Gifts go unappreciated

Dear Annie: Each year, I send my sister’s three adult children gifts. The youngest does not thank me unless prompted. My two questions are: Isn’t this rude? And should I cease sending her a gift? Since we live in different states, I usually text all three sisters to let them know something is on the way.

For the last few years, I have not gotten a response from the youngest unless I basically poke and prod, asking if it was received. Year after year, I tell myself I won’t get her anything the following year because she simply comes off as unappreciative. I really don’t think I should be asking repeatedly if my gifts for her arrived.

In 2022, she got married. She had a small civil ceremony, so extended family wasn’t included; however, we were informed there would be a larger ceremony once she’s done with school — maybe in 2023 or 2024. That being said, I didn’t send a wedding gift but figured instead I would commemorate their joyous occasion by sending a personalized gift for their first Christmas as a married couple.

I ordered something simple but had it personalized with their names and wedding date. The gift was shipped. I informed my niece it would be on the way but heard nothing back. The gift was delivered — no word. I texted and said the gift should be delivered and, without spoiling the contents of this gift, asked that they just let me know it go there, thinking they’d open it on Christmas. No word for a full 24 hours.

During this time, my sister let me know a gift was arriving for my 12-year-old daughter and to let her know when it arrives. This was my opportunity to state that I had texted her daughter but had not received a response about the gift I sent. Fifteen minutes later, my niece texts “thank you” and nothing else. To which my reply was, “I don’t want to spoil the contents but I hope it’s pretty.” Keep in mind, I didn’t see this gift in person and have no idea if it’s even spelled right. So it’d be great to hear how it is. And her reply was, “We opened it last night, and it’s beautiful.”

So I texted asking if you received this gift — you did, you even opened it — but you neglected to call and thank me?

Annie, I am deeply hurt. It wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t laid in gold or something out of the ordinary, but it was personalized, and it was sent to her. Should I officially stop sending her gifts now? — Tired of Asking

Dear Tired of Asking: No, you should not stop sending her gifts. It is understandable that you are hurt, but you are setting a lot of expectations of exactly how you would like the gift to be received. Ask yourself why you gave her the gift. Was it to make her and her new husband very happy, or was it to get a huge thank you and be acknowledged for all your hard work?

Imagine how much simpler it would be if you just accepted your niece for who she is and accepted the text as enough of a thank you and an acknowledgment. Your niece is not your child. You can remind your daughter to send a handwritten thank-you note, which I personally think is always a good idea. But your niece’s way of saying thank you in a text is her way of doing it, and you would be a lot happier if you just accepted her way.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today