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putting an end to useless gifts.. - Page 2

post #21 of 35
That's a tough one. My parents always send cash, so we usually buy annual memberships to the aquarium and science world. DP's parents never ask what we need or want and always end up buying the most useless crap. Ever single year dd gets one of those enormous doll sets from toysrus that includes the backpack or a stroller or a high chair and 35 other pieces. I mean seriously, how many dolls does a 3yo need? They buy noisy, useless, battery operated junk that I always hate and usually try to get rid of. We've tried to gently hint at what we need and have had some luck. On her last bday dd got a nice wooden easel and art supplies. I think we'll be able to find a way to tactfully change their buying habits over time.
post #22 of 35
I haven't read all the replies, but we told family that we're trying to teach our children to live in this world, not be of this world. We also only give our children 3 gifts, Jesus only received 3, and we are no better than Jesus. Since we only give our children 3, we kindly asked friends/family to only give one, and to please not to try and "outdo" parents (or Santa, if you do the Santa thing) We found last year that we need to put even more restriction on this. My mom didn't like the one gift rule, so she just wraped a VERY large box with 20 things inside of it. We also put a monetary limit on it last year but that was more for my MILs benefit. She's a shop aholic on a fixed income, she would easily spend a thousand dollars on my family of 4 so when #5 came along, we told her $30 per person. We told everyone if there was more than one gift, the children would be instructed to pick one (before they were unwrapped) and any remaining would be donated to Toys For Tots, or other charities. That put an end to MILs urge to buy more. Heaven forbid we give her gifts away, LOL
post #23 of 35
Originally Posted by PenelopeJune View Post
Janis, what did you put in the pinatas that wasn't candy and wasn't crap? Just looking for ideas here!
I'm not Janis, but we put packages of fruit leather (the real stuff, not Fruit Rollups) in our pinata.
post #24 of 35
My SIL told us no gifts for her daughter, so we bought savings bonds instead. Not that it's the greatest monetary investment, but they can only be redeemed by the child at maturity time. The savings bonds removed my worry that the parents would just spend the money (like mine did when I got money gifts at a young age). Plus, the kid can use it for college, fun trip, car, whatever when they're older.
post #25 of 35
I have found that being absolutely specific is the only way to go. If, for instance, we are swimming in clothes for one child, I will tell relatives who buy clothes for the kids "Do not send fall/winter clothes for A- she has more than she can wear and if we get any more, I will have to donate them to charity because we are out of drawer space. If you would like to send a gift, any one of the following books, toys, craft items, etc. would be very useful and appreciated" then I make a very detailed list of what the kids would like/need. Being general has always landed us with lots of unusable, unwanted junk to deal with.

Some people feel that they have to give a tangible gift; a donation to charity or a savings bond, etc. just doesn't hold the same meaning for them than going to a store and purchasing something that they can wrap in pretty paper and hand over to someone. I try to respect that in people who aren't likely to change- elderly relatives, for example- and provide them with ideas that won't waste their money or clutter up my house.

And I try to start shopping early- like now- for Christmas. That way, I can concentrate on each person I buy a gift for and really find something that he/she will love and enjoy. Buying at the last minute leads to just grabbing something to wrap and stick under the tree. I hate giving gifts like that even more than I hate receiving them.
post #26 of 35
The problem is you are calling this a birthday party. Just invite people over. A one year old won't know.

My DD's birth day is just after Christmas and everyone is very concerned about making sure it is a seperate special day for her. This is exhausting! She'll be 3 at her next birthday. I think I'm willing to roll it into Christmas at least for a few more years.

We thought about having a tea party with some friends this week so she can have a nice day without it being about stuff. I decided she's still too young (and I'm too stressed this week.)
post #27 of 35
My dad and step mom have 9 grandkids and I was the first to have babies. So, we got tons of gifts. Now that they have more, they are noticing that the kids toys have piled up and up and are starting to realize that they need to stop buying so much. They've now opened accounts for each kids and deposit money in for christmas and birthdays. I'm so glad.

