This is why I don't want to do much with my daughter. We plan to have quite a few children and I don't want to start with getting my daughter lots and lots and then have to make her "pile" smaller and smaller each year as we add another child. DP and I have agreed to buy her one classic dvd every year. We don't watch much tv but it's something he wants to do so I'm okay with that. This year we'll get the Peanuts boxed set of three dvds for $20. (the great pumpkin, thanksgiving, christmas tree) And we'll get her a snow globe every year because that's my thing. (I collect them so I'm passing that down to her.) Other than that, we may buy her one or two things, but that's it. And next year, we'll have another child.
I hate how people think they need to buy this and that every year. It truly feels like parents (and other family members) are just trying to buy off the children. That's how I always felt with my own parents. People seem to be so materialistic and it's quite sad. Whatever happened to everyone getting one or two gifts, maybe a big family gift (like a new tv or blu ray player and a blu ray disk or tow), and just being together for a nice meal with a few games followed by an updated family photo, to be mailed or emailed to everyone in the following week? With the family changing houses every year so everyone gets a chance to stay home, so everyone has to travel at least once in a while, so the ones with newborns don't have to deal with leaving their comfort zones?
My ideal holiday? Assuming my mother wasn't involved. I would love to gather my family together at my place (of course, that wouldn't work this year because our place really is too small for the whole family) and make a meal for everyone. We would eat and have a nice conversation. Then the children would open their gifts. (one or two from their parents, one from their aunt/uncle, maybe one homemade one from their cousins) If it's Thanksgiving, of course that would involve the football game. Either way, then we would play a few games and have dessert and just be together as a family. Maybe we could even have everyone stay the night and then have a nice breakfast in the morning before seeing everyone off. That would be ideal. That would be my perfect holiday.
But does that ever happen? Of course not. My family (2 hrs away) insists we all go there every year for every holiday. This means Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. They still expected us down there, and threw a bit of fit, for Thanksgiving last year, when we had a newborn. And this year, they expect their son to be there with his 3.5 yo, 1.5 yo, 4 month old. And they have to travel 12-16 hrs! They're due to get in Tuesday night and want to leave Friday or Saturday. My aunt happily told me that she gave him a hard time about that. I used to live near where he lives now. I have made that drive, several times. That drive is hell. It's boring and it's long. All highway. I would never want to make that drive with a 4 month old, let alone two older children as well. That's three car seats, plus their dog and their luggage, in one car for that long?! That's crazy. I would never expect them to make that drive. I wouldn't even bring it up.
So I think it's more than just gifts sometimes. It's this stupid idea that we must all be together, no matter what, and we must pretend we are this big happy family, even when we aren't. It's like we're just putting on a show for ourselves to tell to others later. "Oh we had a great time being all together. And the kids got all these great gifts. Aren't we just the best family ever?"