This year was the first year of the Christmas drawing.
SIL noted that MIL breached the lottery and decided that MIL and FIL are not allowed in the drawing next year. She also said that next year there has to be a money limit. Since we got 4/6 of the people in her family, I’m guessing DH went overboard compared to what the remaining kid got. (Maybe he shouldn’t have gotten her an entire flatware set and just done the spoons like she asked for.) We spent ~$50/each for the three of her kids that we got (but it may have seemed like more because Amazon always has Thanksgiving day sales) and I don’t know how much for her, but it was more (I think over $100? She has not thanked us, so it’s possible she was not happy about it, as midwesterners express disapproval silently. But equally possible she is busy with twins and work.). BIL’s family spent something like $30 on one of our kids (I only know this because they bought a specific boardgame expansion off hir wishlist) so that’s probably also what they spent on SIL’s remaining kid. My MIL drew me and I don’t know how much she spent because she’s a great bargain hunter, but she got me a *lot* of Lenox stuff (she has noted I am a fan of Butterfly Meadow). So now I have pretty cloth napkins (all amazon links are affiliate) and one of those things you put a spoon on when you’re cooking so your counter doesn’t get yucky, and some serving bowls.
So DH suggested that we just draw the kids next year and leave the adults out entirely. We both worry that if there’s a money limit AND we draw SIL’s husband (who does not have a wishlist and we really know nothing about and have nothing in common with) we’re going to be giving him a $25 (or whatever the limit is) gift card to Amazon, which seems … dumb. (Whereas if there’s no money limit it seems less dumb? Even if the same amount is spent? Logic!) Also I think DH would like to be allowed to get his brother a game at Christmas. MIL and SIL agreed to a drawing just for the kids.
Then I realized that if we do a drawing and just have kids, then SIL’s family will have all four of the other kids EVERY SINGLE YEAR and we will each get some random two of her kids every year.
Since BIL and my family are better off, maybe we could just each buy for the other 6 kids without having to stress out about dollar limits or siblings being treated differently or what have you. We can keep buying books (which are probably less popular and more expensive than other presents for kids that aren’t my kids) and BIL’s family can keep buying whatever BIL’s family buys (which is board games and comic books for our family, but probably tailored differently for SIL’s family). SIL will still only be buying for the same four kids that she would be under the drawing system. We have made this suggestion and we will see what happens. DH made the argument that since SIL had her kids last, there were many Christmasses in which she was buying presents for our kids but we weren’t reciprocating. BIL agrees with this logic. DH and BIL usually just do whatever MIL (who does whatever SIL) wants, but this time they might put up a (quiet, polite, midwestern) united front. I’m staying out of it other than waking up one morning having thought out the mathematics of a drawing when one person has exactly half of the kids while I was asleep.
As a side note: We have NO IDEA who drew DH’s name. He did get a gift from his parents, but it was smaller than per usual and from both parents, similar to what they got the kids whose names they didn’t draw and less than what they got me, whose name MIL did draw (which was signed just by her). Nothing else has been forthcoming. SIL sent DC2’s stuff early. BIL sent DC1’s game a bit later, but still within plenty of time for Christmas. DH should probably have asked after he got the present from his parents, but it was before Thanksgiving, so… We’re not fussed about it, but are mildly curious.