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Christmas gifts that are continually not ideal, and general etiquette - Page 4

post #61 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post


I see how you feel, and I sympathize, and I see how your comments come from that.

I am not high and mighty or feel entitled. I come from a very poor background (one of my parents is homeless to this day - homeless in the worst sense, chronically and the other parent close to) so as you can imagine I never had a Christmas in a traditional sense. And my own parents can't afford decent food so they are not able to give my child presents of any kind. So, I do not feel entitled or greedy.

My inlaws do have the means to give presents, and do. They do not spend holidays with my child, which is an issue, and there has been some unfairness in some other things about how they treat certain grandchildren.

I don't expect anything other than fairness amongst the grandchildren, and that they do not expect us to take the gifts they give and use them no matter what.

Honestly, I would rather my child not have those type of things, even if it means no Christmas gifts from them. I don't want the clutter, the noise, the batteries we need to change, the safety hazard, etc. They bought age inappropriate things that were choking hazards. Our child has sensory issues and I've explained that over and over and over again. They don't get the choking thing or the over stimulation thing.

So, we just donate the toys usually that aren't right for us because maybe they will be right for someone and I don't want them in a landfill.

But DH's parents are spending the money so wouldn't it make sense for them to buy something that is useful and needed? It's not like all our needs are met so why not try to optimize, you know? As I said, our child has sensory issues and I haven't purchased all the things recommended by the OT due to money. Why not, if they're going to buy something and spend the same amount of money, buy something the OT could be beneficial?

Or another thing I recommended was books! You can't go wrong with books! So, no, I definitely was not greedy nor feeling entitled.

I say this in the nicest way possible, but you sure do come across that way. When your dictating to others what they should spend, and what to get (on a 2 year old at that) its ungreatful sounding.

1) your 2 year old wont care or notice the difference in the amount spent
2) while plastic battery operated toys are a PITA they don't last forever. Least the batteries don't. I have all of DD#1's old battery operated toys, and they're still in great shape (we just don't change the batteries ) they're still loads of fun.
3) its YOUR issue not your MIL, not your DH and not your childs. YOURS so something that you persive (maybe rightly so maybe not) will influence your whole family dinamic.
4) Older children are a LOT harder to please, and even used, their gifts would cost an arm and a leg.
5) what ever happend to just being greatful??
6) the gifts are for your CHILD not you. Let your child play with them, if they really don't like them, then donate them, but don't restrict them because of YOUR hook ups. They'll just resent you (excepting being if its dangerous, or weapons, those I would agree with)
7) STOP KEEPING TRACK!!! your only hurting yourself.

I admit this Christmas is a first for me. We've never been rich. We've never gotten more gifts then a child can use. The kids have 1 grandparent. My Father, who usually gives a well thought out (if loud ) toy that the girls LOVE. But he has terminal cancer. As much as he wanted to he couldn't give the girls a gift this year. He did manage to come over for half an hour Christmas day, best gift I could ever have.

Usually the girls get a few gifts, almost always used. Why spend the money on things they're going to brake anyway. Or loose interest in.

Usually WE sponcer a family.

DH lost his job, and my dad is dieing. Christmas was not what it usually is. This year someone gave back and it really opened my eyes and made me all the more greatful. I will never again be angry about a gift I have gotten, or that the girls have gotten. I will always remember and be humbled by this experience.

So while people like youself are resenting these unwanted gifts, people like me would be greatful, even if its not perfict.
post #62 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsiLeaf View Post
It was a waste of my money. If I wanted to donate something to charity and spend my money that way, I would have.
Receiving gifts should be humbling and have a bit of gratefulness on the receivers part.
I think you are wasting your money if you buy a gift that doesn't get played with or used, but gets shoved to the back of a closet or shelf. If you can donate it and a child who really wants it or can use it will play with it, something valuable came out of the gift.

You absolutely cannot dictate to a person how they must act and feel about a gift anymore than you can demand or dictate a specific gift. I think you can smile, say thank you and be gracious about receiving it, but there should be no burden on a person to use a gift. At that point, it ceases to be a gift, ya' know.

