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Christmas gifts that are continually not ideal, and general etiquette - Page 5

post #81 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
It really wasn't meant to be snippy. Just stating that you actually got your wish which may not be a bad thing.
Thanks. I'm sure you didn't mean to be snippy. Even if you had intended it, that's OK. I asked for all perspectives. I don't ever want to post and just here my own opinion given back to me. That would be boring, and pointless! So, I appreciate the criticism. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
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.
You are absolutely correct. I wasn't there, I didn't say anything, but, yes, I am certain they think it's coming mainly from me. Yes, there are bigger problems with them (I think they are often unfair and somewhat neglectful, I guess. They think their 4 visits a year are just fine.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
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).

Sorry to hear of your own inlaw struggles. Yes, one good thing I can say about my inlaws is that they don't take their dislike of me out on our child, directly. I'm sure they still love their grandchild.

I have heard from them, and through DH, a few different versions about why they visit one set of grandchildren 4 weeks a year (further away) and our child 4 days a year (closer to them physically).

I've heard it's me. Then I've heard it's not me and that they see it as fair because 4 visits equal 4 visits, doesn't matter to them if it's weeks or days. And I've heard a few other things, but I won't go into detail. So, they are special in some ways to still maintain a relationship, but they are by no means perfect, and sometimes I don't think they are even that good, but they certainly aren't bad. They can be a bit absent, is all, while paying a great deal of attention to the other grandchildren. The gifts is just one arena. We get the aforementioned large trucks every year, it seems, and the other grandchildren get some pretty nice, sometimes very generous gifts that their parents help to pick out. Oh well, it's not in my control and all I can do it let it go, even if it is not fair. It's not up to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
IAnyway, 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.
Good point. I have to stop looking at it as a waste, I guess.

I think that is my problem with it. I try hard to meet all my child's needs, like most parents, I think. We come close, but we don't have all needs met (I'm distinguishing from wants). It would be really, really, really nice if our inlaws are going to spend this money anyway, if they could spend it on things we actually need, or if that's not fun for them, as has been pointed out, and they would rather buy "fun" stuff then something that maybe DH and I were going to buy anyway so that we can then spend the money on a need.

I should just try to not maximize and economize and be as efficient as I try to be about things. I don't like clutter, or waste, and my frugal nature says if they are going to spend the money anyway, let it be on something useful! But it's not my money so I guess I really don't have a say.

But I do think I have a say about whether it stays or gets donated.
post #82 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
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.
My inlaws have some issues, and I have some too, and we don't always get along and lately we often don't get along, but I don't think they are the kind of people to end a relationship because we don't like or approve of a few toys they purchased for Christmas.

So that's one thing to be thankful for.
post #83 of 122
It's been interesting to read all of this.

Having a kid has really challenged me in the gift recieving area. I've always felt being grateful for gifts is very important. I appreciated everything and held onto it for a long time, even if I didn't really use it. My family gives mostly modest presents, and then in my twenties I was broke and made good use of just about everything, so it was easy to handle gifts gracefully.

My (friendly but buttinski) IL's got the hint back at homebirthing that we do things differently at our house, and have been rather good about asking whether stuff is appropriate. But then this year at Thanksgiving, MIL give DS one of her million Santas, and I guess I inadvertently gave her "a look", since she gave us a really unreasonable amount of Christmas decorations and Santas when we got married, more than we can store or want. She commented on my look, made it a lot bigger a deal than it was, and said that since she's the grandma, she gets to give DS whatever she wants, or something like that.

So then, she gave DS (age 3) a Fisher Price video game sports toy thing. She knows we don't do really do TV (only watch DVD's and stream from Netflix, no more than an hour or two a day, if that), and that I strictly limit what sorts of things he can watch. I'm sure I've told her why we're very limited with TV, and why I don't think it's good for young kids. DH wants me to compromise on this one, put the toy on the TV in his office and only let him play when DH is there. But I've compromised on a lot of things over the years to make MIL happy, and this one pretty clearly violates what I think is okay.

I think she meant well, because DS loves sports, but I'd rather have him chasing a ball around the house than pretending to hit one on a video game. I strongly feel that video game sports are not sports. And it seems like, after her comment, this is some kind of challenge from her to me. Also, she made her own mother take back a Nintendo for DH when he was a teenager, so turnabout is fair play on this one, I think.
post #84 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebemommy View Post
It's been interesting to read all of this.

