We're a protective species. When it comes to our kids, we want fair play in all things, even when it's only a matter of gifts from family members. Or maybe I should say, especially when it's gifts from family members and even more especially when those relatives happen to be rich. We may not want them to give our kids hefty high school or college graduation checks for fear of our kids feeling "entitled." Or we may appreciate their being generous but we want them to be even-handed--making as big a fuss over one child as the next. (I posted on this issue here.)
Beyond fairness, we may have high expectations that a wealthy uncle or sister will shower our child with a lavish wedding gift when that child marries, a gift that might help set them up in life.
That was the issue raised in Social Qs. The complaint a mother of the bride sent to Philip Galanes was straightforward:
My daughter got married last month...My sister and her husband came with their two children. They are extremely wealthy — like, flying-on-private-jets-to-expensive-vacation-homes wealthy! (We are not.) I assumed they would give my daughter a generous cash gift to be used as an eventual down payment on a home. Instead, they gave her five place settings from her gift registry that cost $500. I am hurt and angry about their lack of generosity. My mother thinks I should talk to my sister about this so it doesn’t affect our relationship. Your thoughts?
It will come as no surprise to anyone who follows Social Qs that Galanes sees the situation through a different prism. He reminds the mother of the bride that she is not entitled to "commandeer other people's money."
Galanes then adds a sound observation and solid piece of advice:
"Where I come from, $500 is not a chintzy wedding gift. And you didn’t say anything about your daughter’s relationship with her aunt and uncle. So I disagree with your mother for now: Don’t talk to your sister about her gift until you have made peace with the fact that it was hers to give."
photo credit: Maia Lemov