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post #81 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I am going to try very hard not to feel the need to defend our actions in the situation. Obviously if it were as easy as this, it would not have been a problem. The little girl in tears before she had even waded through half of the gifts in the final stop was of much more importance to us than carving out time to have her open our gift. Since half of the gifts were not open, my kid was in tears, and there was a bunch of relatives waiting to see her get to their gifts, all bets/plans/sanity had left the room. We did not expect people to "make a special time" for it. Again, obviously, since our families did not even know about it we were not expecting them to do such a thing. It is just very sad that the piles of gifts, the time it took to open them, and the resulting meltdown created a situation in which we were not able to enjoy the act of gifting our own child one gift on Christmas. Is that really hard to understand?
If you want an honest answer, then yes! It is hard to understand.

My niece and nephew are the ones with the giant gift piles (1st of each gender for my parents). They're the ones that have been in tears about Christmas presents and whose parents sat there and didn't try to teach them anything about graciously accepting gifts. But those times are long gone. My parents now spend the same money they used to spend on 1 or 2 grandchildren on 10 and my kid will never be there. And that sucks. She's so far down the line of grandkids that no one could care one little bit about her on Christmas. Her birthday is pretty much the only time she gets in the spotlight at all, but she shares even that. And my family doesn't think birthdays are important.

Our position is so far from yours that I really can't understand where you are coming from. I would LOVE for my kid, just once, to be given more presents that she wants to open.
post #82 of 255
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninetales View Post

If people ask, of course it's appropriate to give ideas and keep them small if you like, but I just don't see any polite way to tell people "don't give us gifts" any more than there is to say "buy us more gifts." It's two sides of the same coin to me. The only thing you can control are your own feelings and actions.
Is there a polite way to say "the gifting in our lives is starting to have a real negative effect on our family, can we talk about it?" Etiquette says no but I have to believe that as rational people that love and care about each other, being honest can't be that bad.

As for people who use gifts as a way to manipulate people, that's tough. Sometimes people do not even know they are doing it. Or they might have this fault but otherwise be loving people in your lives. We have a little of that going on in our family and so far I choose to ignore it, but I can see from reading responses on here and it is a real and large problem in some families
post #83 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
How long have we had the bizarre notion that someone with more money must be more respectable? How long have people touted someone else's financial situation as some kind of proof that the person is somehow superior (how often does "good family" not have some connotation of "they have/had money", for example?) to others?
From the beginning of time... The tribe who could hunt better, find better food, make better tools/weapons did better in the world. They were more likely to survive the lean times and be the ones to have the good hunting territory.

It's very basic for people to want more and to do better. Very primitive and deeply routed in humanity.
post #84 of 255
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
If you want an honest answer, then yes! It is hard to understand.

My niece and nephew are the ones with the giant gift piles (1st of each gender for my parents). They're the ones that have been in tears about Christmas presents and whose parents sat there and didn't try to teach them anything about graciously accepting gifts. But those times are long gone. My parents now spend the same money they used to spend on 1 or 2 grandchildren on 10 and my kid will never be there. And that sucks. She's so far down the line of grandkids that no one could care one little bit about her on Christmas. Her birthday is pretty much the only time she gets in the spotlight at all, but she shares even that. And my family doesn't think birthdays are important.

Our position is so far from yours that I really can't understand where you are coming from. I would LOVE for my kid, just once, to be given more presents that she wants to open.
That is really too bad and my heart does go out to you and yours

ETA: Dd was not in tears because she did not like the gifts or was being ungracious. She has an old soul and has deep feelings of gratitude when anyone does anything for her. She was in tears because she was tired, overwhelmed, and had been in the spotlight for going on 24 hours at that point. She is (and likely will always be) the only grandchild/niece on both sides of a fairly large family. These people (most of them anyway) mean well and just want to share the holiday with the only child in their lives. it is not something I ever want to take away from them. I just wish there were an unhurtful way to discuss the amount and size of gifts.
post #85 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Is there a polite way to say "the gifting in our lives is starting to have a real negative effect on our family, can we talk about it?" Etiquette says no but I have to believe that as rational people that love and care about each other, being honest can't be that bad.
There is a polite way to do it. You sit down with people and say "we have a small house and it's really hard when DD gets so many toys like last year because we just don't have room for them. Do you guys think that maybe we could all go in on a couple of bigger (not size buy value) things this year?"

