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Dad Called Out For Not Continuing ‘Stupid’ Family Birthday Tradition With Stepkids Due To Cost

Man in a red suit pushing shopping cart with big red gift box

Traditions are important to many people and can be especially meaningful when it comes to family.

But traditions don’t always carry over well.

This can be a difficult issue when gift-giving.

Case in point...

Redditor travelinman55 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for not carrying on another family’s tradition?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“In our house, we have two birthdays coming up.”

“My wife’s son Marcel (turning 16) and her daughter Marceline (turning 13).”

“Asking them what they wanted for their birthday, they both said that just wanted a ‘normal gift’ which was great.”

“Seeing that I was confused, my wife helpfully reminded me of the ‘traditional luggage gift,’ and then I realized.”

“There was a family tradition of giving kids a luggage set for their 16th birthday, yes, but that was my ex-wife’s family, not mine.”

“I was never even involved.”

“It was always a thing for them.”

“A few decades ago, one of my ex’s sisters got a job at a high-end luggage company and took over for the next-gen of the family (my daughter and her cousins) because she could get it for really cheap with her discount.”

“My daughter is the youngest of the kids on that side, and around the time she was turning 13, between the aunt knowing she would be retiring soon and some personal drama, they decided to give my daughter her set for her 13th birthday so she wouldn’t be left out.”

“I’ve always thought that tradition was stupid and a stupid amount of money to spend.”

“Even $1,000 is way too much to spend on luggage for anyone, especially a kid.”

“I wouldn’t spend that much on myself.”

“I tried to tell them all of this.”

“My wife thinks that by letting my daughter participate (by accepting the gift), I’ve made it my family tradition as well, and now I’m just singling her kids out. I’m not.”

“Not caring about her accepting a gift from her own aunts doesn’t mean I don’t still think it’s stupid.”

“There’s a LOT of difference between ‘You can’t have this because it’s not worth buying’ and ‘You can’t have this because I think it’s inappropriate or dangerous.'”

“Also, it would be even more expensive for us to buy it for them than even the aunt spent on my daughter.”

“My daughter’s set cost me $0, and her aunt $1,000 as she had a discount.”

“Buying the other kids’ sets would cost me $2,000 each, so $4,000.”

“Now everyone is upset at me because I’m apparently making it clear that I don’t care about Marcel and Marceline as much as my daughter because I’m breaking tradition and telling them they don’t ‘deserve anything” that my daughter had.'”

“Am I wrong for thinking this is ridiculous?”

The OP was left to wonder:


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“Correct me if I’m wrong on any of this…”

“So the sister of the woman you are no longer even married to is now retired and no longer buying the discounted but still crazy expensive luggage… and now your wife thinks that YOU should now spend a total of 4 grand on luggage for her kids who were never related to or knew the aunt??”

“$4,000 for luggage… for teenagers??”

“LOL… Oh hell no. NTA.” ~ StonewallBrigade21

“For teenagers that explicitly said they want ‘normal gifts.'”

“Luggage is not a normal gift… NTA.”  ~ Appropriate-Yak4296

“NTA. Your daughter received a birthday gift from your ex’s family.”

“You did not buy it.”

“This gift has nothing to do with your stepchildren.”

“Knowing this, your wife should have managed her children’s expectations.”

“Her thinking that they should get the same thing for their birthday as your children and their cousins on their mother’s side set her own children up for disappointment.”

“The cost of the luggage set is irrelevant, but unless you are in the top 5% income bracket, the price tag on that luggage set is ridiculous and impractical.”

“That luggage set goes into the trunk of a Bentley.” ~ Wonderful-Result2036

“OP, I brought my own luggage set piece by piece.”

“You could buy a basic 3-piece ‘starter set’ and if they want to expand on it, they can use their own money.”

“Or, you could tell your wife that since the set your daughter received actually came from your ex-wife’s side of the family, it is up to your wife’s family to buy the luggage set and not you.”

“If you split finances or share finances but have separate fun money, your wife can also use her fun money for the purchase.”

“Luggage for the 16-year-old would be fine, but not the 13-year-old unless you travel a lot and she packs her own bags.”

“Your wife is entitled, though, for deciding that your ex-wife’s traditions are now hers too.” ~ Environmental_Art591

“Who says the luggage has to be the same brand as your children?”

