single though, no kids and making good money, then her mom's expectations aren't that out of line. So it really depends. My mom always says not to get her anything... And at this point, we don't exchange many gifts. We all can buy ourselves what we need. But sometimes gifts kind of even out. I'm sure I spent at least that much on my mom many Christmas's bc I could afford it and my parents were giving me at least that much in gifts of stuff I needed so in a way it's circular. Instead of me buying myself things for $300, they bought it for me and I spent that on them... Just makes for fun gift opening. So I'd wonder how much this mom spends on her daughter if she is also reasonably well off financially. Maybe she's buying her daughter $300 worth of gifts too... In general though, my mom never expected much I think and always would say to save my money and spend it on myself. She's more like you and wants a bargain vs fancy stuff. Just how she was raised. So sometimes Christmas was a way to get her something she'd never buy for herself. And btw - I don't spend $300 on a handbag and I can afford it. I agree this mom is likely a bit of a showoff wanting expensive stuff. But we don't know for sure. I don't have adult kids yet but I can't imagine expecting expensive gifts from them but I guess I'd want something that reflected their financial standing. If they're really well off and buying themselves super expensive stuff but then can never do something nice for me, I guess I'd be a bit hurt. It'd be about the sentiment and intent behind the gift...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

You sound like me!! I don't shop for gifts for others at thrift stores, but I'd be thrilled with a gift card or a few bucks earmarked to be spent at my local thrift shop!! I love getting stuff there plus the money goes toward helping others less fortunate. As for a $300 purse? Besides not wanting or expecting that much be spent on me, I would not want my children spending that much on a purse for me because I would feel like I'd have to use it all the time and I'd hate that! I love getting purses from second-hand shops so I can switch around all the time; plus, if I don't like it, I just donate it back.

Whenever anyone wants ideas of what to get me I tell them coffee and chocolate!! I'm at an age now that I don't really need anything so just get me stuff I can actually use (instead of sitting around to collect dust!).

And yes, like you, I have money in the bank, CD's, etc. I'd rather be thrifty now and know I won't need to depend on anyone in my old age.

But to answer your question, NO, you are not playing yourself cheap! You sound like a very level-headed person that doesn't "put on airs" or go crazy with Christmas shopping expenses!!

Good luck!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I wouldn't expect a fancy designer handbag, but I wouldn't judge somebody who did. Okay, if somebody was unemployed and facing bankruptcy and foreclosure and homeless and then some other somebody wanted the first somebody to buy them a fancy designer handbag, THEN I'd judge, but otherwise, none of my business.

It's like, I don't like cheesecake. Can't go near the stuff. But if somebody else loves cheesecake, I don't reexamine myself. I don't reexamine the cheesecake lover. I live with the difference and move on. This is sort of like that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

No, I think you are being a responsible parent. IF you know your child (even an adult child) cannot truly afford that expensive of a gift, then I would feel uncomfortable if such a gift were given. It's one thing if the adult child is well-established, has no credit card debt or mortgage, but if they do.... then that 300 bucks could go to those bills.. In fact, a good parent would insist on it....
You aren't playing yourself cheap.. instead, I think you are wise...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My parent's are more than happy with photo books of the kids from us. None of us in our family (well, adults that is) really want gifts. We are all in the mindset right now of trying to actually get RID of stuff in our houses! I think the mother of the friend is crazy to expect a certain amount to be spent, but that is just how some people are.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My late aunt's mom would look at the back of the card to make sure it was at least a certain price or she wouldn't even open it. I thought that was sad.

You are not playing yourself cheap. I want my sks to give me what they think I will like within their budgets. I give my mom and grandmom what I think they will like within my budget. My grandmom is 88 years old. She is happiest with simple things and wouldn't know what to do with an expensive handbag. My budget is kind of grateful for that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I agree with you. I cringe at the thought of someone spending that kind of money on me. BUT I think that's because receiving gifts is not my language of love plus we've been below poverty level for quite a while now. Since hubby had massive heart attacks and bypass surgery. Plus we're raising grandchildren and I spend all my money on them first, for food, clothing (some are wishes and not needs), and extra curricular things for them to do.

So the thought of someone spending $300 on a purse when I can go buy a purse that fills my needs for $2 at a thrift store...well, I just think it's awful.

Some people do think love is equated with how much someone spends on their gifts. My friend that was raised in a very wealthy Hollywood home with nannies and governesses doesn't think her parents love her if they send her a letter and they don't include money.

Her whole life her parents gave her items when she did well so she equates gift giving with love, the more expensive the more that person loves them.

I understand how she got wired that way. But now that she's an adult and has 4 kids she can't spend that kind of money on herself. So for someone to give her a $300 purse would be a total "I love you so much" kind of thing. The last "big" gift her hubby bought her was a foreign car. He is always giving her smaller, but still expensive, gifts.

