Gift giving etiquette

Wondering what the etiquette is around giving gifts in Vietnam?  Specific scenario I have in mind seems to be a bit of a gray area so interested in other peoples experiences - I visit HCMC several times a year to see my daughter and invariably get a bit of a shopping list from her Mum (my ex) that can extend to presents for her parents for example who live in Hanoi.  However I never see her parents on these trips after relationship broke down.  Usually find myself pushing back a bit around the budget ex tries to set on these gifts or ask her to chip in while I buy gifts at a price point I'm more comfortable with.  Is gift giving to members of the family who you're not actually visiting or staying with PAR for the course in VN?

Unless her parents maintain a good relationship with you, unless they live nearby and have a hand in taking care of your daughter, you have no obligation to send gifts to them.  If you feel the need, however, then a little something that you pick up in Australia is more appropriate than a costly present that you and your ex buy together in Saigon.

A little something (from you alone) conveys the message that you think of them.  A costly present purchased under duress and given without a special occasion is to enforce the idea that you have money to spare. 

As your visits occur several times a year, you should not be willing to act as Santa every single time.  Even the "rich" Overseas Vietnamese who visit their families once every 5 or 10 years no longer pack their suitcases with costly gifts for everyone -- and their relatives in Vietnam no longer expect such largesse either.

Ciambella :

Unless her parents maintain a good relationship with you, unless they live nearby and have a hand in taking care of your daughter, you have no obligation to send gifts to them.  If you feel the need, however, then a little something that you pick up in Australia is more appropriate than a costly present that you and your ex buy together in Saigon.

A little something (from you alone) conveys the message that you think of them.  A costly present purchased under duress and given without a special occasion is to enforce the idea that you have money to spare. 

As your visits occur several times a year, you should not be willing to act as Santa every single time.  Even the "rich" Overseas Vietnamese who visit their families once every 5 or 10 years no longer pack their suitcases with costly gifts for everyone -- and their relatives in Vietnam no longer expect such largesse either.

With so many visits a year, perhaps he can consider taking the children and their mother to visit the grandparents once a year

OceanBeach92107 :

With so many visits a year, perhaps he can consider taking the children and their mother to visit the grandparents once a year

Good idea, providing the relationship between him and her parents is pleasant.  Tết would be the best time to visit.

Speaking of Tết, please remember to never hand out red envelopes to her parents or people who are older and/or rank above you in the family -- unless they've reached longevity (above 70).

To respect traditions and the principle of lì xì (lucky money), parents give to children, older people give to younger people, higher ranking gives to lower ranking.  Not the other way around.  Except, as mentioned above, in the case of longevity.

Thank you both for thoughtful responses.  Some food for thought too!

New topic
connection to localhost:9312 failed (errno=111, msg=Connection refused)