Yes. That. Exactly that.
I think if instead of gifts people gave time, there would be SO much less giving. People think they show love by giving, giving, giving.
I know a family that won't buy Barbie or never let their girls play with Barbie because they feel it is degrading to women and paints a picture in little girls heads that a female should have a *perfect* body. (Similar to the way magazine models are portrayed theory).
I know a lot of people feel this way, but I played with Barbies for YEARS and I've never had any of those issues. Neither did my friends who played with Barbies. Now, I'm not saying that maybe Barbie shouldn't get a more realistic makeover, but I think there are a lot of other factors that play into developing body image. My stepmom is always talking crap to me (STILL!) and my younger sisters about our weight; I kind of blew it off but I can see it's affected my half-sisters very deeply.
(Sorry, that was kind of OT.)
With the state of the economy (now) savings bonds or saver cd's may not be the best option, but cash always works. That said, kids want a *gift* and something tangible. Maybe well-meaning relatives can take your child somewhere special and do something with them (amusement park, ?) Time is a gift t hat cannot be returned and will always be remembered. IMHO
We specifically ask for 'experience' gifts for our DS...the best gifts are certainly not tangible and until a certain age, how would they know they didn't receive anything from so-and-so? We are constantly questioning all these occasions where gifts are expected and received before DS (almost 2) gets to the age of expecting things.
In line with this thread...we received two plactic made in china gifts this week after we were asked for a list of recommendations for DS. Although we can get away with exchanging them (which we did today) because we don't have family in town, I can imagine it being awkward if you do. The thing that bugs me as much as getting the crap is that retailers are making oodles from things we don't want/ need. For one of our returns, we received a $13 in store credit. The toy was put back on the shelf for $26 five minutes later. I feel bad for the money the relative wasted and furious because we never shop for DS unless it's second hand as we can't afford to, and here you have big business eating it up. ARGH!