I'm pretty delighted, overall, with how Christmas gift-getting went. MIL only got my ds one Learning Leapfrog deal. Otherwise, it was boots, gloves, and books. It's too bad that her "main" gift was the one we hated. Unfortunately, it came out of the box right away. We've thought about leaving electronic gifts at her house, but ds spends a good amount of time there (5-10 hours/week), and I don't really want him into Elmo, period! Even if it is out of my sight. The marketing drives me bananas. MIL obviously took into account our little wish list for ds, as evidenced by the majority of her purchases. However, she disregarded most of it with her "big" gift (no plastic, few batteries, no TV characters, open-ended, something more than one kid can play with at a time).
I really think that a previous poster hit the nail on the head: she's been marketed to, and really believes this thing will teach him songs and his ABC's, and that it's good for him. I decided to let it be around for a couple of weeks, then decide what to do with it. However, it had put it on a high shelf (along with the "free" stuffed Elmo) by 7AM this morning (12/26). Just watching ds with it for 10 minutes made me sad!!
Ds got a huge box from his great grandmother at her house, which was a plastic, electronic "learning" table thing (aged 6mo+ for my 22mo). Ick!!! Thank goodness we didn't have to take it out of the box there! Dh's aunt has an in-home daycare, and I'm sure she and MIL helped Great Grandma pick this toy. We are returning it this week. We have a little house and are going to be deliberate in what toys are influencing our children. I haven't decided whether to just write a thank-you note and go about my merry way, or let her know what we exchanged the table for (and possibly a line about why?). We got plenty of wonderful toys, and I will be gracious and sweet to GMIL. She makes an enormous effort to buy all of her children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren just what they want for the holiday. Maybe next year, I will "get to her" before MIL and Aunt, and get her going in a better direction.
The funny thing about all of the family on Dh's side is that they DO buy ds books and such, but usually pretty bad ones. It's hard to understand how people can go wrong with books, but they sure do! Their books show "meals" of ice-cream and cake, feature my ds by displaying his photo on every page of a story about Noah's Ark (?), have paper pages that can easily tear in my ds's hands, and are just plain goofball! My MIL used to write in every book she gave ds - making them impossible to return. Interestingly, she got two really good books this year for Christmas, and didn't write in either of them until we approved them. (Maybe because they were more costly?)
My dad and brother did awesome. Dad found the Rosie Hippo catalogue I left at his house and used it exclusively. Brother got two Duplo lego things which will be played with for years and years! Yay family!!!!