Having a kid has really challenged me in the gift recieving area. I've always felt being grateful for gifts is very important. I appreciated everything and held onto it for a long time, even if I didn't really use it. My family gives mostly modest presents, and then in my twenties I was broke and made good use of just about everything, so it was easy to handle gifts gracefully.

My (friendly but buttinski) IL's got the hint back at homebirthing that we do things differently at our house, and have been rather good about asking whether stuff is appropriate. But then this year at Thanksgiving, MIL give DS one of her million Santas, and I guess I inadvertently gave her "a look", since she gave us a really unreasonable amount of Christmas decorations and Santas when we got married, more than we can store or want. She commented on my look, made it a lot bigger a deal than it was, and said that since she's the grandma, she gets to give DS whatever she wants, or something like that.

So then, she gave DS (age 3) a Fisher Price video game sports toy thing. She knows we don't do really do TV (only watch DVD's and stream from Netflix, no more than an hour or two a day, if that), and that I strictly limit what sorts of things he can watch. I'm sure I've told her why we're very limited with TV, and why I don't think it's good for young kids. DH wants me to compromise on this one, put the toy on the TV in his office and only let him play when DH is there. But I've compromised on a lot of things over the years to make MIL happy, and this one pretty clearly violates what I think is okay.

I think she meant well, because DS loves sports, but I'd rather have him chasing a ball around the house than pretending to hit one on a video game. I strongly feel that video game sports are not sports. And it seems like, after her comment, this is some kind of challenge from her to me. Also, she made her own mother take back a Nintendo for DH when he was a teenager, so turnabout is fair play on this one, I think.
OK, thanks so much for your post! This is really close to my situation (OP here).

I too never really said anything before kids...well, never said anything. I just accepted with a smile, and then donated if I didn't want it or need it. My inlaws for the most part have been pretty good with gifts for DH and for me over the years. Here and there my MIL would get something I didn't like personally, but it was no big deal. Often, though, she did pretty well. I still have two necklaces she bought me over 10 years ago...that is how much I liked them. I've also liked other things she's gotten and appreciated them for the gifts and spirit in which they were given.

With grandchildren it's been a little different. I don't know why. But I think they are more inserting their values and defending to a small extent how they raised their kids (tv, video games, electronics, and trips to Toys R Us to pick out what they wanted).

I am different. I was raised differently. I think differently. I would prefer to be tv free, or tv only for the dvds, but that is a compromise with DH who loves tv. I would prefer to have simple toys and not too many. I would rather have music classes, art classes, a museum family pass, etc than a bunch of toys. But DH likes stuff. Again, another compromise.

I don't like the loud, obnoxious, close-ended, commercialized, characterized to make your kid want more toys from that line kind of toys. And we don't need so many darn trucks! Not to mention the gender issue and open ended, non-violent play issue.

Deep down, I want to be gracious and accepting, and I want to want their gifts. But I don't want them. They don't fit into my plan for raising my child, and when they duplicate basically the same gift year after year it just becomes clutter.

I liked someone else's analogy of formula and disposable diapers they were given at their shower.

My MIL kind of supported breast feeding, but also seemed to think it was somehow an affront to her choice to formula feed, she once gave my infant a pacifier when I had made it clear I was not using them and that I was struggling with latching and the lactation consultant had said no pacifiers at that time, and there have been other philosophical things like that. I would like to raise my child vegetarian (another compromise with DH and we are not, but we limit meat) and even before our child was born FIL made comments about giving his right to give burgers to grandchildren. Smoking was another issue...we don't smoke, they do. So, it's kind of ongoing philosophical and lifestyle differences.

I sometimes get the feeling they judge me and they are inserting some of their own values and will into their gifts. I get lots of eyerolls and sighs. They either really don't understand or they don't want to try to understand.