I would rather have a gift card to a restaurant for $300 because that means no dishes, no cooking, no cleaning up after eating, etc....that would be a wonderful gift.

So no, I wouldn't like getting that sort of gift. I'd feel obligated to that person to give equal gifts to them.

However....just dreaming here....IF IF IF my daughter was to graduate college and go into the field they are trying to talk her in to she will make tons of money. More per year than I perhaps made in my lifetime. So if she was making that sort of money and could afford expensive gifts then I'd like to put out there that I would love to go on a cruise, not a 3-4 day one but a longer more tropical one that went to maybe 7-8 places in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

My mother makes a fuss over getting gifts. She says people shouldn't spend the money on her, but I've found that dollar amount doesn't really matter at all.

I bought her a pack of the crossword puzzle books that she loves for Mother's day and she scolded me for having done it. For her birthday this year, I baked a loaf of bread for her and a pack of her favorite candy. She fussed about that too.

For Christmas, my siblings and I chip in to stealth gift her in a way she can't refuse by taking care of a necessity. This year, my brother will borrow her car, which he does on occasion, and when he returns it will have four new, nonreturnable tires. She is gonna have a cow. I look forward to it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't want gifts at all. If I desire something, I am quite capable of buying it for myself.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Blessed 1, I have to concur. Spot on, in my opinion! Ronda, I hope you have an awesome weekend and a great Christmas, you deserve it!!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would never expect any sort of gift from any of my adult children, but if they were well off enough to spend that kind of money on me, I'd be thrilled!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

My MIL used to buy us gifts from the thrift store. It was almost like the gag gift at Christmas for us. We would open it and try not to make the face.

She finally stopped doing it. She loves thrift stores and is always thinking of others as she shops...but I would really rather she save her money than purchase something I can't or won't use.

Recently, she called and asked my husbands shoe size because she found a pair of ice skates in perfect condition at the thrift store. My husband roared, "Nooooo!" He said they would probably be from the 60's.

So to answer your question, I don't expect anything from my adult daughter. Sometimes I get a big gift and sometimes it is a card for a bottle of my favorite wine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think if you give someone a gift, you know them enough to know what they would "like". She knows her mom likes expensive things. Your kids probably know you are not like that so you would not "expect" it. I am a major bargain shopper as well, but I do like nice things too...I just buy them when they are marked down on clearance. lol I would expect a "thoughtful" gift from my adult children and would hope they didn't think it a financial burden to buy me something or if it was, I would hope they would know enough not to do that. We are all pretty easy going as a family and my kids are still younger. I don't think you are playing yourself cheap but I hope if your son could afford an expensive gift for you, you would like it and appreciate it. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Because my siblings and I do not have that kind of money my mother would be upset. When I am older I would imagine I would feel the same way. Last year I got my mom a quilting book that was $20 but on sale for $9. IT WAS ALL SHE WANTED. I added a 10 pack of beautiful thread that was about $8. The year before I got her a mirror from Ikea that I think was $22. She was dying for a mirror for her entry way and it was perfect. I would never EXPECT a gift from anyone for myself (except maybe my husband but that is different). A friend of mine we never formally exchange gifts but it seems as if we take turns each year. She got me something last year I got her something the year before. It doesnt bother us it just seems to work out that way. We'd rather hang out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would be upset if my children thought they needed to buy me a $300 handbag too!
I think it's sad that this young lady has a mom that would get upset if she didn't buy the handbag. Is her mama basing love on the amount of money spent?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm with you. BUT- when my boys are established in their careers and doing well, they're welcome to spend more!
i'd never be upset if they didn't, however.



answers from Miami on

Your son is too young to spend a lot of money on you. Kids shouldn't go into debt to buy for their parents. At some point, when he has a successful job and can afford better, it will be more appropriate for him to do better than thrift shop giving. The reason isn't for you. It's for HIM. It will make him feel better about himself to give you something that has more "worth" than a trip to a thrift shop.

My parents-in-law do fine financially. So do all of their children. We either go together to give a nice gift, or we give gifts separately. Sometimes, according to need and schedule, we do "manual labor" for my father-in-law because that means a lot to him, even though someone could be hired for it. Usually THAT means him standing there supervising my husband, as if my husband is a teenage boy again. It probably makes my FIL feel young again, for a small amount of time. He puts a lot of value in his heart for that kind of gift. We don't live anywhere near them, so taking the time out on our vacation at home for this is a real gift. Other than that, we try to give something that is needed or makes life on him easier, including what might help with my MIL with end-stage Alzheimers.

The point is that right now you let your son do for you what he is comfortable with. As he gets older and more successful, don't tell him to not get you something nice. For HIM, not for you.

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