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Simple Living vs. Gifts & Baby's 1st Holiday Season

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Is anyone else wondering how to navigate gifts this holiday season with a desire to live simply? We celebrate that we have loving family in our lives who want to celebrate Christmas with us, but to them that means gift-giving. I'd love to  gently steer them in a way that meets their desire to give material items with our desire to live simply. Our families ask for wish lists (and will just buy whatever if we don't provide one), so I am trying to start putting one together slowly to be proactive. Charity donations don't go over well with them (like buying a goat for a family via World Vision), they rarely choose "experience" gifts, my requests for DIY gifts have never been taken up, and they won't buy used---they want to give "normal" gifts.

 

What have you done to respectfully steer well-meaning gift-givers? What would you put on your LO's wish list (DS will be 11.5 months) that are non-plastic, non-M.I.China, etc.

 

In our own little family of three, we look forward to starting our own simple-living traditions. What are your non-gift holiday traditions?

post #2 of 16

we haven't been so specific,but via conversations and gentle steering.....

we get

books books books

fancy clothing like zutano or wool longies

nice diapers i wouldn't spend the money on

green "feeding" stuff like stainless bowl, silverware, napkins, glass bottles, etc

Waldorf or educational games or toys

good luck

Sometimes there is nothing you can do, and then we keep it for a while, and then when it is slightly forgotten, it disappears.

post #3 of 16

Interested in this thread because I too wonder how to navigate the line between not wanting certain types of gifts but wanting to respect the loving intent of the gift-giver. I'm not worried about my family, but my MIL has already given us a couple of HORRIBLE loud electronic type toys (computerized bear, noisy book). I have just quietly tucked them away and figure one or two things like that won't hurt DD as she gets older (they'll mostly hurt my nerves) but I do worry that we are in for an avalanche for such things in the months to come. MIL lives far away so we don't have to worry about her coming over and wondering where the toys she bought are.

 

One excuse we can use is to say we live in a small apartment and are really concerned about keeping clutter down, and so would like to keep gifts at a minimum. Would that work for you?

 

Oh yeah--one thing I'd like on our wish list is a walk/riding toy--you know, one of those toddler scooter things--they are pricier so maybe could convince relatives that that should be the sole gift.

post #4 of 16

Not so much for babes, but tuck this away for 2+ years from now:

magazine subscriptions (Nat Geo Kids, Highlights, etc)

arts and crafts supplies (stickers, paints, sidewalk chalk, etc)

outdoor toys, bikes, scooters, playhouses, slides, tee ball, basketball.....

 

post #5 of 16

We are about to have our twins first holiday and their first birthday all right on top of each other, so we are also planning ahead. i dont mind gifts and stuff (even though I'm sure i should declutter) but mostly i am being proactive because i would like their first gifts to be something keepsake rather than something that just goes in the pile. They haven't gotten much of anything from family, since they are all so far away but they are also not lacking for much of anything, we have a great consignment sale here 2 times a year that we have and will continue to get all day to day stuff from, its silly to have folks waste their money on similar things.

 

so I'm asking for something kinda like this:

 

"We are so blessed this year, with the twins and luckily with most of the basics we need.

Therefore I would love to suggest that you take this gift season to make a memory most of all.

I am gathering up a baby trunk for each twin, their first outfit, first shoes,

quilts I'm making them and other special items from their infancy. 

These all will be carefully stored in them once they are outgrown to be kept safe to have for a lifetime. 

 

When thinking about their first birthday, please consider getting something that would be destined for that trunk.

Including a letter and/or picture for them to look back on later would make it extra special.

If practicality is your spirit, we have set up529 College SavingsPlans for each child that can be gifted to."

 

 

 

Not sure if it is nice and helpful or will appear too bossy, what do you folks think?

 

post #6 of 16

I think it's nice.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

We are about to have our twins first holiday and their first birthday all right on top of each other, so we are also planning ahead. i dont mind gifts and stuff (even though I'm sure i should declutter) but mostly i am being proactive because i would like their first gifts to be something keepsake rather than something that just goes in the pile. They haven't gotten much of anything from family, since they are all so far away but they are also not lacking for much of anything, we have a great consignment sale here 2 times a year that we have and will continue to get all day to day stuff from, its silly to have folks waste their money on similar things.

 

so I'm asking for something kinda like this:

 

"We are so blessed this year, with the twins and luckily with most of the basics we need.

Therefore I would love to suggest that you take this gift season to make a memory most of all.

I am gathering up a baby trunk for each twin, their first outfit, first shoes,

quilts I'm making them and other special items from their infancy. 

