actually, with my mother, it's the fun and desire of shopping and buying on impulse. she doesn't like to catelogue or online shop at all. for her, it's "no fun." and because there aren't any shops that carry organic baby stuff, etc, it's really 'no fun.'
i've sent her numerous web sites that have adorable organic baby stuff of all kinds. i've ordered print catelogues to look at as well. she simply doesn't like to shop that way. and she doesn't like to give money--because that takes all the fun out of it too.(1) Ask for books. At least around my house, we can just never have enough children's books. They are used more than any toy.
i don't think that this will be a problem. we're actually considering asking the family to be on a rotation--so that this birthday these grandparents buy books while those buy art supplies, etc. they actually do like this idea.
but, they also see this as "in addition to" the fun/cute things that they want to get. (2) Ask for classes/memberships to museums as a gift.
in doing this for myself, it bombs. i was asked what i wanted "for the mama" and i told them i would like prenatal massage. i was only asking that they pay for one ($55), while i would cover the rest (20 weeks worth-- so $1100). they wanted to get me an object, and so i suggested the nursing clothes that i want (bras, shirts--organic, fair trade--via the catelogues that i gave them), and that also went down hill.
it's very interesting how this process goes. i know that there are things that my parents would pay for--or that they asked my grandparents for, for us, when we were kids. we went to a water park and got season passes all summer--mom could drop us off there if one of us was over 12 (and that was me!) and so we'd spend the day there while she went to work (cheap day care! LOL). my grandmother often bought that for us as a christmas gift. so the idea isn't foreign. it just depends upon if they want to get it for us. LOL!(3) Don't have large birthday parties. Have people over, but not for a gift-giving situation. (Even I ignore invites that say "no presents" so I am not sure how well that strategy works in real life.)
i'm not really concerned about this. we are planning on having small parties--starting with a family tradition of birthday breakfast with banana bread/cake. gifts to be given then. a birthday party with a few friends can come later, which we hope to host in the 'hobbit style'--sending information on the invitations that in the hobbit fashion, the birthday boy/girl gives gifts to the guests, not the other way around!
might go over like a lead balloon or might be considered clever.(4) Don't feel guilty about blessing someone else with what you've been given as a gift. People have every right to buy what they want as a gift, but you are never obligated to keep it
personally, i don't feel guilty about donating things that i don't want to charity. i do this every year with every purge thta we do in our home. our local charities actually call us "hey, are you getting rid of any X? i know you donated something last month, and we're looking for this!" even if i don't have it, i can find someone who does. LOL!
the problem comes in when something is purchased for me and i give it away, and then they come looking for it. and then it's a guilt trip.(5) Keep a catalog like Nova Natural Toys around. Sometimes people just don't realize how gorgeous non-commercial toys are.
yup. my MIL likes catelogues, my mother doesn't. i think my MIL would be more apt to follow. (6) Be grateful. I don't have these gift issues with my family, but I've heard friends complain about how their parents aren't "allowed" to buy clothes for the baby because they don't pick cute outfits. I don't get it-- why not just say THANK YOU and then move on?
no, i definitely say 'thank you' and 'move on.' the issue is--do they move on?
notoriously, my parents and my ILs come to my house and look for the things they've given me. when they can't find them and they ask, and then discover that i gave these things to charity--it's a disaster.
so, i re-inform them that we simplify our lives as much as we can by letting go of what we do not want/use on a regular basis.I tell people (like my MIL) the truth when she asks what to buy, leaving out my world view.
in general, this is my process as well, except that my world view is obvious. if my mother asks me what baby clothing i want, and i give a web site of all organic baby clothing, then she knows the world view.
and, typically she'll ask why i want that clothing--meaning that i have to get into the world view. i then explain my position, and i am told that i am 'being silly.'
but, this is not just about things like organic clothing. in this instance, i asked for 7 items of clothing of each size (3-6 mo; 6-9 mo; 9-12 mo) as the 'foundation' of the baby's wardrobe over time. my mother asked why, and i asserted that i felt i likely wouldn't need much, and if i needed more, i could buy more. she said that i was 'being silly' and 'it never hruts to have more.'
so you see, she is also sharing her worldview, and it is different. and in my case, i am being judged as 'silly' whereas i do not tell my mother or ILs that i think living non-organically or whatever is "bad" because i dont' feel it is.
i just want to live this way.
i think the toughest thing is just letting people be angry or upset with you. i suppose eventually they'll stop sending things that you don't want, if you keep standing up for what you do one way or another.
i just wish it was possible to avoid this upset in the mean time.