I'm pretty lenient about any kind of gift my kids get. Some of them I like more than others. My children have had toy guns, Barbie or Bratz dolls, plastic balls that are oily and smell like gasoline (I'm OK with the fashion dolls and guns, but the gasoline balls and Polly Pockets drive me batty). They don't necessarily like all the toys they get, but they do play with them for the first day or so, and I don't make the toys off limits. When it is time for a rummage sale at church or to donate stuff to a charity, I may ask which toys they want to keep, and the ones they really don't like that much get donated--and sometimes they try to give away toys that I think are great, so I might put them in my closet.

Last year my sister gave my 5 year old a Glow-in-the-Dark slime making kit. It came with goggles, and warning signs all over it and said it was for children aged 10 and up. I hid it away in the basement for when she was older. My sister asked how she liked it, and I told her I put it away because it just wasn't appropriate for her right now, and she got kind of pissed. She said then my daughter wouldn't think that her aunt had given her anything, so I told her I'd tell her one of my presents was from her. I could totally see another person just giving the slime kit away and not worrying about keeping it around, but we seem to keep everything here, I know I'll do a big declutter when my kids are teens or something.

I don't think returning gifts is really that big a deal. That's why stores give gift receipts. Sometimes you just have no idea what someone will like, so I want them to return it and get something that really floats their boat.
post #63 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
A few years ago DH's office teamed up with a local charity to provide toys for some needy kids one Christmas. The kids all wrote letters to Santa with their requests. The one we got was from an 7 or 8 yo who wanted a scooter. I wanted to get the child what she wanted, but I knew that some children are not going to use a scooter safely (depends on personality, coordination, etc.) It just wasn't something I felt comfortable getting for a child that age without asking her parents. So I called the charity, and asked them if it was possible for them to contact the parents and ask if it was OK for the child. They did contact the parents, who said she was not the kind of kid to do dangerous stuff like ride it in the street. So, I went ahead and got a scooter.

A few years later I ran into a nice bargain on some finger skateboard thing. They looked like the kind of thing a typical 11 yo boy would like, so I picked them up for my 11 yo nephew. After asking my sister if she thought DN would like them, she felt that b/c of the way they designed with tiny interchangeable parts, he would be frustrated do to his poor fine motor skills. So, I sent it off to a toys for tots bin. I'm sure some 10 to 14 yo boy who happened to have normal or good fine motor skills really loved getting it.

The thing about some toys is they are fine and wonderful toys for one child and horrible mistakes for another. The scooter we were asked to donate could be a great gift for most children, but for others a death sentence. My nephew also received a scooter as a present from my sisters ILs that Christmas (it was the year they were big) and he ended up in the ER the first time he tried to use it. If anyone had gone to the simple trouble of asking his mom if it was OK, she would have said "no DN is pretty uncoordinated, and we don't have a safe place for him to ride it." The gift itself is fine and great, but not right for all kids.

Had I kept the finger skateboard thing and insisted in giving it to DN, then insisted that he use it before it got donated, it would then have been a used toy probably missing parts. Why would that be a better donation than the same toy brand new in an unopened box? So, I say if you're going to be donating something b/c it's wrong for your DC, doing it before your DC messes it up is preferable.

My long way of saying: I do not think donating gifts before they are used by the recipient is rude. I think parents have every right to say a toy isn't right for their child (and it's better if that can happen before the kid sees the gift and ends up disappointed that mom won't let them use it or in the ER if mom gives in b/c the kids really wants it.)
This is a great post, because it really talks about how gift giving should be done. It really is about thinking about what's right for the person (and those they live with), not about buying what you think they should want.

It's also really cruel, I think, to give a gift to a child that you know their parents won't or can't let them play with - and it's not a gift of love. That dang tent I've mentioned a few times on this thread cause soooo much drama in our house because there was no way we could keep it. We had to donate it and then spend money to buy my heartbroken daughter something else to replace it. That's not a gift, you know?
post #64 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimberlyD0 View Post
I say this in the nicest way possible, but you sure do come across that way. When your dictating to others what they should spend, and what to get (on a 2 year old at that) its ungreatful sounding.
I'm sorry if I gave you or anyone the impression I dictated how much they spend. I did not, have not, and will not.

I never even told them what to get. I did tell them what not to get.

Maybe I should spell out exactly what it is they get. I don't have a two year old, by the way (I have an older child). This has been going on longer than two years.

