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Woman gets nephew cheaper gift because his family is 'poor' and can't reciprocate.

Woman gets nephew cheaper gift because his family is 'poor' and can't reciprocate.


Figuring out who to buy gifts for during the holidays can quickly shift from a fun and festive activity into a dread-filled chore.

The questions of budget, what people want, who even likes gift exchanges, and who you'll be seeing during the frosty months can feel impossible to answer. These stressors can completely overshadow the often touted 'spirit of giving' until all parties involved forgot why they were buying gifts in the first place.

Factors like family culture, class, and religion can also play a big role in how you approach gifting.

In a popular AITA post, a woman asked if she was wrong for buying a cheaper gift for her nephew because his parents are poor.

She wrote:

AITA for not gifting my nephew as nice a gift as his cousins because his parents are poor?

Every Christmas my husband (C) and I get gifts for all the kids in the family. C is a stay at home dad with no income. We are financially comfortable, not rich, because I am a college graduate.

C and his family are minority immigrants who mostly work labor jobs. This year while holiday shopping there were six kids total we needed to buy for. The gift we bought for D (19) was above $100.

We spend the most on him because we got custody of him at 15 and raised him. D will also buy gifts for C, our child, and I, around $40 each. There is a sibling group of kids J (10), A (6), M (2) who I bought gifts for. The gifts are all around $30-$35 each. Their parents are both hardworking and always buy our daughter gifts for Christmas.

There is an only child U (6) who we spent $45 on because his parents buy us gifts as well and we will be buying his parents around $50 each. This brings us to L (12). L and his family immigrated here to the U.S. a few months ago.

L does not have an easy life as he doesn’t speak English and shares one bedroom with both his parents. L’s mom does not work so his dad works overtime but they are hardly making it. While shopping I picked out a really cheap, $15 Lego set for L.

I did not want to get him nothing because that seems cruel. I know his parents do not have money to give gifts back so I didn’t plan to spend more. My husband wanted to add another few gifts to L’s gift so that we’re spending around the same amount on each kid. I told him I would rather not because L’s parents can’t reciprocate it.

My husband tells me we can afford more and L has already had a “tough year.” He says the extra $30 for a better gift would just be wasted on fast food. He says L would see his cousins gifts and know that they’re better gifts. I told my husband that L’s mom should get a job and give him a nice Christmas then like J, A, and M’s family.

I also reminded him how I will be paying for and cooking food for the Christmas party everyone will be attending and L and his family probably won’t bring anything because they can not afford to.

C looked hurt, as if I was insinuating L did not deserve a nice Christmas because his parents are poor. Every kid deserves a nice Christmas. I just do not think it’s necessary to spend as much as the people who will actually be giving us gifts.

C tells me I don’t know what it’s like to be a poor immigrant and have people treat you the way I’m treating L. C was not angry but looked hurt. I know C was brought to the U.S. as a child too and had a had a similar life to L.

For the sake of peace I bought the extra gifts for L, so total around $35 for him. C still won’t talk to me and I can’t understand why. I spent the extra money, and obviously don’t expect anything else in return. AITA?

Unsurprisingly, her post inspired a firestorm of responses.

Kris82868 wrote:

YTA. If anything his parents not having much would be a reason that I spend more on the child.

Scary_Contract_3603 wrote:

Just one question, what is the matter with you?!?It doesn’t matter that you spent the extra money now, you still don’t understand why you are the bad guy in the first place. You deserve your husband not talking to you. You're the biggest AH.

dbee8q wrote:

What on earth is wrong with you? You don't give to receive. The fact you add everything you get up and work out gifts based on that shows how superficial you are and how you have zero clue about the meaning of Christmas.

If there is one child in a worse position than others then that's the child you should be spending more on. Shame on you. YTA.

Potential_Shelter624 wrote:

YTA. FYI your nephew's mother probably cannot legally work yet due to her immigration status. Treating someone lesser because they're poor is textbook evil.

erimeraz wrote:

Holy sh*t, what the f**k is wrong with you? Christmas is not about how much other people can give you and you're punishing a child for the perceived flaws of his parents? Where is your heart? Huge YTA.

Global_Rich2165 wrote:

YTA. What the hell did I just read?! You actually spend on children based on what you expect to receive from their parents?? That’s messed up.

Any child outside your home should be given an equal budget. Set a budget for all the kids and divide it equally. Ranking children like this is horrifying. You should be ashamed of yourself.

urhwtf wrote:

YTA. Your husband is right. Giving a child a smaller present because his parents can't buy you equally priced gifts in return is a petty and sh***y thing to do, especially to the child. That's just awful.

ser897642 wrote:

Jesus Christ. Were you able to find a bow big enough for the heaping box of Classism you tried to gift this kid for Xmas? 🤢

I want to be really clear here, OP...when I say “YTA” I do not mean in this situation. I mean YOU’RE IT, bud! THEE a**hole of all a**holes. And just in time for Christmas, congrats.

Max_at_Red wrote:

YTA and I am sensing some resentment towards your husband that just keeps spilling on the innocents.

lzyslut wrote:

YTA. You’re doubling down on principle without purpose. I don’t necessarily believe in having to spend the same amount as young kids often don’t know the financial value of things.

But if the gifts are obviously disproportionate the only thing you’re going to accomplish is singling out or disappointing the kid.

If you can afford it then you’re being stingy for no reason and honestly, the fact that you keep bringing up the immigrant thing kinda signals that your issue isn’t actually financial at all.

kingdomscum wrote:

You are only giving to receive. You don’t give a damn that this poor kid isn’t going to have a nice Christmas because of his situation because his family won’t be able to reciprocate for YOU. YTA.

And the embodiment of greed. This would be grounds for divorce for me. You’re lucky your husband is simply angry.

After getting thoroughly called out, OP jumped back on to update the post and clarify her stance:


Firstly, I do agree that maybe I was TA and that you all are right and Christmas time is about giving not receiving. Also, since L’s parents have arrived to the U.S. I have been financially helping them (the whole family is).

I’ve given them money for groceries and other miscellaneous things. They are undocumented so they don’t qualify for any assistance. I have also taken L out to eat and brought takeout to their house and had lunch with them a few times.

L is 12-13, not 10. Every year before L and his family arrived we (JAM and U parents) have discussed how much we will spend on each other. The gift exchange is for those wanting to participate. We usually set around a $50 limit per person.

So I was staying within that limit like I do every year and just wasn’t sure what to do about L and his family. I do not think they will be gift-exchanging with the 3 other families ( Mine, U, and JAM’s) since they can not afford to.

I will talk to the other families to see what the plan is for L and his family. I was buying the $15 gift so he doesn’t feel left out. Since it’s a family “gift exchange” I’m not sure how much they’ll spend on L since his parents won’t be exchanging.

The other families will probably buy L a gift though because family is important to their culture. Also, as pointed out maybe, yes, I am frustrated that L’s mother does not work. L is old enough to stay home for a few hours if both parents were at work.

My husband does not work and U’s mother doesn’t work because my job pays well and U’s father owns a business. I feel frustrated for L that he lives the way he lives but yet only one parent is working.

Yes, L’s parents are undocumented, as was asked, but we live in a metropolis where she wouldn’t have a problem getting a job.

If L’s mother was to work then we could include her family in the gift exchange and this fight wouldn’t have happened to begin with.

Yes, it sounds elitist to “just work” but life isn’t easy and plenty of Americans wake up and go to work even when they don’t feel like it every day.

It seems that in many ways, OP doubled down in her update. Hopefully, her husband feels comfortable expressing his full feelings about the situation, and what it means for the relationship down the road.

Sources: Reddit
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