And you wait and see what they say.

What etiquette say is wrong is to try to actually control what they give. Making suggestions, especially ones with reasons behind them, is always OK if you are close to the people.
post #86 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
Oh sure! But in the context in families, I really can't get past the idea that so much of it has to do with respect. Purposely spiting someone through gifts, and being passive aggressive through children? Why would people like that hae the opportunity to give your child a gift in the first place?
This is a huge part of the puzzle. I have one person in my life where this is a bit of an issue...but not much of one. If it became bigger, then we'd get into a big, ugly mess, and I really hope to avoid that. So far, there's no issue. She gets what she gets, we say "thank you", and then I cringe over the new toy dd1 loves that I hate...

Quote:
In fact, I think the more emphasis is placed on "buy this" or "don't buy that", the more the stuff ends up having power over us again. Kinda like the bully philosophy. If you ignore them they'll leave you alone. I think the holidays, and life in general, have become so materialistic because that's what people focus on.
I think there's a lot of truth to this, but the overall picture is more complicated (isn't it always?), imo, because of this:

Quote:
And yet some people are actually distraught over the giving and receiving of gifts. <snip>

"Things" have power over us because we allow it! Even if I had weird relatives with exorbitant gift giving practices, food and traditions would STILL be what I'm focusing on. Because that's what is important!

<snip>

In terms of the inlaw threads and gift giving dilemmas, all these issues seem self inflicted to me. There is so much more to life than worrying about THINGS. And if we worry about things - how much of them, what they're made of, etc - I think they're still garnering the attention that we are sometimes trying to avoid.
I can remember threads here where people were describing children in tears, because grandma/grandpa/random aunt (usually a grandma, for whatever reason) was insisting that the child(ren) open all the rest of the gifts, and the child(ren) had already opened 10 or 12 or 14 and was over-stimulated and upset and freaking out. Then, the poster would have to make 2 or 3 trips in their car to get all the stuff home...and then figure out what to do with it. This does boil back down to respect, but it's definitely not self-inflicted, yk? This kind of thing is a legitimate problem and it's very difficult to address. The cultural "you should be grateful/you should appreciate it" messages don't help, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
I remember my mom starting Christmas shopping in October and putting stuff in a box and locking it up in the carport. I use to think she was the world's stingiest person for locking up a bottle of gherkin pickles in October. But the fact was, having a 3 dollar bottle of gherkin pickles on christmas eve HAD to be budgeted for 3 months in advance, or we didn't have it.
I think it's awesome that she did that, but I can certainly understand why you saw it that way as a kid.

Quote:
because I have never, ever, met a low income person/family who has complained about a gift. (And that's spanning my childhood and early adulthood in the low income/subsidized housing I've lived in all my life.) Now we're a middle to upper class family and this (not wanting certain "things") phenomenon is way too common. I realize this is purely anecdotal, but it doesn't influence my opinions on the nature of graciously accepting gifts.
Also anecdotally, the two people I've known who complain the most vociferously about not getting exactly what they want, and who have always been the most inclined to demand certain gifts from people, are both low income. I don't think income level/class really has all that much to do with it, but I'll admit I'm not middle/upper class (lower middle class, if that). Maybe it gets more...cutthroat, if people have more to start with? I don't know.
post #87 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I think that part of the problem is that we want to outdo what we've done before. Many parents want to give their children more than they had as kids, and more than they gave them last year. We just keep upping the ante. We want the kids to be wowed on Christmas morning. I think its a fairy natural human tendency.
I agree with this, but with respect to the bold, I want to add that this is a very specific, partly media-driven issue, imo.

My parents never upped the ante, and we were always "wowed" on Christmas morning. One year, my dad happened to get a pool table for cheap (really cheap - he may have been given it). That was huge - absolutely huge. You know what? We didn't get anything even close to that big the next year...and we were still wowed. Somehow, we have this weird idea that we have to do bigger and "better" every year, or Christmsa will be this huge letdown for our kids.