Every year, they have gotten one or two large trucks. Like the ride-on kinds. One year, they gave three of them (in one year!). Guess what they gave this year? A big truck.

We have too many! I did donate some. At one time, I think we had 7! Seven large trucks! We had a party one time and there were a ton of little kids here and it was great because every kid had a truck and that is about the only time I saw a use for that many! Do all of you have space for 7 ride on big trucks?

And another year they did ask first, but they wanted to buy a really large one, like a $400, big bells and whistles riding truck. Seriously, I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but the presents have gotten very monotonous and they just aren't age appropriate.

The other presents this year were ones with lots of small pieces that were choking hazards (DC has sensory issues and puts everything in his mouth).

I didn't see the gifts - DH made the decision that they would be better off at his parents house for kids to play with.

So, sorry to seem ungrateful but I just don't think we need the big trucks. And this has been going on for years and years before my child came on the scene. My inlaws have older grandchildren that they also always gave the trucks to. I remember my nephews one year getting the trucks when they were in their early teens and they were less than enthused and I felt sorry for them.



The other grandchildren's parents have said no more trucks (I think the first or second year) and now they either get cash or go shopping together.
post #65 of 122
I think it's appropriate that you keep a truck at the grandparent's house in that situation. I mean there really is a limit to how many trucks you can keep in your house or that your child can use, and maybe he'd use one at the grandparent's house if they had one there.
post #66 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by KirstenMary View Post
And it also emphasises how materialistic Christmas has become.
I have to disagree.. I think it is the opposite.

My MIL never asks what the kids want and she always buys something that she thinks is a good idea but the kids are not interested in and they don't play with or can't have/use. (themed characters that my kids don't know and have no interest in, expansion packs for toys we don't own, treats and other products that my kids are allergic to etc...)

I would rather her ask what they want or not get anything at all.... We have a small space, 3 kids and another on the way and I am trying to get rid of clutter and things that go unused and are unwanted. I think it is more materialistic to waste money on something that someone doesn't want or need, or have any use for, instead of asking for ideas of gifts that would be appreciated (by the parents or especially the kids themselves)...

We don't have much family around that give gifts... and I am more than happy with that, I would rather them know the holidays and their birthdays to be about family time and getting things that they want and need and will use then just just getting more, more and more of things that will just end up in a pile.
post #67 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post
I think it's appropriate that you keep a truck at the grandparent's house in that situation. I mean there really is a limit to how many trucks you can keep in your house or that your child can use, and maybe he'd use one at the grandparent's house if they had one there.
Thank you! When we got around the seventh truck a Christmas or two ago, I took a picture of them all lined up, just for the sheer craziness of it. I wish I could find that picture now so I could post it.

We were seriously inundated with large toy vehicles. One is fine. More than that is pushing it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by paxye View Post
I have to disagree.. I think it is the opposite.

My MIL never asks what the kids want and she always buys something that she thinks is a good idea but the kids are not interested in and they don't play with or can't have/use. (themed characters that my kids don't know and have no interest in, expansion packs for toys we don't own, treats and other products that my kids are allergic to etc...)

I would rather her ask what they want or not get anything at all.... We have a small space, 3 kids and another on the way and I am trying to get rid of clutter and things that go unused and are unwanted. I think it is more materialistic to waste money on something that someone doesn't want or need, or have any use for, instead of asking for ideas of gifts that would be appreciated (by the parents or especially the kids themselves)...

We don't have much family around that give gifts... and I am more than happy with that, I would rather them know the holidays and their birthdays to be about family time and getting things that they want and need and will use then just just getting more, more and more of things that will just end up in a pile.
Thank you. I really appreciate your post. I agree.
post #68 of 122
Sorry I thought your child was younger..

I still think graditude goes a long way

admittedly its been a crap year and I am projecting.. and there is a small measure of jelousy/shame/dissapointmet here, that I can't give my girls what others have or get and don't want.
post #69 of 122
The way I see it, you don't like the gifts they buy, now they aren't going to buy gifts. Problem solved! I just wonder if your children will appreciate you ruining their relationship with their grandparents over material things.
post #70 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimberlyD0 View Post
Sorry I thought your child was younger..

I still think graditude goes a long way

admittedly its been a crap year and I am projecting.. and there is a small measure of jelousy/shame/dissapointmet here, that I can't give my girls what others have or get and don't want.


