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Crying on Christmas! :-( - Page 2

post #21 of 48

I so feel your pain. My MIL is the same way. She goes way over the top. We return 90% of what she buys every year. I don't say anything about the amount of things she buys though, because it is her joy. She is retired and does not really do anything with her time. She starts buying for Christmas in August and just goes crazy. But she is so happy with her dining room piled high with boxes and when the UPS man comes to drop off packages, I can't take that away from her. It is how she shows her love, as twisted as that sounds to us. She has been watching DS1 two days a week for a few months and every time she comes, she brings him at least one thing (usually a matchbox car and cookies). I am constantly trying to simplify our lives and home and choose not to have all those things at our house, but that is not something she can understand. We still have toys in their packages from DS1's first Christmas. I always thought we would open them someday when he ran low on toys. HA!

 

I just wish she was more thoughtful in her gift choices. We told her before we had kids that she should not buy the plastic battery powered toys she was buying for our nephew, because we did not want them in our house. The first two years she did pretty well but, this year was battery-apoloza. It was crazy. Luckily, she includes gift receipts now. It took us years to convince her to get them. Every year she buys me some sort of cheap yellow-gold jewelry. I don't wear jewelry -except two rings which are NOT yellow gold. She has never seen me wear any of this, but I get a new one every year.

 

After everything is open, and for weeks after, she asks us over and over if we liked all our presents and if everything was ok. 

 

So I guess you have to decide if it is worth making a fuss over. For me, it's not. We do a VERY low-key Christmas, in part because I know MIL will go OTT, and I know that the values of meaningful and minimal gift-giving are what will stick with my boys since that is how we live our everyday lives.

post #22 of 48


I agree with this. It's so not worth getting upset over. I think you're less upset about the 'stuff' and more about the fact that she doesn't 'get it' or respect what you're trying to do. The sooner you let that dream go, the better. There will be a lot of people in this world who won't 'get it' and will try to step over boundaries (no matter how well-meaning or well-intentioned) and if you cried every time that happened, you'd be a sniveling mess every day lol

 

That having been said, I don't for a minute think you should just go along with it or agree with it. Just gracefully accept the presents (they already know how you feel and are choosing to ignore it), then donate, sell, return for store credit, whatever --- without any guilt. If they ask "where's Johnny's big plastic noisy whatever" you can say with confidence, "we donated it". If they are all "shocked" and "upset", you can respectfully say, "with all due respect MIL, we've explained our position on 230482094 toys more than once, and although you've made the decision to continue purchasing an overabundance of presents, we still hold the same position and have chosen to pass them along where they are more needed and appreciated. It's nothing personal, but nonetheless an important philosophy our family holds dear and plans to uphold"... lather, rinse, repeat.

 

Yes, in a perfect world MIL would magically get it and do exactly what you would like but this isn't a perfect world. No sense in getting all bent out of shape about it, really. Just do what you want anyway, trying to be tactful about it of course, but still living the way you've decided is best for your family -- and release the rest.

 

You'll be so much happier and won't be crying on Christmas Day anymore. Promise.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by minta View Post

Honestly, I think you just have to get over it. And I say that with kindness, as someone who often receives much too much. Some people just can't help themselves, but that doesn't mean you have to make their tendency to go OTT your problem. You have already shared your views and given your MIL the opportunity to save her money, so now there is no reason why you can't regift everything she gives you, or sell it on, or just donate it. They are gifts, and as such, you can do what you will with them without guilt or obligation.

 

I will say I "cured" my own mother by telling her my kids were done with some of the larger, noisier, plastic toys she had given them and told her that I no longer wanted to store them and would be passing them on, and she was so horrified to think she'd wasted all that money that she actually packed them all in her suitcase and took them back home (to do what with, I don't know!) She still has the need to buy big things for my kids, but at least now she asks what they need and doesn't just go buying big for the sake of it IYKWIM?

