Finding gifts for a family member can be a notoriously difficult task, especially if that person happens to be very picky about what they do and don’t like.
But sometimes a creative solution to the problem can end up just sparking even more unintentional drama.
Redditor Grouchy-Bag-4386 recently experienced this very issue with her teenage niece, so she turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to figure out if she was in the wrong with her well-intentioned gift.
“AITA for making a charitable donation in my niece’s name vs giving her a tangible present?”
The original poster (OP) explained her sordid history of trying to find presents for her niece.
“For the past few years, every time I buy my niece anything, she complains about it. She has expensive taste and while I’m not broke, I certainly do not have the money to buy what she asks for.”
“I’ve told her this in the past along with her mother. Both seem to understand, but my niece will still get a ‘that’s all’ attitude about her.”
“One year, I got her a gift card to her favorite clothing store. It wasn’t enough to buy a full outfit from there, but it’d get her a pair of jeans or a sweater or something.”
“She said ‘You expect me to be able to use this to buy something?’ Another, I flat out gave her cash to put towards one of the items on her list and I was told that it wasn’t enough, so what was the point?”
After her niece’s lasted gripe, the OP was done with it.
“She’s 16 now. For her birthday in May, I sent her a gift card to a different store. When she called me to thank me, she said ‘Thank you, even though this isn’t enough to buy anything’.”
“I was pretty pissed and told my sister I wasn’t buying her daughter anything else. She said that wasn’t fair because our brother’s kids always get something to open on Christmas.”
“Yeah, because his kids aren’t ungrateful about the gifts. They understand I’m not the aunt that can spoil them, but they appreciate their small gifts.”
So the OP decided to try something else for her niece’s Christmas present.
“I still didn’t want to cause drama on Christmas. Every year, I always get a kid from one of those organizations to buy a gift for.”
“This year, I selected two, one of them wanted something within the budget I set for my nieces and nephews. I bought the present in niece’s name and made a nice handmade card, detailing that a gift to a less fortunate child had been made in her name.”
The gesture did not go down well with her niece, nor the rest of her family for that matter.
“We couldn’t be together this year for Christmas because of [the pandemic] but we did a Zoom celebration with everyone.”
“My niece opened her gift and freaked the f**k out. She said it wasn’t fair everyone else got a gift.”
“I said, I figured this was something that was useful. She got even more pissed, broke what my parents’ got her and stormed out of the room.”
“My family has called me an a**hole for this. They said it would’ve been better to not get her anything at all. Am I an a**hole?”
Redditors were then tasked with giving a verdict by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
They were appalled by the niece’s behavior.
“She broke a gift from her grandparents because she didn’t like the gift you got her and they called *you* an a**hole???”
“NTA! She is lucky you bought her anything after her past behavior.”
“The fact your family is upset with you that she freaked out tells me all I need to know: they are enablers!”—clevelandcray
“If I were the OP, I wouldn’t even give that child anything. It’s just a waste of money and effort.”—eosmaia
“NTA, OP. Not getting her anything would have resulted in the same attitude and tantrum.”
“Her problem is that she’s entitled and it sounds like several family members enable this. If she wants to throw a fit when she doesn’t get her way the real world is going to be so upsetting for her.”—AndiKris
“NTA especially if her reaction is to break another’s gift after getting upset.”
“The only thing you could have done is to warn her parents, but if she reacts like this to every one of your gifts then her parents must be enabling this behavior. Otherwise how could she be so brazen as to insult your gifts?”—Ameisah
“NTA. At 16 years old she should know better than to talk trash about a gift.”
“An 8-year-old would probably know better. Your niece doesn’t deserve a gift if that’s the way she’s gonna act about it.”—TimCantQualify
The OP’s niece reminded a few Redditors of a much-maligned character from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
“Veruca Salt it is then.”
“NTA. My mom would have absolutely murdered me if I even thought of acting like that about a gift.”—Ugghernaut
“INFO: Is your niece’s name Veruca Salt?”—AdPuzzleheaded3823
The OP responded:
“No, but ironically her name starts with a V.”
Not everyone was willing to put the blame squarely on the niece, however.
“NTA. The niece has been badly brought up to be entitled and selfish. TAs here are the young woman and her foolish parents.”
“By not teaching her polite behavior and setting appropriate boundaries they have set her up for a lifetime of being disliked by most people she meets.”
“OP should not buy her another gift until she learns to behave like a civilized human being and spend the extra money on the other more appreciative children in the family instead.”—Far_Administration41
“How is this girl expected to function in society later on?”
“Work? College? Just being spoiled and looking for a sugar daddy?”
“How can any parent see this kind of behavior for sixteen years and say ‘yep, that’s ok’?”
“NTA, by the way.”—whateverkitteh1988
“If my kid acted like this, they’d get the bare minimum from me, any luxury item donated, hand me down clothes and we’d be spending every spare minute they had volunteering for everything we could until they had an attitude adjustment.”
“Shame on every parent in this scenario, OP sounds like the only sane one. NTA.”—whitethrowblanket
Many encouraged the OP to keep doing whatever she needs to do until her niece learns her lesson.
“NTA. Well done! A very clever solution to an entitlement problem.”
“16 is old enough to be gracious about gifts no matter what. Do it again next time!”—GloryIV
“OMG! This right here.”
“She’s 16, not 3. NTA”—redbottleofshampoo
“NTA, I can’t even imagine being that ungrateful. ‘Ugh this isn’t enough to buy a whole outfit’ well if you don’t want it then give it back you ungrateful little–“
“Let’s just say I wouldn’t have given her anything after the first time she said that until she apologized and learned to appreciate the things she gets.”
“And I’d definitely suggest having a word with her parents because it’s probably their fault that she’s such a brat. Or just stay out of it entirely and never get her anything again.”—Jumpyropes
It sounds like the niece has some growing up to do.
The OP has yet to say what she plans to do next, but we fully expect her niece to be unhappy with whatever decision she does end up making.