My Mother-in-Law Gives Horrible Gifts

dear_snarky_logoDear Snarky,

I don’t mean to be ungracious but every year my mother-in-law gets me the worst gifts. It’s like she goes out of her way to hurt my feelings. From a Cooking for Dummies book (p.s. I went to culinary school) to clothes that are at least two sizes too big. Every present is a slap in the face. Any advice how to get her to stop or how I should react on Christmas morning when I open an insult disguised as a gift.

Signed, Dreading Christmas morning

Dear Dreading,

Right off the bat, many people would tell you that your husband should put his big boy pants on and tell his mother to stop with the hateful gifts or that you need to have it out with your MIL. To that I say wrong and wrong. First, men just plain ole stink at telling their mothers off (I have first hand knowledge of this) and second no good ever comes from a holiday screaming match with a relative. The key here is to not let your mother-in-law get the upper hand and by that I mean you don’t want to give her and her mean-spirited gifts any kind of attention whatsoever. File this away – if she gets attention she wins. You also don’t want to give her the pleasure of seeing that she’s hurt your feelings. This means when you open these so-called presents you must smile like you’re trying to win Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant and  sell it, really sell it that you LOVE the gift. For example, if she gives you fat clothes again just say, “Wow, this is great. I love the fabric and the color will look sooo good on me! It’s perfect. Thank you.”  This reaction is a twofer.  One, you squash your mother in law’s hope that she’s hurt your feelings and two everyone else thinks you are the most gracious person on the face of the earth. You know what that makes you? A much better person and there’s a gift that keeps on giving.
*If you need advice from Dear Snarky email her at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Dear Snarky, Family, Horrible Christmas Gifts, Mother-In-Laws and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to My Mother-in-Law Gives Horrible Gifts

  1. Tammy says:

    Yep. Perfect advice.

  2. DOCollins says:

    and then gift the “gift” to get it out of your house

  3. Disturbed says:

    I know how she feels! I’ve received used gifts in the past. A potato slicer w/peels still on it, rusted sewing needles in a taped package, stuffed animals. One of the best ones…I got a phone call about how she got a FREE with purchase Snowman platter from buying perfume. Guess what I got for Christmas? I’d rather get NOTHING!

    • For years I’ve gotten the free “Gift With Purchase” rejects from a family member who shall remain nameless.

    • been there says:

      Omg yes. My own mother was always a little crazy and a lot hateful so we used to get lots of weird insulting gifts… now she’s become a drug addict and we get gifts like that. Half-filled ketchup bottles, burnt down candles, the sunglasses you left at her house last week… Merry Christmas! They have become less mean and more sad.

  4. Gee, Snarky you are much nicer then I would be. I’d pretend to be excited because “I needed clothes for the Church homeless collection next week and wasn’t sure when I’d be able to go and buy something. This will be perfect to donate.” Its appreciative, but clearly points out that you won’t be wearing it.

  5. Linda says:

    I like the smile and give it to a charity and remember, she is wasting her money! Merry Christmas!

  6. Bea says:

    Any way to catalogue punch-line presents, and share with the world? I’m thinking something along the lines of cakewrecks or regretsy. You could start a hilarious website and write it all up in a book!

  7. KT says:

    I think we all want to have that “Bam! Bitch goes down!” moment when dealing with mean-spirited people, but this is so much better. Because people will see that this MIL is a witch regardless, but it is up to this woman whether or not she wants to seem petty. She can always keep gift for a time and then give it away later. Fat clothes, tell her she lost some weight and donated to Good Will. Cooking for Dummies, tell her you lent it to a friend after you mastered the chapters. With a cooking school education, it shouldn’t take that long.

  8. Kim Lancaster Furnell says:

    Ever so grateful for a mother in law who has stuck with cold, hard cash for gifts. Everyone gets the same thing, she doesn’t go shopping, it’s the ultimate win-win. :D

  9. S L JOERGENSEN says:

    That is a hoot. Or just don’t speak to them for 8.5+yrs….because you MIL asks you what you did to give your child Cerebral Palsy. My husband is so normal….guess he got all the good genes. She just hates me because he proposed 10 days after we met…3 kids and 21 years later….LOL.

    I will get you my thoughts on Chapter 4 tomorrow. Had my boobies done and am just resting. Was a piece of cake. My hysterectomy hurt more than this.

  10. Janel Sharp says:

    Why not have a fun “white elephant” exchange with your friends each year? You can wrap your awful MIL’s presents and watch the fun!! This way you WILL be thrilled with each gift she gives you and the extra twinkle in your eye will shine as you think of all the fun you and your friends will have swapping funny stories and exchanging unwanted stuff!!

  11. Donna Myers says:

    I wish I had a MIL to give me any kind of gift. Mine passed away right after my husband and I got married. Second marriage so I never really got to know her and she never had the chance to give me any kind of gift except for the one of her wonderful son. We were both in our 50′s when we remarried after having 20+ year marriages to other people.

  12. Moya says:

    My MIL gave me a teddy bear calendar and a fleece dolphin blanket one year. And no I was married at 8 I was 28……….

  13. Mary says:

    Thank you, thank you! Second year in a row my sister-in-law has given me an article of clothing two sizes too big. Does she really think I am that fat? I thought of sending her my correct size, but love this advice to stay on the side of gracious, write the insincere thank you note and send the clothing on to Salvation Army.

  14. Deb says:

    My favorite MIL Chrostmas gift was the year she gave us two used CD’s of native American music and told us to pick the one we liked because she was giving the other to a neighbor. My favorite MIL wedding presents were a used sewing machine (and I don’t sew) along with a big box of potato chips.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s