 

You don't have to hate your MIL and you don't have to be crying on Christmas. It's just stuff, and you are attaching too much importance to it. Just let it go -- back to your MIL, to a charity shop, a garage sale, whatever. :)

post #23 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vanessa View Post


I guess I have a differing view. She's their grandparent, and she can give them what she wants. You can strongly urge, suggest, recommend, and hope for a change, though.

 



I agree with this to an extent. A gift should not have rules. It's up to the recipient to decide what to do with said gifts.

 

I think some people simply don't understand what simple or minimalist means. Perhaps grandma feels that if she doesn't give her grandchildren many gifts they won't feel loved or remembered. Silly, but just how some people operate. Maybe she thinks the kids will come to resent her down the line for so few gifts??

post #24 of 48

OP, I'm so with you. We got a ton of things that I won't even ever use - not age appropriate toys for DS, random lotions for me, house cluttering things. My favorite gift was a homemade bottle of Vanilla extract that MIL made, it was awesome, - I would've been so happy if she stopped at that. I really have too much stuff already. But, my DH's family loves opening tons of gifts on christmas so that's what we do (and then I declutter later) eyesroll.gif

post #25 of 48

I'm sorry, OP. It really bugs me when I see people totally overshadow what the parents can do. (I've never really had to deal with it, but we do have someone in the extended family who used to try it, and who did it to my sister. She seems to have stopped, though.) And, honestly, I'd be crying, too. I find decluttering very difficult, and even "just" donating or giving things away is a lot of work for me (I know that's not true for everybody), logistically. Receiving a giant pile of toys like that would be really hard for me to handle and I could see it wrecking Christmas...except that I have practice at turning my mood around on Christmas, because of family drama of other kinds). I have no tips on how to handle it, though. I'm very fortunate in that my relatives are all very sane about their Christmas shopping. We got a total of two gifts that made me kind of go "eek" (a Bratz doll for dd1 and a V-Tech learning bug for dd2), and my kids loved them both. I can roll with two gifts like that...but getting a whole pile would just be overwhelming.

post #26 of 48

This may not help you since in your case the grandparents live so far away, but one year when I was a bit fed up and hadn't learned how to discreetly discard yet (my mom could totally go head to head with the gma you are talking about) I invited grandma to babysit at OUR house.  I thought she could play with dd and all her new toys so that she could see what she really liked to play with, what she didn't, etc.  It went better than expected.  After they played for a few hours, I came back from my errands and my mom said that she couldn't believe how much stuff dd had.  She couldn't even think of anything that might be missing.  WooHoo!  So, now (while she still tends to go overboard) I steer her in a better direction.  She buys stuff that we can use up. . . like craft supplies.  Last year she bought riding lessons for the girls.  She tries to stick to 4 packages to open--but she also fills a stocking with 'little stuff'.  But, the 'little stuff' can at least all fit in a stocking--and it is usually useful stuff too like undies, cool socks, new bubble bath, etc.  

 

Amy

post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post

Sure wish my MIL knew that!

 

Over the years she has completely ignored my suggestions for what I knew the children wanted...and always been very firm about giving what she thought was a good thing for them to get...hence they ended up with things they had no interest in which just became clutter in their bedrooms.

 

 
Well, I'd say that it doesn't matter if _she_ knows it, what matters is that you know that you have every right to either refuse to let those things enter the house, or make them go away. They don't need to be cluttering their bedrooms. Your rights as a parent overrides her nonexistent "right" to impose inappropriate gifts on your household.
 
Crayfish
 
 
post #28 of 48

Ok this thread is seriously making me appreciate the fact that the only things my MIL sends the girls are clothing (we have lived over here for almost 4 years, shes only sent us 2 boxes) and toys that she has preapproved through DH or myself. She knows Im "odd" when it comes to toys so she rather ask us before sending us stuff.