And it never really mattered until it really mattered, you know what I mean? It mattered when my baby was involved. And now things don't go smoothly because I'm always disagreeing with them...not to disagree, but because we genuinely think differently.
post #85 of 122
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.


i've been on both ends of being a broke, single mom and hardly being able to afford anything for my children, and to now where i can give them things they want. i was just saying to my husband how emotionally painful it was when i was a single mom and i couldn't give more to the kids. thankfully, they were quite a bit younger and really don't remember.

and that is why i feel good about donating unused gifts that we simply do not need (either because of space or just having too many toys) or even want, because i would have really appreciated when i was a single mom to be able to walk into the thrift store and buy a nice, unopened, unused item for my child at a reasonable price.

i think you can still be very grateful for the thought but donate the gift at the same time
post #86 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandib50 View Post


i've been on both ends of being a broke, single mom and hardly being able to afford anything for my children, and to now where i can give them things they want. i was just saying to my husband how emotionally painful it was when i was a single mom and i couldn't give more to the kids. thankfully, they were quite a bit younger and really don't remember.

and that is why i feel good about donating unused gifts that we simply do not need (either because of space or just having too many toys) or even want, because i would have really appreciated when i was a single mom to be able to walk into the thrift store and buy a nice, unopened, unused item for my child at a reasonable price.

i think you can still be very grateful for the thought but donate the gift at the same time
Nicely said. I agree.

I think that will continue to be my policy. Gratitude, but donate things that are duplicate, unnecessary, or inappropriate for our household by our choice.

The tricky part is when they ask where the toys are. And not hurting their feelings with the answer.

I guess I can (with some consideration) get over the idea that they are wasting their money and it is an opportunity lost for things we might need that cost the same amount of money because 1) it's not their responsibility to provide needs, it's ours and 2) it's their money and their decision.



Thanks all. Wow, I didn't expect so many responses.
post #87 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Nicely said. I agree.

I think that will continue to be my policy. Gratitude, but donate things that are duplicate, unnecessary, or inappropriate for our household by our choice.

The tricky part is when they ask where the toys are. And not hurting their feelings with the answer.

I guess I can (with some consideration) get over the idea that they are wasting their money and it is an opportunity lost for things we might need that cost the same amount of money because 1) it's not their responsibility to provide needs, it's ours and 2) it's their money and their decision.



Thanks all. Wow, I didn't expect so many responses.
i think letting go of what they are giving your children and all that it means is the best thing. and if they ask where the toys are, then the best you can do is to honestly and politely explain where they are and why. ultimately, you are not responsible for their feelings, just as they are not responsible for how you react to the gifts they give you.
post #88 of 122
I completely understand your frustration, OP. SEVEN of these things is just ridiculous. Yes, you love the people, blah, blah, blah. But things are not people. So getting rid of what you don't have space for is NOT the same as getting rid of the people. It's not even getting rid of their kindness. It's JUST getting rid of the STUFF. So donate them on Freecyle already.
post #89 of 122
I find this discussion very interesting.

I have problems with gifts from my MIL and I don't even have kids yet (hopefully soon though) so it can only get worse.

She is a shopaholic and loves to buy stuff for us but I ask her to return more than half of what she buys us (for example she has over time bought us 4 food processors, 1 blender and 2 electric mixers).

My SIL just had a baby, the first grandchild for my MIL, and at Christmas she literally gave my 4 month old neice a mountain of toys, including one very space consuming child-sized pink plastic armchair which was meant for a toddler or pre-schooler. SIL asked MIL to return that one.

The reason I have no problem asking her to return so many of these gifts (other than the fact that I have no use for them) is that my MIL truly cannot afford these gifts. I know this because she frequently asks DH for money to pay for stuff like food or gas after spending her whole paycheque on gifts we don't want.

Luckily for all of us, MIL is not offended when we ask her to return things and we have a good relationship. But I sure am not looking forward to the mountains of toys at christmas!
post #90 of 122
We had this problem with my in-laws. We would just thank them and then re gift or donate if we couldn't use what was given. I don't think this is rude. When they were visiting once, we went into a second hand store where we often exchange clothes and they still had this particular coat (mentioned below) out on display. I felt a little bad because in laws saw it. They were pouty for a day or so then got over it and now they ask us for suggestions.

