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jimdahl

Gift giving tips for divorced parents

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One gift giving dilemma that frequently comes up for parents I coach is…where should gifts should live?  I believe if a gift is truly a gift, then kids should be able to decide what they want to do with it.

This is so important, and so hard. My ex and I agreed early on that the kids stuff is theirs, and they can move it back and forth as they see fit. It's so hard to get them something special and then watch it go to the other house, but so much better for the kids.

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I've tried to coordinate, but been ignored! I've reached out multiple times per week since Thanksgiving to ask how we're going to handle it. We've communicated frequently on other topics, but those messages (or that part of larger messages) just gets ignored. I brought it up in person and she promised to email me (but of course did not). I know the kids made wish lists at her house, because they told me they did, but my asking about that was also ignored.

I'm not saying we have to go in on gifts together (though I think that would be nice), but I think it would be nice if we could make a conscious joint decision on what we're doing. That could be going in together, coordinating to spend similar amounts/not duplicate, sharing ideas, or just completely doing our own things.

I really don't understand why someone wouldn't respond for weeks. My best guess is that she's planning something she doesn't want me to know about. But, if so, I'll clearly find out eventually, so stalling just makes things worse (though I guess prevents me from being able to respond in advance, if that's her thinking). But even if that's the case, she should just reply that we're doing our own thing and she doesn't want to coordinate because she doesn't want me knowing what she got 🤷‍♂️

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1 minute ago, case said:

I've tried to coordinate, but been ignored! I've reached out multiple times per week since Thanksgiving to ask how we're going to handle it. We've communicated frequently on other topics, but those messages (or that part of larger messages) just gets ignored. I brought it up in person and she promised to email me (but of course did not). I know the kids made wish lists at her house, because they told me they did, but my asking about that was also ignored.

I'm not saying we have to go in on gifts together (though I think that would be nice), but I think it would be nice if we could make a conscious joint decision on what we're doing. That could be going in together, coordinating to spend similar amounts/not duplicate, sharing ideas, or just completely doing our own things.

I really don't understand why someone wouldn't respond for weeks. My best guess is that she's planning something she doesn't want me to know about. But, if so, I'll clearly find out eventually, so stalling just makes things worse (though I guess prevents me from being able to respond in advance, if that's her thinking). But even if that's the case, she should just reply that we're doing our own thing and she doesn't want to coordinate because she doesn't want me knowing what she got 🤷‍♂️

I was also intentionally waiting to do anything on the assumption that she'd be reasonably and respond at some point. Finally, two weeks before Christmas, I decided I couldn't wait anymore and started to do things on my own. So glad I did, now that we're one week from Christmas and she still won't respond!

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I posted this article in the general holiday thread, but this section is very relevant to the gift giving discussion.

The best gift you can give your children this holiday season: You

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It’s extremely important to set and agree upon a gift-giving budget at the holidays, especially if there is financial disparity between coParents. First, it’s a sure-fire way to stoke the flames of conflict between coParents. But more importantly, it sends a negative message to the kids, one that equates money with love. Which is certainly not a good lesson. 

I wonder how many people actually pull that off? That takes a serious amount of coordination and cooperation.

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On 12/17/2018 at 11:41 AM, case said:

I've tried to coordinate, but been ignored! I've reached out multiple times per week since Thanksgiving to ask how we're going to handle it. We've communicated frequently on other topics, but those messages (or that part of larger messages) just gets ignored. I brought it up in person and she promised to email me (but of course did not). I know the kids made wish lists at her house, because they told me they did, but my asking about that was also ignored.

I'm not saying we have to go in on gifts together (though I think that would be nice), but I think it would be nice if we could make a conscious joint decision on what we're doing. That could be going in together, coordinating to spend similar amounts/not duplicate, sharing ideas, or just completely doing our own things.

I really don't understand why someone wouldn't respond for weeks. My best guess is that she's planning something she doesn't want me to know about. But, if so, I'll clearly find out eventually, so stalling just makes things worse (though I guess prevents me from being able to respond in advance, if that's her thinking). But even if that's the case, she should just reply that we're doing our own thing and she doesn't want to coordinate because she doesn't want me knowing what she got 🤷‍♂️

 

On 12/17/2018 at 11:43 AM, case said:

I was also intentionally waiting to do anything on the assumption that she'd be reasonably and respond at some point. Finally, two weeks before Christmas, I decided I couldn't wait anymore and started to do things on my own. So glad I did, now that we're one week from Christmas and she still won't respond!

 

Well, after Christmas gift giving (planned completely separately, though she did put both our names on a couple of the big things that we had talked about that she ended up buying), I asked her why we after trying so hard we had failed to make a plan. She answered that she was mad at me because she thought I had snooped and found out what gifts she was buying, so she didn't see any point to sharing or coordinating with me. 🤯 Ok, but then just answer my question and say, "No thanks, I'm not interested in coordinating because I'm mad at you," instead of pretending you're going to.

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