My grandma got the girls magazine subscriptions last year. I'd be happy if we stopped exchanging gifts all together. I'd rather get together and enjoy each others company.
post #28 of 35
Originally Posted by bender View Post
My SIL told us no gifts for her daughter, so we bought savings bonds instead. Not that it's the greatest monetary investment, but they can only be redeemed by the child at maturity time. The savings bonds removed my worry that the parents would just spend the money (like mine did when I got money gifts at a young age). Plus, the kid can use it for college, fun trip, car, whatever when they're older.
OT - but one can redeem savings bonds at any time - just not for the full amount - we do it everytime we get a savings bond for one of our children and invest it in something with a better return.
post #29 of 35
Its a touchy subject with my family. I hate to see them waste their money on stuff that wont be played with. My kids don't like stuffed animals. Anything with multiple parts (monkeys in a barrel, little people, etc) get lost within a week and then are no good when there is whining about where the parts are. I really do have better things to do than keep track of 15,324 little plastic pieces that go with each toy. I hate to see them waste their money on that stuff when my kids don't really get much fun out of those gifts. I don't want to come out and ask for specific stuff. Its not like I want to sound like I am trolling for gifts. If anyone is comfortable asking for specific things my almost 3 year old loves loves loves all art supplies, which has been mentioned numerous times. She also loves stuff that has a purpose, like a shovel for the yard, watering can to water her flowers she planted, etc. MIL likes to buy her clothes which is nice for me, but she always buys too small. She will ask 6 months before b-day/Christmas what size she is. Then buys that size 6 months later. I feel bad saying anything, but the stuff doesn't really get worn much since she is just out growing that size.
post #30 of 35
So many good ideas here!
post #31 of 35
I have issues with this as well.

I have a gift list for DS that I maintain and distribute....and it NEVER gets used by anyone. There's a zoo membership, ski lift tickets, $$ for his savings account, savings bonds, books, a few DVD's, music/karate/gymnastics lessons, a good quality sleeping bag, etc. It's almost as if it can't come from TRU, then it's not worth the effort on anyone else's part.

Unfortunately, I have to deal with this from my DH as well. My MIL is the worst offender by far....and the apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree. Every Yule, he wants to give DS a gift that's *only* from him. And it's always some dumb toy that Alex could care less about. A couple of years ago, it was a Shark Park for his Hot Wheels cars. Alex doesn't play with it....but all his friends love it. And if I got rid of it, DH would be heartbroken. Great. I'm waiting for Alex to offer it up to the Goodwill bag one of these days......
Of course, DH then complains that Alex has WAY too many toys and he's sick of tripping over them all the time.

Anyhoo.....I'm glad I'm not the only one....and I'm loving some of these ideas!
post #32 of 35
regarding pinatas:

we shop around for random small things that would fit ... last time, I remember putting in raisins, balloons, chapstick, woven bracelets, stickers and tattoos. That's about as much as my pregnant brain can remember About a month before the birthday, we just start keeping our eyes open for practical things that aren't insanely pricey. We also only buy the exact number of things and the rules are that each child can only pick up one of each thing. I think the tackiest thing I got for the last party was plastic rings. I refuse to just pick up junk at a dollar store.

To make the pinata "rain" down, we add a little bit of candy and paper confetti.

We make our own pinatas. It's a LOT of fun!

post #33 of 35
The most well received idea we give is activities with the giver (along with mom & dad accompanying in some format - to change as they get older). Our girls love fun outings with grandparents and relatives and so do the relatives. It's worked out very well so far. It can be basically free like a picnic in the park or rather expensive like tickets to a show or ballet. The giver can decide whatever they can/want to affort.
post #34 of 35
What's really sad is that my inlaws just refuse to do this type of gift. Every year, we beg for them to just spend time with their grandkids. Seriously, our dd's would really prefer to spend the night and watch tv with them above anything else. Last Christmas, we created a "spend-the-night" gift basket for Nana with kid bubble bath, lotion, nail polish, and some other little things ... and it was from the girls. Hmmmm, it's August now? They aren't afraid of having the girls over, they just really don't think it's important. The worst part is that my bIL lives down the street from them, so they see his kids all the time - and now, my dd's are feeling left out. It hurts. (*they* want all the crap, too - so it's twice as easy to spoil those grandkids)
post #35 of 35
I'm not sure if someone has suggested this but in our family we have started to do "experience" gifts.

For example, for my DS's birthday he received:

* A gift certificate to a class at the Birds of Prey centre (hands-on class, pretty cool).
* Swimming and pizza for him and his friends.
* Sushi dinner with the family
* 2 sessions of indoor rock climbing to use in the fall
* A trip to a place called TreeGo in September

I got a massage and some money so I can treat myself to pedicures later in my pregnancy.

My 3 year old was gifted 4 months of preschool, 4 months of swimming lessons and a few books.

No junk, just lots of great experiences.
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