Ask Ellie: Why would someone gift lipstick With lint??

Jul 16, 2021 at 08:00 am by Ask Ellie


Dear Ellie:

My in-laws of 17 years always buy me super cheap gifts for my birthday and Christmas, or I get all their gift recycling. How do I know this? Well, I have actually gotten gifts from my in-laws that were given to her by other family members, and sometimes still have the old gift tag attached. I also have been given used items, like lipsticks and makeup. I received for my birthday a used cookbook, not a novelty or an antique, but just a used, dirty cookbook. For Christmas last year, while all the other family members received new clothing, money, candies, and trinkets, I received used Christmas decorations she was going to throw away. While my in-laws are in their 80s, and they certainly have money, I feel mistreated, and I am hurt. We often visit, I have always been polite, I always bring food when we visit. I feel I have been courteous and respectful. I really have tried to be a good daughter-in-law. I have talked to my husband about it, and he tells me how much he loves me, and asks why it bothers me so much. At our age, we don’t even need to exchange presents, I would rather have their company, but they insist. What to do? What to do? My birthday is coming up, and I just dread the gift giving. Help me!!

- Used Red Lipstick Covered in Lint

Dear Linty Lipstick:

I do not take your situation lightly, and I understand that you are hurt. Here are a few thoughts:

1. You can talk to the whole family around Thanksgiving or so and mention that you are all past the gift giving stage and would much rather have the pleasantries of their company and see how that goes, or draw names. Christmas should be about religious events and family after all.

2. You can continue to open presents that are given and just smile, and someday you may just have the most perfect little gift that is really all about you. As you said, you are past the gift giving anyway. 

This situation in my opinion is really a matter for your husband to address with his parents if he fells necessary. He should go to his parents and ask them what the deal is with the used lipstick they gave his wife. There is a chance the parents are just clueless, but let your husband take the lead with his parents.

At some point in every relationship, one must ask what is truly important. Is this a battle you really wish to venture into? If you have a good relationship with your in-laws, do you really want to question a gift they really don’t have to give you anyway? A gift is a gift, not an obligatory offering. I cannot think of a possible way that it can be brought up without you appearing to be something you do not wish to be labeled. Be thankful for what you have, and try not to wish for what you don’t, this may be the lesson here.

Enjoy the in-laws you have. There is so much beauty in the world. Open a window and take in some fresh air and a few deep breaths, and just let this one go.

- Ellie

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