How do I handle this re-gifting situation?
I usually give her kids a small gift card for a major retailer, which they can use to buy a small toy or put towards the purchase of a video game, etc. For example, this year I gave each of her two boys a $10 gift card for Target and $5 cash. My son received a Transformers type toy item I had never seen or heard of before and which does not match his interests. My daughter received four $1 cartoon DVDs of cartoons we had never heard of before, the cheap DVDs that are sold at the checkout lanes of mass retailers.
I don't want to seem petty by keeping score, but $4 for a Christmas gift seems to indicate very little thought or care in giving a gift to me. At least one time during one of his birthday parties, my son was told by his cousin that the gift they brought him was something that he had received as a gift and his mother did not want to keep.
I don't think this is an issue of not having the money to spend, because her kids are getting things like Wii systems and games, and they bought themselves a new flat screen TV for the family this Christmas.
How do I handle this situation? Do I continue to let it go, or do I start to give inappropriate or cheap gifts in return? Do I bring up the subject (perhaps ask for a receipt to exchange a gift because it is not appropriate) or suggest next year the kids exchange gift cards of a certain dollar amount with each other?
Why should I be grateful for a gift that is given in bad spirit or with poor intentions? Everyone says it is the thought that counts....what kind of thought went into picking out a few $1 dvds that no one ever heard of and are inappropriate for an 8 year old girl? (I didn't mention in my question that one of the titles was Animal Farm....not exactly a kids' story!)
Some people said let it go, don't penalize her kids for her poor choices, and while I agree, is it fair that my kids are penalized with odd and inappropriate gifts?
I think I will either suggest the 4 kids pull names for Secret Santa type gifts for less than $10 next year (and that each kid makes up a suggestion list) or that we do a $10 gift card thing. We did set a $10 gift price several years ago, when we started only doing gifts between the kids, but she is spending way less than $10 (or spending nothing when re-gifting.)