 

We did spend 1 Christmas with them. She got each child one gift but neither was played with. They weren't "bad" but they weren't the girls style either. They broke really quickly (which she quickly figured out why I spend more and get wood after she saw them break) so I didn't have to drag them back here with us. My SIL was bad though, she deliberately got them things she KNEW I wouldn't want because she thinks Im a bad mother for keeping it from them. Yea, It wasn't exactly a happy Christmas specially since I wouldn't let them wear the items (it was spaghetti strap Dora shirts and pants with Dora written across the butt, my children don't watch dora and I don't allow spaghetti straps/things written across their backsides. In fact the girls rarely wear pants and only under skirts..)

 

ETA- I do feel somewhat bad for my MIL last Christmas. She decided that ALL women liked bath stuff so got me a full line of bath and body works vanilla products. Usually I love vanilla scent but Im very prone to migranes and the Bath and Body works stuff is sure to give me a severe one. She felt so bad about it afterwards. I tried not to let her know (I was just going to give it to someone I knew who loved that stuff) but DH let it slip right before we left.

post #29 of 48


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

Then I pulled out a garbage bag and started loading it with the presents that didn't seem to interest DD and DS.  They are brand spanking new, but there are no gift receipts.  So on Monday, I'm hauling them into the local consignment store, and I'll either pocket the cash or use the store credit to get them some spring clothes.  I'm not even worried about what I'll say to them.  I can't think that far ahead.  I just want the %#$^$%^ stuff out of my house!!!!


The toys belong to your DC, I feel they need to have say in what is done with them.

post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by OkiMom View Post

Ok this thread is seriously making me appreciate the fact that the only things my MIL sends the girls are clothing (we have lived over here for almost 4 years, shes only sent us 2 boxes) and toys that she has preapproved through DH or myself. She knows Im "odd" when it comes to toys so she rather ask us before sending us stuff.


These threads always make me very grateful for my family and my in-laws. We don't have anybody who goes overboard (except me, with stocking stuffers).

post #31 of 48
In the 17 Christmases dd1 has had, and the 11 dd2 has had, want to know how many gifts they have received in total from one side of grandparents? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

I think you need to be grateful that your kids' grandparents are involved enough and care enough to shower your children with gifts at Christmas. Being ignored is a whole lot worse.
post #32 of 48

i think at 1 and 2 the kids don't need to have a say in what is done with their toys. what would they even say to 20 toys a piece anyway? i mean really that is just nuts. 

i get the whole loving the child and wanting to express it in a material way, but that is just way way too much. even if it was all wooden and natural it would still be over board.

plus i am not a HUGE fan of things used to express love, it is a bit worped and not what i want my kids to know as a way to express their love for someone or how to expect people to love them. 

 

h

post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post

In the 17 Christmases dd1 has had, and the 11 dd2 has had, want to know how many gifts they have received in total from one side of grandparents? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

I think you need to be grateful that your kids' grandparents are involved enough and care enough to shower your children with gifts at Christmas. Being ignored is a whole lot worse.


I agree 100%. Your children's grandparents obviously care very much for their grandkids & I highly doubt that they are being generous with gifts just to make you mad.

Is it really a burden to store a few Thomas trains as opposed to just one? My nephews both adore Thomas & they can sit & play with those trains for hours.

post #34 of 48

Another idea is to use it as an opportunity to donate toys to kids who really need the distraction, at Ronald McDonald Houses.

 

http://rmhc.org/how-you-can-help/other-ways-to-get-involved/toy-and-food-donation-program/

post #35 of 48

Can I have your MIL??? PLEASE!  My MIL got my 1 year old socks and the 2010 version of a bear she already has the 2008 version of. She has visited me 3 times in 20 months and she lived across the street. My IL's were so excited.. "there are SO many presents for her!" and there were 2 toys. Two. From 3 families of 4. I could only afford to get her 2 weeble dolls and some dollar store wooden train. This is my whine. I'm not superficial. When I was little my mom use to wrap everything up including the kitchen sink in newspaper so it looked like I got sooo much even if I really didn't get anything. The fun part is the excitement. Maybe I just miss my mom :(

