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Man takes back MIL's Christmas gift after she claims granddaughter is 'spoiled.' AITA?

Man takes back MIL's Christmas gift after she claims granddaughter is 'spoiled.' AITA?


Giving loved ones gifts during the holiday can be such a wholesome, bonding time.

But it can also be a train wreck when tense emotional dynamics come into play. This tension multiplies when money rears its ugly head into the picture.

This perfect storm of holiday tension and money came into play in a popular post on the AITA subreddit, where a man asked if he was wrong for withholding a gift from his mother-in-law.

He wrote:

AITA for taking away the gift I bought my MIL?​​​​​​

This year I got a new job that has been paying me very well. So for this Christmas I decided to splurge on everyone. In particular, I spent a lot of my money on my nine-year-old daughter and she deserves it 100%.

She has been pushing herself in school, helping around in the house without being asked, and always being the kindest soul you'll ever meet.

However, when my mother-in-law came early in the morning and saw how the gifts under our tree were much more than usual she asked why. I told her I bought everyone a bunch of gifts, including her.

She then preceded to ask how many gifts I got my daughter and I told her about 3 big gifts and 3 mini ones.

Apparently, this outraged her because she started saying that a nine-year-old did not deserve that many gifts and she would be taking away the gift she bought my daughter so that my daughter wouldn't be too spoiled.

I told her that was unfair especially since my mother-in-law promised my daughter a doll for Christmas and my daughter was looking forward to it. My mother-in-law said let it be a lesson to my daughter that in life she can't get all things she asks for.

Look I understand that, but it's not like I shower my daughter with gifts every day. And if anything Christmas is the day you are supposed to spoil your children.

But my wife told me to let it go and it was her mother's gift and therefore she could do anything she wanted with it and her mother agreed saying it was her right. And if we were going to play with that ideology then so be it.

I decided to remove the $600 designer bag I got my MIL, the thing I knew she wanted the most, and kept a $40 robe instead.

Once my MIL opened her present she was disappointed asking if that was all from me, because everyone got more expensive gifts from me. I said yes, and apologized if I disappointed her but we can't always get the gifts we hoped for.

After this happened, there was tension all day and once everyone left my wife was furious that I bought everyone things way more expensive than her mother.

I explained that I did buy her mom a $600 designer bag but decided against it once she took away the gift she bought my daughter. My wife started saying I was very petty and that her mother and my daughter didn't relate.

Especially since my daughter got so many gifts from me that she didn't even care that my mil didn't buy her a doll (of course my daughter wouldn't show she was upset). While my mother-in-law only received some cheap robe.

Throughout the day she has been making me feel guilty and now I feel as if I should give my MIL the bag tomorrow but my sister is convincing me to stay true to my decision and return the bag.

People had a lot of strong thoughts about the situation.

GreekAmericanDom wrote:

NTA. You need to sit your wife down and have a serious talk. Your MIL punished your daughter as a proxy for imposing her values on you. Your daughter is innocent in all of this.

Make it clear to your wife, that you are not going to let anyone use your daughter as a pawn, regardless of whether she realized it or not. Your MIL was willfully cruel to a child. You will not be keeping the peace.

You will be setting boundaries. And if your wife has issues with that, then you two have a serious issue.

webfloss wrote:

It’s concerning that your wife seems uninterested in your daughter's feelings…

FreightTrainBaby wrote:

Return the bag and put the $600 in your daughter’s college fund. NTA.

mrslII wrote:

NTA. Your MIL is, though. She wanted to 'teach your daughter a lesson' by not giving her a gift that she had been looking forward to because 'you don't get everything you ask for.'

She doesn't want your daughter ito be 'spoiled'. She was upset because others received 'better' gifts than she did? Grandmother learned that words have meanings and actions have consequences.

Grandmother could have been spoiled. Grandmother could have received a lovely gift, that she had been looking forward to, but you don't get everything that you ask for. Isn't that correct, Grandmother? She is angry because it is a bitter pill that she swallowed.

swillshop wrote:


Top comment is right that your biggest problem is your wife.

Wife's mother is incredibly nosy. She then imposes a punishment on you and your wife's daughter for no other reason than SHE decided you daughter shouldn't get that much for Christmas...AND YOUR WIFE HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THAT.

Wife is MORE CONCERNED ABOUT HER MOTHER NOT GETTING ONE MORE GIFT than she is about her own daughter not getting one more gift.

Do not give that woman the purse, but I don't think it would hurt for her to know that you had thought to give her a $600 purse. But, after her listening to her views on not spoiling others with too many gifts, you felt you needed to honor her views in what you gave her.

Clearly, OP and his wife need to have a serious conversation about her priorities both in the marriage, and as a mom.

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