Please don't feel shame. I can understand feeling jealous or disappointment and I send a big hug out to you. But don't feel shame.

This economy is tough. Raising a family is tough. There is no shame in poverty.

As I said, I grew up very poor, with an absentee parent, and kids made fun of me all the time, and I often felt embarrassed and ashamed. But now I believe firmly there is no shame in poverty and I don't want you to pass any feelings of shame on to your kids. They can grow up proud no matter what their economic background. They are just as worthy of this world as the children of Bill Gates.

Besides, I don't think your girls would be too thrilled with the ride-on trucks that my inlaws buy year after year. Admittedly, this year, it wasn't a ride-on like the 7 others we have gotten from them, but it was a big truck none the less. They pretty much buy the same thing every year and while my child is old enough to know what he really, really likes, he's still young enough to enjoy the thrill of ripping open the package and playing with the box. And yes, he likes trucks, but he doesn't need that many big ones.

I wish I could send a nice present to your kids - all kids - who are struggling in anyway because I empathize and I remember.

But please do not feel shame. In this economy, any of us could be in that situation in no time. There is no shame in poverty.
post #71 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
The way I see it, you don't like the gifts they buy, now they aren't going to buy gifts. Problem solved! I just wonder if your children will appreciate you ruining their relationship with their grandparents over material things.
Is there any indication that the OP has ruined their relationship with their grandparents? Seriously?
post #72 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
The way I see it, you don't like the gifts they buy, now they aren't going to buy gifts. Problem solved! I just wonder if your children will appreciate you ruining their relationship with their grandparents over material things.


That's kind of a short, snippy comment. But I will take the criticism because I asked for all opinions.

I truly do not want to ruin the relationship between grandchild (just one) and grandparent.

And, again, I didn't say anything to my inlaws. I wasn't even there.

Would something like this ruin a relationship?
post #73 of 122
Now that I've read the whole thread, OP, I think it might be good to talk to the parents who successfully said "no more trucks". How did they go about that without insulting the grandparents?

Also, I see no problem with donating unused gifts, and frankly, have you seen all the articles everywhere, every magazine and newspaper about returns and regifting? This is actually what probably 75-95% of people do.

Are there people here who think that keeping the sweater that was literally 3 sizes too big would have been better than exchanging it for the same one in the right size? I did that today. Saw tons of the same thing going on at the store.

We often get too many toys for our small space. Once in a while it's malicious, but usually it's just that they don't live here, and it's not their kids.

Not to mention, you're really talking about duplicate gifts here, ride on trucks year after year and holiday after holiday are NOT new gifts, it's the same gift in a different color. I got 2 of the same DVD for Christmas. The two people (DH and my brother) knew I wanted it, but 2 of it is obviously pointless. Now, DH was there when I opened his and the one from my brother. My brother doesn't know. I said thank you and how much I wanted that DVD at both openings. One will get returned. How exactly would keeping 2 copies of it be respectful to the relationship with either of them?

DD got a DVD that we already own. The idea was fantastic, she ADORES that movie. She didn't say "I already have this." She said "Wow! I looooooove Mary Poppins!" But keeping it won't help anyone. That'll get exchanged for something she doesn't have. They'll probably never know, and that's fine.

Now I would try to rebuild the relationship, and just say that you really want to spend time with them rather than any material item from them. Can you start a new tradition that involves something you can do with them, a day after Christmas brunch or visit to a museum or something?

Lastly, have you seen this? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/ga...stuff.html?hpw It put stuff in perspective for me that my relatives are not THAT bad. I think this is one of the key issues behind overgifting relatives: "Her sister, Mrs. Stratton, agrees, and insists that she doesn’t buy more toys for the twins than she bought for her own children." She seems not to recognize the difference between appropriate giving levels for your OWN children and your grand-nieces and grand-nephews. It seems to be common among baby boomers. I told DH to remind me of that when we're grandparents. Grandparents are not the kids parents, and shouldn't gift like parents!
post #74 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
Is there any indication that the OP has ruined their relationship with their grandparents? Seriously?
Thanks. And to answer the question, I hope not. I don't think it will ruin the relationship between grandchild and grandparent.

It probably will put further strain on their relationship with me. Even though I wasn't there and didn't say a word to them, they'll see this as coming solely from me.



