View Full Version : mixed feelings about gifts

05-02-2003, 02:44 PM
DH told me his parents said they would buy us a camcorder as a gift (we pick out and buy, they give us money). I decided to ask my dad, who's very into electronics and computers, what would be the best and most economical camcorder/digital still camera combo, because personally I don't really care about a camcorder but would very much like a digital camera to be able to email pictures to family and friends. Well, my dad recommends one that costs nearly $1100, a little more than in-laws were planning on spending (up to about $400). Well, my dad says that I probably won't find a decent camcorder/digital still camera combo for less than $600-700. He recommends that we ask in-laws to instead buy us a nice digital camera and he will give us his several-years-old (but still on the market for about $500)analog camcorder to use as long as we want. The issue is that in-laws want to receive videos of our baby. In addition, they want to buy us a video phone thing to use with the computer, so we can see each other on phone calls. Personally, I don't like these things; the picture is usually pretty bad and not real-time and I just don't realistically see myself wanting to sign on to use it a lot. So I guess my gripe is that these gifts, while generous, don't take into account what the recipients (me and DH) really want or need. I'm not into making a lot of videos and I don't like the video phone. Is it poor manners to ask for a digital still camera instead if we promise to use my dad's camcorder to make tapes once in while for them? And is there any way to decline the video phone offer without seeming ungrateful? I just don't want to get it and then have them complain that we never use it.

In general, did anyone else find people peppering them with gifts that seemed to have a lot to do with what the giver wanted and not much to do with what the recipients wanted or needed? I have people telling me how someone should get me a diaper genie, even though I plan on cloth diapering, and a Baby Bjorn, even though I have said I don't find it comfortable and would prefer a sling.

Sorry so long-winded, just wanted to vent. Thanks!

EDD 8-10-03

05-02-2003, 03:37 PM
I think it would all depend on how you phrased it to them. If they want to spend $400, then they aren't really going to get a good digital camcorder/still camera (IMHO). I don't think you'd be out of line AT ALL to say you'd prefer a good digital camera. Show them sites like Shutterfly, where you can constantly upload (no limit) how many pics are there. We bought a digital camcorder right before Ainsleigh was born, and are only NOW figuring out how to make footage to send to people. DH's parents live overseas, so that was a real plus. But we have showered them with pictures (we have over 300 on the site).

It is a fine line, because you don't want to seem ungrateful, yet don't want to be given something that is ultimately NOT what you want to use. As far as the video phone goes, I don't know what to say. I don't know anyone who has one. If there's a monthly fee or something, then that puts a financial burden on you. If they're willing to foot the whole bill, than it may save an argument to haul the thing out when they do call. I don't know. In any event, since they are your husband's parents, I'd vote that HE have to have any of these conversations.

HTH - we're here for ANY venting! :)

05-02-2003, 04:08 PM
I guess it's hard to give too much advice here since I don't know the personalities of your in-laws. That can have everything to do with how to approach this! My mother-in-law is super laid back, and she'd be down for whatever, but my father-in-law is uptight and easily offended...

Yes, we have received gifts over the years that suit the giver better than us. The best example is a wedding gift we received. It was a $250 gift certificate to a local upscale butcher shop and a top of the line BBQ grill. The butcher store has exotic meats, etc. My husband's grandfather just happens to own the shop. He also happens to know we are both vegetarian!!!! Imagine that! He thinks vegetarianism is some sort of a satanic cult. Anywho...

Good luck. Hopefully it will all work out without any hard feelings for anyone.

05-02-2003, 04:33 PM
OMG, that's about the most inappropriate gift I have ever heard of. That's more than inappropriate, that's offensive! We got a set of beautiful cherry wood hand-carved handle steak knives for our wedding and while I'm not a strict vegetarian, I don't eat a lot of meat. I thought "Well, they're pretty, but probably overkill for a piece of broiled salmon."

05-03-2003, 01:25 AM
Yes, we had a similar expereince.

We received a lovely pewter "our daily bread" bread platter for the wedding, with a nice bible engraving. Problem is, my husband is Jewish.

Paula, Mama to Dante 8/1/02

05-03-2003, 06:52 AM
This is a hard call, it does depend so much on the personalities of your in laws as well as the history between you all in this area. I was with my sister recently when she purchased a dig video camera and there were two that she debated on that were only $599. One was a Panasonic, one a Sony and both took digital stills as well. She ended up going with the Panasonic because it was a bit more narrow - it actually fits in a purse!
These same cameras were still in the $800 -$900 range when we looked a few months ago. BTW, we were at Circuit City.

Good luck!


05-03-2003, 08:49 AM
FWIW, most digital camera also take mpegs....basically, short movies with sound. We have 2 Sony digital cameras (one small for the purse and the other larger w/ higher megapixel). The larger one can take long movie clips (as large as the memory stick will allow).

I would recommend going this route...you'll have the digital camera YOU want and your in laws can still get movie clips.


mom to William 3.5.2003

05-03-2003, 07:54 PM
You could get the in-laws to buy you a digital camera and then you could probably get a webcam for less than $100. They're not great quality, but they're not much worse than sending other live video over the internet. My MIL was really big on setting this up because she wanted our kids to 'know' her. Ummm, you live in Florida, we live in California, they are not going to 'know' you the way you want.

Anyhow, after she and my husband spent 2 full weekends trying to set this thing up and failing she basically gave up (and my husband is a technogeek). Perhaps this is all you need to convince them! :-)

If they don't want the video over the internet then the analog camera is fine. Just take some video and copy it to a regular VHS tape. I do this every year for all our relatives.

05-06-2003, 10:39 PM
yes, aren't gifts that are about controlling the recipient delightful? in the years we've been married, we didn't hear boo from DH's bio-dad. when there was a real crisis with huge huge medical bills, MIL (without our knowing) sought some help from him, and he wrote the bitchiest, most callous letter in response i've ever heard. MIL was nice enough to read it to me. so i figure, whatever, i never need to know this person. (sidenote: he has $$$$. when the time came a few years ago to do his will, apparently, via BIL, he wanted DH involved, but DH said he wasn't going to suddenly get all familiar again, it felt too cheesy.)

so, suddenly we get a big parcel from his common law wife (not him) with a digital camera and a card "we hope you will let us be part of your life." Sha!

many of you are saints. i am grateful for generosity and thoughfulness, but i do not relish being assigned photo archivist for people peripheral to our lives. MIL will have to make do with random photo packets. my hats off to you with the scrapbooks... if I make a nice one for us and the babe to have, i consider that an accomplishment!

05-07-2003, 10:04 AM
My DH has an expession for these types of gifts, "TO-FROM-FOR"

That is to you, from me, for me!!

I also think that you are all saints. I have removed myself from almost all involvement with my in laws. Sad yes, but it is best for my marriage. I don't send snapshots anymore, but I always get doubles so DH can feel free to send them, and I always make sure they get a Studio shot when I get them done. ( I usually send the 8x10 because nobody else wants them so big hahaha) But I choose when, and how the picture is done. I will not allow them to manipulate me ever again.