“You could get them both a set of cheap luggage that isn’t a brand name as their gift.”

“If they complain, just say that they seemed so keen to have their own luggage set that you wanted to get them one.”

“But obviously, you couldn’t afford the type your children’s aunt purchased, as she had a lot more money, plus was able to get a significant discount.” ~ Rockpoolcreater

“I’m 37; I still use one carry-on-sized suitcase that I got on Amazon for $35 ten years ago when I go anywhere.”

“For family vacations, I pack mine and my husband’s clothes in that suitcase; we each have a backpack for things like medications and toiletries, chargers and tablets, and our kids share a kid-sized suitcase from Target.

“Like. I can’t even imagine buying a luggage set.” ~ InterestingNarwhal82

“I still have my luggage set that I was gifted, and it was about $200 at the time, I just looked up some fancy one, and it’s $300-400.”

“Where are you getting $1000+?”

“I think having good luggage is a great thing but $200 to $300 should provide a great set and continue on this tradition- didn’t know this would be.”

“My family just thinks it’s a good thing to have that no one would buy for themselves and can be very useful.”

“I’m at a loss why $1000+ is required???”

“NTA, just don’t get the price point indicated.” ~ EquivalentCommon5

“NTA- that’s a stupidly expensive gift.”

“And it’s not one you ever gave out, and these kids are not related to your ex-wife’s family at all, so why would it matter what their gifts or traditions were?”

“You never gave a luggage set as a gift.”

“Why do the 16 and 13-year-olds think an expensive luggage set is the ‘normal gift?'”

“If I’m understanding correctly that is not a family tradition they were ever raised to expect, it is your ex-wife’s family tradition.”

“Why do they even want luggage?”

“That’s such a boring and not at all fun gift, even if expensive.” ~ ShillBot666

“NTA- you’re not breaking a family tradition.”

“It wasn’t your family’s tradition.”

“It was your in-laws.”

“You are no longer associated with that family outside of your kids.”

“If your wife wants to have this tradition, she can do it out of her own pocket, not yours.”

“I can’t even understand how they would think this extends to them in the first place.”

“1- it’s not their family that had the tradition…”

“2- you never bought the luggage for anyone…”

“3- even if it was your tradition and you bought the luggage, the luggage hook-up is retired now.” ~ BluePopple

“NTA. It’s not your tradition, nor theirs.”

“It was your ex’s tradition.”

“Her aunt gave her the luggage, not you.”

“If they want luggage, stores sell them for $20-50.”

“I’ve had mine from Walmart for 14 years now, and it’s still in good shape and used multiple times a year.” ~ oaksandpines1776

“NTA… and your wife 100% put this idea into her kid’s heads and wants it as some weird vicarious status symbol for herself.”

“No 13-year-old in their right mind asks for luggage.”


“The gift was not from you so you’re not treating anyone differently.”

“If your wife is so jazzed for overpriced luggage, then she can buy it.” ~ MargaretHaleThornton

“NTA, your current wife telling you that because you allowed your daughter to accept an expensive gift from her aunt now it means you have to buy the same expensive gifts for her children is a really, really, really big leap.”

“I suppose if it means that much to your current wife she can call your ex-wife’s sister and ask her to give the luggage to her children as that’s how your daughter obtained the luggage.”

“Be a good husband by not laughing at her when your ex-wife’s sister laughs in her face.”  ~ adventuresofViolet

“NTA. I don’t really understand this.”

“It’s not your tradition – it’s your ex-wife’s sister’s as she bought people some fancy luggage as she had a discount.”

“I assume your ex-wife’s sister won’t be buying your new wife’s kids gifts.”

“Don’t get you being the bad guy.”

“Also kind of intrigued that a 16 and 13-year-old genuinely want luggage as their birthday gift.” ~ Arstanoth

“NTA, but your wife sounds pretty manipulative and possibly outright greedy.”

“She sees her kids as competing with your daughter and is manipulating them to think the same.”

“That’s never going to change and will likely get worse as the kids get older.”

“You need to put some serious thought into that.” ~ Melzilla79

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

Luggage feels like an odd thing to be upset about.

You wanted to do something different.

No malicious intent was involved.

Hopefully, you can all unpack the hurt here and travel past it.