gifting the wrong individuals?

by Elle

I stumbled across your site when looking for some gift etiquette advice. Here's one for you:

My husband and I were given a gift for Christmas a year ago by his parents. The gift was a week at their time share. They have many extra time share weeks and give out weeks periodically to all of their 5 grown children. A year later this Thanksgiving we choose to finally use our week in Florida and take our kids to Disney World. We invited my parents and several aunts to come with us. When the week ended, my aunts decided they wanted to give a gift to my husband's parents. My hubby and I felt very strange about this and my husband thought that while thoughtful, it was unnecessary since we are the ones who decided to share our gift with everyone else. They said thank you to us, and we feel that is plenty, bur it made us feel very uncomfortable that they wanted to gift his parents. His parents gave us the gift, not to everyone else. Our friend weighed in and thought it was unecessary and a bit odd and said, "if your husband's parents gave you new towels for Christmas and your aunts' came to visit one day, and therefore benefitted from the use of those towels, then they should send a thank you to your husbands parents for the use of those towels.". This just made us feel a little weird. In addition, one of my aunts now wants to drop a personal note to my husbands parents. This is really making my hubby feel even more uncomfortable. Why did this make us feel weird? Are we weird or right?

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by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Elle~

What an interesting situation. First, lets all agree that towels and time shares are not the same. Having said that, it is natural for someone who has enjoyed the generosity of others to wish to express gratitude. And it is considered well mannered to leave behind a small, inexpensive gift and/or write a personal note. The dilemma here seems to be who should be thanking whom.

Your in-laws gave you a lovely gift which you chose to share with other family members. They must have really enjoyed themselves! While your guests expressed their gratitude to you, the fact that it is not your time share must have made them want to thank the real owners. I think a gift in a bit over the top in this situation, but allow them to write thank you notes to your husbands parents. I am sure his parents will be delighted that their gift to you was enjoyed by so many.

Kind regards,
Ms Practical Etiquette

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