My son wanted a chocolate hedgehog last year. That's all he wanted - a chocolate hedgehog. We didn't have to up any ante to wow him. I don't think we give kids enough credit.
post #88 of 255
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post


I can remember threads here where people were describing children in tears, because grandma/grandpa/random aunt (usually a grandma, for whatever reason) was insisting that the child(ren) open all the rest of the gifts, and the child(ren) had already opened 10 or 12 or 14 and was over-stimulated and upset and freaking out. Then, the poster would have to make 2 or 3 trips in their car to get all the stuff home...and then figure out what to do with it. This does boil back down to respect, but it's definitely not self-inflicted, yk? This kind of thing is a legitimate problem and it's very difficult to address. The cultural "you should be grateful/you should appreciate it" messages don't help, either.

This is a big part of my concern as this exact scenario happens to us on an annual basis. And yes, it is difficult to address.
post #89 of 255
Maybe the reason I haven't "gotten" this is because I just don't have this problem and can't imagine it. People ask me what my kids want, I say, "Don't feel like you have to spend much! They love everything!" And so my parents will get my older dd like one board game or something, and she'll love it and think it's amazing. I don't have anyone spending hundreds of dollars on my kids.
post #90 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
This is a big part of my concern as this exact scenario happens to us on an annual basis. And yes, it is difficult to address.
So why not tell them the facts. Leave the emotional stuff out of it, but just tell them that your house is small and they gave too many toys last year. Be prepared that they likely have a $ figure they want to spend and so make a couple of suggestions for some pricey items your DD would like. That way they can spend the money they want to spend and there are less gifts to open and take home.
post #91 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
So again, why? How did gifts and STUFF in general get so much power over us? Is it getting worse in the recent past (I seem to feel that way)? Or has it always been this way? Why is this so emotional? Does it seem silly and a little scary to anyone else that I am reallynot "allowed" to have any control over the messages and values my dd is getting from THINGS or the amount of STUFF that is in my living space?
I wanted to re-read the OP because I can get distracted by side topics very easily and I wanted to address this specific part. The word control in this context is interesting to me. Through the years with my son I realized that my participation in his life was not control but rather guidance. In reality I can't control the rest of the world and its messages to my son but I can guide/teach him to be able to deal with the input in a positive and healthy matter. Yes, my MIL strives towards the quantity over quality present goal and I don't really say much in the matter. I let her know that we would prefer that she picks out a few special items rather than a bag full that's bigger than he is but that's all I can do is ask. I can't control her and I accept that. What I can do is teach my son through words and actions that this is a way that gramma shows her love and that Oma shows it in different ways. I think part of our culture's sickness is trying to control others.

...back to thinking...
post #92 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
Our position is so far from yours that I really can't understand where you are coming from. I would LOVE for my kid, just once, to be given more presents that she wants to open.
Why? I don't understand this, either. I can't imagine wanting my child to be overloaded, overwhelmed and in tears. (This is so much more than just more than she "wants to open" - and in this situation, there's almost always someone insisting that the child open every single one of them.) If I were dying of thirst, I'd very much appreciate access to all the water I wanted to drink - but I wouldn't appreciate being thrown into an ocean to drown.
post #93 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shera971 View Post
I wanted to re-read the OP because I can get distracted by side topics very easily and I wanted to address this specific part. The word control in this context is interesting to me. Through the years with my son I realized that my participation in his life was not control but rather guidance. In reality I can't control the rest of the world and its messages to my son but I can guide/teach him to be able to deal with the input in a positive and healthy matter. Yes, my MIL strives towards the quantity over quality present goal and I don't really say much in the matter. I let her know that we would prefer that she picks out a few special items rather than a bag full that's bigger than he is but that's all I can do is ask. I can't control her and I accept that. What I can do is teach my son through words and actions that this is a way that gramma shows her love and that Oma shows it in different ways. I think part of our culture's sickness is trying to control others.

...back to thinking...
I agree about the wanting to control others thing. But...the OP wasn't talking about wanting to control what her child got. She was talking about wanting to control her living space. It puts people in a very awkward position when they're receiving gifts that are crowding them out of their own space...and it's even worse when the people giving the gifts are attaching all kinds of crap to them, and the children who get them love them to bits and can't stand the idea of being separated from them.
post #94 of 255
i think to me gifts is not so much about consumerism as much as about communication.

mind you though my family lives 3000 miles away so i dont have to worry about gifts...