I don't know...there are other issues at play, of course...but we don't need so many large plastic ride-on trucks. And I remember them giving basically the same kind of toy to their step children when they were in their teens to less than enthusiastic reaction from the teens/pre-teens.



I'm not ungrateful. There are some things my inlaws have done well and they've gotten lots of gratitude.

But after a few years of letting this one go, and when all needs aren't met, I feel like it's kind of a waste to spend the money on the big trucks that we don't need, when there are things we do need. It would be nice if there was some way to take this message to them without offending them, but that probably isn't realistic.
post #75 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
Now that I've read the whole thread, OP, I think it might be good to talk to the parents who successfully said "no more trucks". How did they go about that without insulting the grandparents?
Good point.

Well, I think they probably were a little offended by the other parents, too, at first. Or maybe disappointed.

But DH's brother is a little better at talking to his parents about these kind of things than DH is, I think, from what I've seen. Also, DH's dad doesn't seem to want to piss off DH's brother so usually does things he wants. Again, though, I'm not that close, so I could be wrong. Just my impression.
post #76 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
Not to mention, you're really talking about duplicate gifts here, ride on trucks year after year and holiday after holiday are NOT new gifts, it's the same gift in a different color. I got 2 of the same DVD for Christmas. The two people (DH and my brother) knew I wanted it, but 2 of it is obviously pointless. Now, DH was there when I opened his and the one from my brother. My brother doesn't know. I said thank you and how much I wanted that DVD at both openings. One will get returned. How exactly would keeping 2 copies of it be respectful to the relationship with either of them?
Good point. Why hadn't I thought of it this way? They really are duplicate gifts (some of them). And some are just inappropriate (too many pieces, choking hazard, etc).
post #77 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
Now I would try to rebuild the relationship, and just say that you really want to spend time with them rather than any material item from them. Can you start a new tradition that involves something you can do with them, a day after Christmas brunch or visit to a museum or something?
Thank you. Yes, I would very much like to do that, eventually. I'm still kind of offended by things they've said, so I think a little time would be good for both sides.

It seems so reasonable to think brunch or a museum, right? But they said to DH, I guess, that they do not like going places and they do not like eating in restaurants anymore.

It would seem it's a function of them getting older, perhaps, but they still do travel a great deal and a great distance (flights) to see their other set of grandkids multiple weeks a year. They end up spending like 4 weeks there and 4 days with our child, which they see as fair because it's 4 visits for each. That's what they told us, so that's what we have to go with, I guess.

post #78 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
Lastly, have you seen this? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/ga...stuff.html?hpw It put stuff in perspective for me that my relatives are not THAT bad.
Oh, good article! Thanks for sharing. I actually have read the book from the author they quote: Susan Linn, a psychologist and the author of “The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World."

That book, and a few others, and lots of articles I've read, and just my own convictions are why I feel the way I do about toys.

And, may I just say, the picture for that article is hilariously over the top.
post #79 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post


That's kind of a short, snippy comment. But I will take the criticism because I asked for all opinions.

I truly do not want to ruin the relationship between grandchild (just one) and grandparent.

And, again, I didn't say anything to my inlaws. I wasn't even there.

Would something like this ruin a relationship?
It really wasn't meant to be snippy. Just stating that you actually got your wish which may not be a bad thing.

It doesn't really matter if you didn't say anything to your inlaws. I would imagine they know that some of the objection is coming from you. (Just noticed you stated this in your previous post). Also, you indicated that the relationship is already strained so maybe the gifts are just a symptom of a bigger problem.

The ILs must be pretty special people to be able to maintain a great relationship with your child and have a strained relationship with you. I say this from personal experience. DH and I had an issue with his parents and his parents chose not to see our children as a result. I hope this is not the case with your ILs (I am projecting here I am sure).

Anyway, you have told them your preference, given them suggestions, and talked to them directly and they still ignored you. If they want to "waste' their money on things, there really is nothing else you can do. Just do what you can to preserve the relationship.
post #80 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
The way I see it, you don't like the gifts they buy, now they aren't going to buy gifts. Problem solved! I just wonder if your children will appreciate you ruining their relationship with their grandparents over material things.
I hope this isn't the case for the OP and her family, but some times not having a relationship with a grandparent is for the best.
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