These all will be carefully stored in them once they are outgrown to be kept safe to have for a lifetime. 

 

When thinking about their first birthday, please consider getting something that would be destined for that trunk.

Including a letter and/or picture for them to look back on later would make it extra special.

If practicality is your spirit, we have set up529 College SavingsPlans for each child that can be gifted to."

 

 

 

Not sure if it is nice and helpful or will appear too bossy, what do you folks think?

 



 

post #7 of 16

My husband and I celebrated a few no-buy Christmases and loved it and were hoping to carry that into our childrens lives, but now here we are with a babe suddenly and can't really figure out a way to do that especially since we now want to spoil the bajeebees out of him. 

 

Very few people in our family are creative or artistic in any way.    We do enjoy simple living in a lot of ways, with the exception of books.... so we're trying to stear people to either giving him their favorite childrens book, for example, but I know it's not going to go that route.

 

Reading your letter made ME feel excited, I thought it was creative and helps with the, "Well what do I get so-and-so issue" but I also know my family and they would be upset by it, how dare I tell them what to get him.  I suppose it depends on your audience.

post #8 of 16

I'm curious if there's something wrong with noise making toys?   

 

My little guy loves them and dances to them.

post #9 of 16

Hi Izzy.  There's nothing "wrong" with them.  A lot of folks on these forums steer away from them because they are usually plastic, MIC, need batteries...but if these things aren't a big deal to you and your son loves them, who cares?  I don't like them because they drive me bananas...I am sensitive to that kind of noise, but our son loves playing with that kind of stuff when he encounters it.

 

OP--I agree with books, books, and books.  I took MIL to a toy store last Christmas and sort of picked out a few items for her to get.  She is generous and ended up getting him anything I suggestion in addition to tons of extras, including "fillers" from the Dollar Store.  It is kind of maddening, but I try to accept stuff in the spirit in which it was intended.  Then I have to figure out what to do with everything...DH wants to keep it all...

 

It is hard to walk the line between grateful for people's generosity and not wanting to add more crap to an already over-crapped house.  Re-gifting, donating, passing stuff along have been things we've done.

 

There will always be folks who are grateful for suggestions, and always be folks who are annoyed that you are "telling" them what to do/give. 

post #10 of 16


For me, it's more of a personal annoyance factor than anything else. I don't mind things like rattles, etc.--but for example, MIL got DD a bear that you have to plug into the computer and load up voices and things, and then you squeeze its paw and it talks to the baby. This bothers me because it doesn't seem to allow any room for her imagination--when I was young I loved playing with my stuffed animals and I think that experience would have been a lot less rich if the animals came pre-loaded with voices and songs. Plus they sound creepy to me--so canned!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IzzyTheTerrible View Post

I'm curious if there's something wrong with noise making toys?   

 

My little guy loves them and dances to them.



 

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

Hi Izzy.  There's nothing "wrong" with them.  A lot of folks on these forums steer away from them because they are usually plastic, MIC, need batteries...but if these things aren't a big deal to you and your son loves them, who cares?  I don't like them because they drive me bananas...I am sensitive to that kind of noise, but our son loves playing with that kind of stuff when he encounters it.

 

Caedenmomma's reading my mind. Personally, I don't mind toys where LO makes the music (like a piano) but toys that play the same songs or words repetitively make me crazy. There is nothing universally "wrong" with them, they just aren't right for our family.

post #12 of 16

This is my first holiday season with a babe, so....

 

notes2.gif

 

 

post #13 of 16
zoo membership
museum membership
gymboree or any other mommy and me classes
books, books, books
post #14 of 16

I love some of these suggestions.  Maybe you could suggest that you are more interested in collecting memories than posessions.

post #15 of 16

My daughter is a little over 2 now and we still have some trouble with the in laws and too much stuff.  I would point out that if you don't limit it now, it will take over your life.  We recently moved and didn't unpack a huge box of toys because they take over our living space.  But it is pretty hard to limit because gift giving and valuing stuff is so much a part of our society (maybe most societies?).  We go to a yard sale and people want to give our daughter stuffed animals, we go to dinner at a friend's house and they bought her a doll...it just goes on and on.  On the bright side, if there are things that you will want, take advantage of the holidays to ask for them because people really seem to enjoy giving gifts to children and you might as well make the most of it. 

post #16 of 16

We make suggestions for what we want, and if we get stuff that we don't, we give it away to another family that could use it.

 

I consider us to be very fortunate that we have "plenty", and if we have too much, rather than make an issue out of it, I just spread the wealth with others.

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