A one off off the mark gift is one thing, but a continuous pattern is another - especially when you don't have a huge number of criteria. I have no idea what the OP's criteria are - but mine are just age appropriate, not loud, not a gun, and not inappropriately sized for our space.
I would love to gather other parents' perspectives about etiquette and your strategies for dealing with inlaws who have a continuous pattern of giving less than ideal gifts (edited to add that these were toys that were choking hazards, and age inappropriate, among other problems), year after year.
Here is more specifically what I am talking about. I think they must like to buy large plastic ride-on size trucks because we have gotten them in great quantity. I think at one time we had 7 of them. My inlaws did once check with us prior to buying this bells and whistles version that cost several hundred dollars. We said no thank you on that one.
We don't need, have the space for, and, yes, don't have the desire to own or keep that many large plastic trucks that are loud, battery operated, fairly passive, close ended play. Seven and growing as a collection? Would anyone still seriously question why I would donate?
I have talked to them about the toys we buy and why, DH talked to them to explain what would be good ideas when they asked for a birthday one year.
That didn't seem to do the trick. We do not feel entitled to anything we just don't want the clutter (one) nor the toys that do not meet our values (two) for our child to play with and (three) don't want to be asked where the toys are when they are donated.
I have sent them a list for that birthday when they asked, with price ranges from $5 upwards, and with lots of choices so they could still pick and choose. I have also shown them pictures, and signed them up for catalogs with selection that would work well.
And still they don't listen.
In the past, we have praised any good selections (rare) that they bought from the list (also rare) but we wanted to try to reinforce things in a positive way.
For a couple of years now, we have accepted the toys that weren't appropriate without saying anything and then donated them. But, while it's worthy to donate to charity, that seems kind of like I'm wasting their money year after year, after a while anyway, and I would like my child to have some gifts that are kept some of the time.
But this year, we decided that the inappropriate and less than ideal (choking hazard, too many pieces, battery operated, too big) gifts could be "grandpa and grandma's house toys" that would remain at grandpa and grandma's house.
I was not present for the conversation, which I left up to DH since it is his parents, but apparently they were quite offended and basically said they wouldn't be buying toys anymore. No one told them the gifts were not good enough or anything like that, just that they would be better suited to be played with at the grandparents' house and that they wouldn't work for our house.
What would you all do? Has someone been in a similar situation? I've seen similar threads and am off to read them. Thanks!