Thursday, August 17, 2017

What Happens When Your Kids Aren't On The Gift-Giving List?

I got a very interesting message the other day from a Dog Mom I've corresponded with over the years. I replied back shortly after reading the message. We went back and forth for about an hour. At first, she seemed a little embarrassed to be addressing the issue at hand, but when she found out that we were sort of in the same boat, she relaxed. It was the first time I've ever been asked for advice on this subject matter.

With permission, I'm sharing a portion of her original message...

"A lot of my friends and family members are pet parents to dogs and cats. For those who celebrate their fur-kid's birthday, I always get them a little gift. During the Christmas season, I give all of their fur-kids gifts in the form of treats, blankets, toys, bones, etc. However, year after year, when I celebrate the adopt-a-versaries of my 3 pups, and for Christmas, my babies get nothing from these friends and family members. 

I don't want to sound petty. I certainly don't want to become one of those people who eliminate recipients from my gift givings lists because they don't acknowledge my fur-kids, but I'm getting to that point. I spend a lot of time and money on these gifts throughout the year. It adds up. Am I a shitty person for thinking that it's rude that they ignore my fur-kid's special occasions and during Christmas?"

After reading her message, I sat back in my chair and thought about it. I put myself in her shoes and closely examined our life and family in the same area of focus.

Over the past 5 years, our family has grown from 1 furry kid to 4. We celebrate their "Gotcha Day" instead of birthdays.

Most of our friends are pet parents. Occasionally, we give bags of biscuits and other goodies to those who celebrate their birthdays and "Gotcha Days."

One of our neighbor friends will share her fur-kid's birthday cupcakes.

For Christmas, we always include our fur-nieces and fur-nephews on our gift giving list.

During those 5 years, how many times have our kids received gifts for their Gotcha Day or Christmas?

This does not include the occasional "just because" gifts. 

I thought long and hard. There was 1 time. That was 2 years ago. Christmas. At the time we had Coco, Sophie, and Lobo. The gift was a single blanket.

That's been it. 

When I came to that conclusion, I had to think back again. Sift through each year.

Yep. That's been it. 

I'd be lying if I said this is something I've never thought of before. On occasion, I have. Mostly around the holiday season.

We've continued to give gifts to our fur-nieces and fur-nephews for the celebrated birthdays, Gotcha Days, and Christmas.

I honestly had no idea what to say to the Dog Mom who reached out to me. We were almost in the same boat.


I never thought about or considered discontinuing gifts for our fur-nieces and fur-nephews.

My initial reply was...

"After giving it some thought, I realized we are almost in the same boat as you. I can count on one hand how many times any of our kids have received gifts to celebrate their Gotcha Days and for Christmas. If I were to dwell on this thought process, I would probably find myself feeling quite saddened by this. 

Lisa and I are somewhat unconventional when it comes to gift giving. For birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays, we don't exchange gifts. It seems a bit ridiculous to purchase a gift just because the calendar day deems it a special day where a gift is warranted. Instead, throughout the year, we surprise each other with just because gifts. 

For birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas, about 90% of the gifts we give to friends and family are handmade, homemade, and handcrafted. For our friends who have become family, their birthday and/or anniversary gift often includes being invited over for a scrumptious, homemade dinner and celebratory cupcakes. 

I make personalized gourmet gift baskets for Christmas. They're filled with homemade confections and baked goods that I only made during the holiday season along with trinkets and baubles, a gift card, and their favorite adult beverage. We also include our homemade dog treats for the pups and store-bought treats for the kitties. Sometimes, we'll throw in a few toys or a new collar. 

Last year, for one of our friends who have become family, instead of using a basket, I made a DIY doggy toy box and used that. It was really cool and the recipients loved it!

We do this because we consider our fur-nieces and fur-nephews as part of our family. We're their Aunties. We're the ones who take care of them when their Moms and Dads go away for the day, weekend, or an extended vacation. When we visit their house, they always greet us at the door. They know us. They love us. Again, they're family to us.

We also continue to do what we do because the people on our gift giving lists are people we love. We enjoy making their gifts and having them over for dinner to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. We love the look on their faces when we give them their yearly gourmet Christmas baskets. 

Have any of our gift giving recipients included our kids when they celebrate their Gotcha Day or on Christmas? Aside from that one time 2 years ago, no. Does it bother us? Sure. It makes us a little sad. If our kids were human kids, would things be different? I'm not sure. Whatever the case may be, we don't linger in that place for too long. I simply can't. 

With that being said, I honestly can't tell you what to do or how to handle it. What I can do is tell you that often times, the fur-kids are overlooked. It's not the fault of the fur-kids that gifts aren't purchased for your fur-kids. If anything, blame their parents. And, if you're feeling exceptionally brazen, just buy gifts for all of the furry babies on your gift-giving list this year. That will definitely catch the attention of their humans."

Aside from that, I've got nothing. How would YOU handle a situation like that?

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