I disagree with everyone saying it is rude to donate unwanted items. I genuinely don't want a winter coat with fur on it for my 1.5 year old who already has two winter coats. That is why I create wish lists, because our families don't live close and therefore don't know what my kids are into. Its the same for me with my nieces and nephews. We are always grateful that someone gives us a gift. But then its our gift to do with as we see fit. I think it is rude to buy someone a gift that you would love for them without thinking if it is something they would like. Gifts should be given with the reciever in mind.
post #91 of 122
I don't try to dictate what gifts others can buy. That's just rude. If asked, I'll give suggestions, but only if asked. If we get an awful gift we smile and say thank you.

Once given, the gift belongs to the recipient. If you want to donate it or sell it or trash it, that's entirely up to you. I don't think there's anything rude about it. What is rude is trying to dictate what the recipient does with the gift.
post #92 of 122
Gift giving is also weird with my ILs. MIL will ask for ideas, because we have lots of stuff already, and she honestly would like to buy something that the kids want/need/will use. So I show her my list, that I keep over the year, of things I noticed my kids asking for repeatedly. But then behind the scenes FIL wants to buy one *big* thing of his own choosing, every year. And he is horrible at choosing gifts. So they buy one big surprise, and then something inspired from my list. Yet, MIL will not tell me if she bought anything off my list. I say, "That was the list I was going to use for selecting our gifts for the kids, so if you bought something off the list I need to know so that I don't buy the same thing." But she WON'T tell me. Ack!!!

They are generous to a fault, but... this year, they selected a huge motorized telescope on a tripod, which is wayyyy too delicate for the kids (ages 5 and 2) to use for years. Very cool, but we have literally nowhere to store it and it won't be usable for years!!! When DS1 was 2, ILs bought him a big, expensive Lionel train set - also frustrating for DS and unusable (by him) for years, while we stored it in our cluttered, cluttered house. They bought BIL a blu-ray player last year, and again, a newer, better one for him this year. They bought BIL a video camera one year and then a newer, better video camera the next year. They knew I bought a color laser printer less than a year ago, and guess what they bought DH and me for Christmas? A bigger, better color laser printer (meanwhile, we would have loved a blu-ray player or a video camera).

I feel terrible complaining - these are huge expensive gifts! However, it seems sooo sooo sooo wasteful! I can't stand to think about how wasteful it is! It's a double-edged sword - it really *is* wasteful to buy $300-$400 replacements for perfectly good items we already own, but it is also crappy for me to complain. (Oh and the ILs bought remote control vehicles for the kids, too this year. But since they wouldn't tell me what they bought off of my list that they asked to see, we also bought remote control vehicles. Waste waste waste.)

ETA: My mom, OTOH, prefers to buy off my list provided there is something on the list that resonates with her - as a result, the kids think she is the greatest gift-giver ever because she always seems to know just what they want... and she spends far less than the ILs.
post #93 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsiLeaf View Post
And to just donate them, that is even ruder. They spent their hard earned money on gifts and you are essentially throwing them away.
Actually, I think donating them is the best solution if the ILs are going to continue to give inappropriate gifts. We have some similar issues as we honestly don't have the space for many of the gifts we receive and we have grandparents that express love through gifts, ie - the bigger the gift, the mroe I love you. After having to ask my mother repeatedly to only buy gifts on "gift-giving occasions", um, holidays and birthdays, she countered with, well just take them back. Great, then I get to be the bad guy and tell my 2 year old he can't keep the giant stuffed Thomas the Tank Engine...
post #94 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrclay View Post
Actually, I think donating them is the best solution if the ILs are going to continue to give inappropriate gifts. We have some similar issues as we honestly don't have the space for many of the gifts we receive and we have grandparents that express love through gifts, ie - the bigger the gift, the mroe I love you. After having to ask my mother repeatedly to only buy gifts on "gift-giving occasions", um, holidays and birthdays, she countered with, well just take them back. Great, then I get to be the bad guy and tell my 2 year old he can't keep the giant stuffed Thomas the Tank Engine...
Just a thought.. have you concidered donating the old ones and using the new ones??
post #95 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimberlyD0 View Post
Just a thought.. have you concidered donating the old ones and using the new ones??
I am not the one you are asking, but I have the same problem, and have found that none of the charity organizations around us are interested in already-been-used toys. I am not talking about beat up stained or worn out toys either. I have searched on the Internet and all the local organizations I can find ask for new toys in the original box
post #96 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsiLeaf View Post
But to just give away the toys they buy for my kid with their hard earned money? Unacceptable. It's rude mannered and teaches my kid nothing about grace and manners. My kid is allowed to play with it (unless it was the totally unacceptable bratz doll my hobag ex cousin bought my kid when she was 16months old. I returned that to the store), enjoy it and when they forget about it I then donate it.
I disagree. A child certainly can learn to be appreciative of the thought behind the gift, even if that gift is not something the child would have asked to receive. As a parent, you cannot force your child to love a gift, but you can teach them to be gracious about accepting it. Personally, I would not force my child to play with a toy he didn't want, nor would I allow him to play with something that was dangerous just to spare the gift givers feelings.