post #36 of 48

I'm going to come back and read the rest of the replies, but I have to say that I can truly relate to this.  I spent time this year looking at magazines of natural, organic, and fair-trade toys and wishing that people would just spend the money and buy one or two of those items rather than 50 cheap gifts.  Both my mom AND my MIL do this.  Mom gave me 4 bags of gifts to put under the tree.  MIL has Christmas at her house at 3pm every year, despite my protests to DH.  She buys all the grandchildren a TON of gifts.  For example, I mentioned Mr. Potato Head this year because my kids are 4, 3, and 2, and like to put things together and I know no one will actually take the time to buy the gifts I really want...and the kids got 5yes.gif plus tons of accessories.

post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post

The toys belong to your DC, I feel they need to have say in what is done with them.

 

 
Given that the kids are 3 and 1, I can't agree. How is a twelve month old or even a three year old going to answer, "Would you like to keep this doll or that doll? Would you like to donate that one to charity or Freecycle it?" Edited to add: And the implied question of: "Would you rather make your grandmother happy by keeping everything or  make your mother happy by getting rid of it?" The kids don't need to be in the middle like that.
 
And even if they were old enough to choose between toys, I think that a huge inflow like this is just too much of a burden of choice to put on them. The grandparents need to respect the parents' wishes, and if they don't, I see zero problem with the toys going straight to charity without so much as entering the home.
 
Crayfish
post #38 of 48

My ils also overwhelm the kids at Christmas time. Even when my mil consciously "cuts back," it's still waaayyy too much.  This year, I stashed a bunch of the gifts (unwrapped even and the kids didn't care) in a closet to give as birthday gifts to little friends throughout the year.  

post #39 of 48
OP, you have my sympathies.

My Story:
When my oldest 2 were newborn and 2 yo this happened to us. The details were slightly different in that we were living in Germany and flew to the inlaws for the holiday. Dd open zero presents obviously and ds1 opened 1 or 2 presents, declared that he was happy and wanted some food. So we fed him. eat.gif Later, dh and I opened the rest of the gifts, packed them in boxes, put them in my in-laws basement and flew home (without the boxes). Years later we still hadn't gotten to the boxes. For several years after than she gave a book, a toy, and an outfit or coat. It was lovely. This year we have five children ages 3-14 and she sent the family a check so we could get what we wanted. I felt a little put out because she declared that we were just an item on her to-do list and this was the easiest way to cross it off. Maybe I just can't be pleased?

Why I told it:
I think you can affect change. You might even like it. Relationships take work for the duration, just because you take action once and it seems to have helped doesn't mean that the situation or your outlook won't change again. I wish parts of my extended family situation was different but I don't have it so bad, mostly because we are so spread out geographically.
Edited by mommajb - 12/28/10 at 4:49pm
post #40 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

Can I have your MIL??? PLEASE! 


Yes.  When can you fly out and get her?  lol.gif

 


Quote:

Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post

Another idea is to use it as an opportunity to donate toys to kids who really need the distraction, at Ronald McDonald Houses.

 

http://rmhc.org/how-you-can-help/other-ways-to-get-involved/toy-and-food-donation-program/


Lovely idea!  Thanks!

 

As to the rest of your posts, it's sooooooo validating to hear that as the OP, I'm not the only one with these (ahem!) issues. 

 

Your responses are quite......diverse!  I've been mulling over my own guilt and questioning whether I am indeed ungrateful.  After giving it much thought, however, I think I'm more with the "set-your-boundaries" people than the "suck-it-up-and-be-grateful people."  There's no offense intended to the latter camp. ( In fact, that approach might work better with your family, and you should definitely stick with it if it does).  Here's my own reasoning: I made a polite and fair request, and she chose not to respect it.  So my frustration is fair.  It's based on her boundary violation, not my ungratefulness.  The issue is more than an invasion of gifts; it's an invasion of our family and the values that we hope to instill in our children. 

 

Thank you again for all of the replies.  I had no idea that this was as tender of an issue for others as it is for me. 

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