... however everywhere this subject comes up it reminds me so much of lack of communication with family.

for instance even if my mom was here, she would never use gifts to spite me or go against me. we have talked about toys and kinda come to a middle ground, where my mom gets some she wants which i am not too thrilled about when we do visit. but i have other family members who do use gifts to 'make a statement'.

the sadest part is the duty aspect of gifts. its no longer a joy kinda thing. its become duty. if you are going to a bday party you better take a gift.

i am really torn on not asking for gifts from dd. i know the invitees want to bring something. some sort of contribution. they all have a need to contribute. and i am always looking for some meaningful way to help them fulfill their need to contribute without telling them what to do. for many donating to a cause does not make them feel they are contributing. they want to give directly to the child. now. clothes, college funds are in the future. but they want something for the child NOW. in a way we have managed that by saying rewrap what you have at home and do a gift exchange, or have the child make something. she is 7 so she and her friends can do it.

i love gifts. i love buying them. i love getting them. gifts are a part of almost every culture. for many a respect kinda thing. for instance with the native american before they hunt or after the hunt they offer the hunted a gift of tobacco to their spirit thanking them for providing nutrition for the body.

gifts are meant to be meaningful. i think we have lost some of that.
post #95 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post
she insists on getting "her kids" gifts baskets full of pointless junk. It wasn't until my dh was in his late 20's that she stopped giving him a stocking from santa!
LOL WE still get stockings from Santa (DH and I are 37) ALL of us do!! Dh and I have one for each of the 3 of us....we go to my parents and we all get them there (as do my parents) then we go to DH's family where stockings are a leg of a panty-hose crammed packed with wrapped little gifts (both fun and practical). It takes about 2+hours to open them there....it is a tonne of fun and we all take turns (this includes his aunt, dad, dad's wife, the 3 of us and up util last Christmas his gran)....to not have this would be a sad loss of tradition.
post #96 of 255
This is an interesting thread. One of the most interesting I've seen on here in a long while.

We are lucky. We have enough without being wealthy. We have 4 loving grandparents who are generous but not absurd with their gift giving. Yet we have still run into some of these problems, though not in as extreme of a way as some of you have.

I think the person who said gift giving is about power was really onto something though I haven't sorted out yet if that applies to my personal situation.

I did want to note to the original poster that yes, I understand where you're coming from. It's not that bad around here, but we had a couple of Christmases that were headed that way. We were also the last of the kids to have kids so the last to produce a grandchild and I know how that can sometimes work out badly and painfully, though in our case not so much about gifts.

Still, I actually recommend gentle conversations with the givers on this topic if at all possible. We started this a few years ago. My parents got better immediately. For them, they had to *learn* how to be grandparents. My brother has more money than we do and loves to have loads of presents so for him, my parents presents were just part of the mix. We are aiming for something smaller and less commercial and they were swamping us. It turns out, my mom was using the logic she used when we were growing up. She'd say, well, it wasn't that much that I bought: a couple of toys, a few books, new pajamas, stuff for the stocking, maybe a CD or a DVD, clothes that s/he needs anyway, etc. That IS what she bought us growing up, but our *grandparents* got us one toy or one book or even just a new hat and mittens. Etiquette made that first conversation about cutting back really hard, but it went better than expected. We aren't down to one gift yet, but things are a lot better.

We had the discussion again this year. We had fallen into a pattern of providing detailed lists for both sets of grandparents and our sibs and we hated that. It felt weird even though it's what they asked us to do. There were barely any surprises on Christmas morning and while we didn't like that, we also felt weirdly resentful of people buying something not on the list. It also felt like a bizarre coordination problem - reserving "the good stuff" for us to give, assigning other stuff to appropriate grandparents, etc. Just weird and yucky.

This year, we reiterated *don't give too much*. We did not provide "the list" but instead gave the grandparents some general stuff that the kids like: i.e., DD is book crazy, lacks blocks, and is starting to be really into clothes. DS adores spies, legos and Star Wars. This felt a lot better than: Please get DS lego set model #whatever.