I also find it rather odd that you go on and on about grace and manners, yet refer to your relative as a hobag. True grace comes from the inside, not just what we present to the outside world. True class is not something that can be faked.
post #97 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.
Send them a thank you note?
post #98 of 122
I'm a big believer in "it's the thought that counts"
So gifts where it's clear the giver put no thought into it "they told us they don't have room for ride-on trucks and that there are dozens of toys their kids would rather have, but we always give them a ride-on truck", don't deserve gratitude.

They weren't thinking of you or your son.

Hang on, is there any chance they've got some sort of mental problem? Could they have forgotten that they already got him half a dozen ride-on trucks? Do they think he's actually triplets? Or that you're running a home-based day care?
post #99 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsiLeaf View Post
Let me put it to you this way.

If I bought you a gift, I bought YOU a gift. You just up and donate it without using it just because it is something you don't like or it isn't "good enough" for you. That is really rude. Seriously. 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. Someone spent their money on you, show some respect. Just because they do not share your taste in toys, clothes or whatever, there is no reason to turn your nose up at them. Not everyone can afford or even knows about buying wooden toys that cost 60 bucks a pop! Waldorf isn't mainstream, neither is Montessori and many of the things that lots of us are into here. It just isn't. Toys with bells and whistles and lights and batteries are the NORM and most people scoff at a wooden barn.

Sometimes I wonder where people where raised. My mother raised to be gracious and accept a gift in the spirit that it was given in. I gave homemade gifts this year because I couldn't afford to buy anything really. Had anyone turned up their nose, I would have taken that gifts back and never given them something ever again.

And I am the type that thinks wish lists are darn right rude. Christmas/Holiday time is not a time to be like "I want this and I want this and I want this" The gift giving is secondary to the time spent with family. And when it comes to gift giving, I buy what I would love to buy for them because I adore them. I find it rude that someone gives me a list and then expects stuff off of there.

haven't read the whole thread...just got this far...

but then what do you do with that gift? we do not have clutter in our house. it literally drives us insane...when the house is messy we get less done, argue more, ds gets hurt more, etc etc.

year after year our in-laws buy us these large poseable santa's and some kind of fiber optic or motion art thing. these are not things that we need, use, or want. it's not that we're ungrateful, but we DO NOT want these things...and as has been stated, they just don't get it. we've tried to talk to them. they spend 100 bucks on us every year on stuff that we just won't use, and they are SERIOUSLY about to lose their house.

so what do you do with it? give it back? that would insult them more than to know that every year right after christmas I find someone on craigslist who wants the santa. and this year we just donated that 11x18 waterfall motion picture to good will.

back to kids...we usually let DS keep the toy that any grandparent gives him. like a pp said, things get lost or broken pretty quickly around here. if it's not a grandparent though, we usually are more likely to give it away. people just buy things for him because he's a kid, at christmas, and they want him to have something to open. that's the real gift. that caring sentiment. not the plastic sorting barn that's gonna go through batteries like a pregnant lady goes through underwear.
post #100 of 122
Oh, and a gift is a gift. I don't have an obligation to get someone what they ask for and I don't have any right to tell them what to do with the gift I give them.

And if I get you the same gift every year, I want you to tell me the second time I get it for you why it doesn't work. "Oh chocolates again! My co-workers loved the box you got me last year. By the way, have I mentioned my dairy allergy to you? It's astounding how many things contain milk or casein or whey."
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