I'm rambling a bit now, but sort of also exploring solutions to the problem. We are having success with my parents, but not so much with my ILs. They are not unhappy people and they know our children really well. Some of their gifts will be right on the money, but there will be too many of them and plenty of them will be cheap crap that breaks, causing heart ache for the kids. We have told them explicitly that they do not have to give our kids the same amount as they give their other grandchildren (though I know the other set of parents is also working to get them to cut back). I do not think that they believe that gift giving is the only way, or the best way, to show love. Why do they do this then?

1. I think they are sometimes genuinely fooled by the cheap crap.
2. Habit.
3. They see something and think how much so-and-so would like it but in their quest to be relentlessly fair, that means they have to buy another gift for each of the other grandchildren, whether they can think of something appropriate or not.
4. Both families will buy something less than wonderful if it is a good enough deal.

Even though I think they sort of understand where we're coming from, it's like they can't help themselves. Again, we're lucky so the amount of all this stuff is only sometimes overwhelming on Christmas itself and we can manage it mostly.
post #97 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninetales View Post
But I think for me, I don't understand why other people spending their money should affect things like playing games or taking walks.
Because there are only so many hours in the day, and it takes time for children to open gifts.

Here are the basic options:

1. Establish some gentle, reasonable guidelines ahead of time. Give people plenty of notice.

2. Stop in the middle of gift opening to go do other things, which means that gift opening could stretch for days or weeks and the giver would not see most of the opening.

Are you suggesting that the first is more rude than the second?

And yes, other people going into debt does matter to me because these people have asked us for loans and asked us to chip in on gifts they have already purchased.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
Honestly, no. Having a room full of stuff is a minor inconvenience, sure. But you seem to think a room full of presents will actually prevent you from doing the things that ARE important to you, which I honestly can't wrap my brain around. If you don't WANT to spend all day opening gifts, don't. If it's important to play a game, play a game. If you want to walk in the snow, walk in the snow.
Honestly, if you haven't been in this situation and are unwilling to turn on your empathy switch, I'm not sure you can understand.

OP, again, I totally get it. We have dealt with this by setting gentle guidelines with the relatives who are prone to excess. We don't care *what* they buy, we just need to restrict it to reasonable quantities for our own sanity and also to be able to transport the gifts home and fit them into our tiny house.

We set a maximum of four gifts from each household. I think that is PLENTY of gifts. Quite frankly, my preference would be one or two gifts for DS and a card for DH and me, but I recognize how hard that could be for the people in question, so I haven't gone there. We've asked them to please donate anything over four to a local charity that helps make the holidays better for children whose families are living in much tougher conditions than ours.

I think it's a totally reasonable approach, and, so far, it has made the holidays way less stressful for us, not to mention other family members who supported our idea that perhaps we don't need to flood the living room with wrapped boxes in order to have a nice holiday.
post #98 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I don't personally believe that rejecting a gift will make someone more likely to be thoughtful about the planet or even my feelings; I think it will probably make them defensive and angry and upset. There are many, many, many other ways and opportunities to go at it.
This really resonates with me. And is perhaps the biggest reason that we don't have gift issues. Because by the time the holidays roll around we're not using gifts as a means of making a point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I can remember threads here where people were describing children in tears, because grandma/grandpa/random aunt (usually a grandma, for whatever reason) was insisting that the child(ren) open all the rest of the gifts, and the child(ren) had already opened 10 or 12 or 14 and was over-stimulated and upset and freaking out. Then, the poster would have to make 2 or 3 trips in their car to get all the stuff home...and then figure out what to do with it. This does boil back down to respect, but it's definitely not self-inflicted, yk? This kind of thing is a legitimate problem and it's very difficult to address. The cultural "you should be grateful/you should appreciate it" messages don't help, either.
Having people in your life that do not respect you is not self inflicted. It's the turmoil caused by how you deal with it that is. A lot of people are conflating "etiquette" with confronting someone about their lack of respect, and I think there is a huge difference between the two. Expecting my crying daughter to continue opening gifts would be completely inappropriate and would happen for all of 2 seconds and never again. Stressing over it year after year? Self inflicted. It needs to be dealt with.

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I think it's awesome that she did that, but I can certainly understand why you saw it that way as a kid.
A lot of the stuff she did didn't become clear until I was an adult (and a parent).
post #99 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~pi View Post
Honestly, if you haven't been in this situation and are unwilling to turn on your empathy switch, I'm not sure you can understand.
I'm in that situation, in the physical sense, every year. We usually host christmas and it's a ZOO here. It's a minor inconvenience, but I don't let it ruin christmas or dictate other the traditions or activities we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Is there a polite way to say "the gifting in our lives is starting to have a real negative effect on our family, can we talk about it?" Etiquette says no but I have to believe that as rational people that love and care about each other, being honest can't be that bad.
I have a hypothetical question that this kind of triggered, though I'm not necessarily asking you... how can family members who care about each other be blind to issues that are important to one another? Is this a closeness issue? Like more of a problem for families who don't live near each other and only get together on special occasions? Or maybe not a distance issue, but a relationship that's lacking a real connection? But there's an obligation to get together on the holidays even though you know nothing about your family members?

I'm starting to wonder if these issues aren't directly related to the quality of the relationship between the gift givers and receivers. I mean, how can you not realize that someone doesn't have room for 3 CAR LOADS of stuff? My sister lives in a tiny 2 bedroom basement suite and barely has room for the baby gear she has now. How on Earth could I load her up with 3 cars loads of crap and then claim to care about her?

I think we might also be confusing "care" with "well meaning". I think people can go WAY over board and mean well (over compensating for not seeing the kids more, not having toys as a kid themselves, etc), but with a little more care they might realize their gift(s) is not practical. I could go out and drop a load on gifts for my nephew and chalk it up to being excited, he is my first nephew after all. And I don't live near them so I could argue that it's to make up for lost opportunities to get him stuff. My heart would be in the right place. But I don't think that would be the caring thing to do KNOWING my sister's living arrangements.

Which brings me to wondering why gifts are being exchanged by people who don't know each other well? Is it because we're obligated due to that person's family rank? Like immediate family? THAT is what feels materialistic to me - that society has determined that mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers must all exchange gifts even though you don't know what the person wants or what is/isn't important to them. And if that situation is as stressful as it is for some people, why do they do it repeatedly year after year?
post #100 of 255
This is something I think about a lot. As a culture we are afflicted by afluenze and we have so much stuff. Our houses get bigger and bigger and filled with more and more. It comes at a cost because this stuff comes from resources that sre in limited quanity. Us having lots of stuff and not paying much for those resources or using covert and overt means to obtain them mean others in other parts of the world go poor. To live sustainably we must live with less but stuff is only part of the equation.

Growing up I lived in a place where materialism was rampant. At Christmas my parents would save a little year round and then shop the sales and got us a couple of toys that were too expensive. I had enough toys and I should of been so grateful for what I did get and what my Grandma got me but I always would be a little jealous.

My best friends parents had more money and they went all out for Christmas and they got tons of clothes from the designer stores, the latest video game system and lots of expensive toys. We would go to my cousins houses and they all got way more gifts than me too. We had a big extended family and everyone would brag about what they got. My Aunts and Uncles didn't get gifts for all their nieces and nephews because there was too many but they would buy for their favorites who were much better off than my family and I watch them open stuff. I should of been grateful for what I did have but I was a little jealous. It took me until I was a teenager to really understand why things don't mean anything and the true cost of things.

Now that I have two kids of my own I try to limit stuff and I really want them to understand that stuff isn't that important. I get them occaisonal toys from the thrift store and most of the clothes I buy comes from there too. At Christmas and birthdays and other occaisons the Granparents especially on my husbands side go all out. My kids get tons of toys and clothes. My MIL judges that I get stuff at the thrift store. I appreciate that people are thinking of my kids and get them gifts. I like seeing my kids excited to get stuff from their Granparents but I am scared that my kids will miss the message about trying to buy used when possible and living simply will get lost.

I worry about the influnce of the media and their peers. My kids don't watch tv now but they might eventually want to watch it. At the same time kids do need some toys to play with and I do like to get them something special for Christmas and their Birthdays.

I live in a small place to keep it simple but there are so many toys and clothes and clutter that I long for a bigger place and then feel guilty for it. My dd is super picky about clothes and wears like two of the dresses in her closet that is full of clothes.

I don't know what the answer is. I do appreciate people thinking of my kids and getting gifts for them. The Grandparents don't really understand at all about why we live simply and why I like to get things second hand. The one thing I want my kids to learn about is that we must live in a way that is sustainable and I worry that will get lost in the culture we live in.
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