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#1 of 48 Old 12-25-2010, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you all familiar with Unplug the Christmas Machine?  If not, quick look at the link will give you the gist of what it's about.  I still haven't read it, but maybe it would have helped this year.  Because the Christmas Machine attacked me today.

 

Before Thanksgiving, when MIL was pouring through all of the Black Friday ads and making her shopping plan, I told her that we were striving for a simple, minimalist Christmas.  This is due largely to our parenting philosophy, spiritual beliefs, and--most pragmatically--our lack of space.

 

I went shopping for special and thoughtful--yet amazing frugal!--gifts.  For example, I found DH an autographed photo of his favorite athlete. 

 

Fast forward to last week, when the ILs came to town with box loads of Christmas presents.  I should have said something right then.  But what?

 

Now fast forward to today.  I seriously felt trapped in a nightmare.  Present after present.  Toy after toy.  Box after box.  Plastic crap after plastic crap.  It just.  Wouldn't. End.  I mean, seriously!  Shouldn't there be some point when the kids run off and play with their new stash, and Mom and Dad pull up a pile of gift wrap and enjoy a glass of wine?  It was just too much.  This was the first Christmas I've broken down crying in front of the Christmas tree.  mecry.gif

 

What's more is that for every gift that I got, MIL bought a flashier version.  (I got DS a single Thomas the Tank Engine car, she got the whole train set).

 

Granted, nobody was forcing us to continue with the unwrapping.  We did take a huge break (this was before we'd even opened half of them!!)  We came back to them later in the afternoon, but the kids got bored after 10 minutes (they're 3 years old and 1, for heaven's sake!!!  Do you blame them???)  So DH and I just ended up unwrapping everything else. 

 

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!!!!

 

If it's any consolation, they live 5 hours away and visit 2-3 times per year.  MIL is a compulsive shopper, despite their limited means, and she constantly forgets what she got people.

 

I know, I know.  I should be more tolerant.  My MIL has a good heart and good intentions.  I know all of that.  So please, no flames!  She's a dear, dear woman.  But I also don't think I'm in the wrong for feeling frustrated.   

 

But when I told her that I wanted a simple Christmas, I wasn't being coy; I was being serious.  And she chose to ignore me.  Maybe with all of her people-pleasing tendencies, she forgot to listen to people.

 

Because this involves so many personal and MIL-related issues, this post may not belong in this thread.  But I thought maybe I could reach out to some like-minded mamas for some empathy and advice.

 

Namely, how do you unplug the Machine.....when somebody keeps plugging it back in and attacking you with it?? 


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#2 of 48 Old 12-25-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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Awh mama!  Maybe she didn't understand what you meant by a simple Christmas.  You could perhaps chat far ahead of time about it and let her know what you'd like to do for the holiday. If she likes to buy and give, maybe she'd not mind giving toys to Toys for Tots or something in your children's name. Tell her they are so generous, but the children can only play with so many toys. Let her know what they really need---clothing, etc.   Perhaps chat with her about a bigger single gift--outdoor play equipment or bikes or something for next year.


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#3 of 48 Old 12-25-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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Re:
 
"I know, I know.  I should be more tolerant."
 
No, you should be less tolerant. Much less tolerant.
 
"MIL, we love you, and the kids love you. But I have a specific philosophy about toys and gifts, and I'm going to stick to that philosophy. From now on, you're welcome to give one gift per child per occasion, but anything else that you bring is going to go right back in the car, and I won't allow the children to open them." 
 
And then dig in your heels and stick to that. If they try to circumvent you by pulling the kids aside to give them gifts, or leaving gifts in the kids' rooms, or anything like that, get rid of those gifts.
 
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#4 of 48 Old 12-25-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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I know it wont help but my mother sent us FOUR boxes of stuff (she lives across the country).  Most of what she sent has either been tossed or will be resale as well.

DS is 10, it never stops.  I stopped trying to stop it years ago and got a backbone on this end.


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#5 of 48 Old 12-25-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

Namely, how do you unplug the Machine.....when somebody keeps plugging it back in and attacking you with it?? 


You say thank you, be grateful that they think of your kids(even if they choose to express it with stuff and it drives you crazy) and quietly nudge the extraneous stuff out of your house. I had to do this for years. I'm sorry you're overwhelmed, but you have a point...no one made you unwrap it all(it doesn't sound like ILs were present?), your kids are 3 and 1 you said, they wouldn't even notice.

 

Granted my view may be skewed by the fact that my MIL ignored all of the grandchildren this Christmas...she didn't even call....Rainbow.gif

 

 

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#6 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 05:49 AM
 
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(((HUGS)))

 

I'm sorry she went against your wishes.  I really am.

 

Next year if she does it again, allow her to take out X number of gifts to be opened on Christmas morning.  The rest can be set aside for another day.  When DS was 1-2 he had no attention span for that.  We don't even do a lot of gifts - between everyone I think he had maybe 8 to open?  He opened them over almost 2 weeks.  We just left them under the tree and he'd wander over every once in a while to check one out.  At 3 he would stop and play with something before continuing.  Which means it takes us 2-3 hours to open gifts.  But we all just sit around the family room and visit, snack, play, etc.

 

Before the shopping begins next year you may want to give her a heads up on what you are buying and ask her not to duplicate.

 

It is your house and your family, have the celebration you want.

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#7 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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Oh man. Our house feels flooded with gifts. We tried to keep it simple, made a point to tell everyone that DS was getting only 3 small, homemade gifts from us (in case they didn't understand what 'simple' meant) and directly stated that we would much rather they give DS one nice gift rather than 50 small ones. I love my parents, I love my in-laws, but I do NOT love this giant pile of gifts and I'm really struggling to come to terms with it while still being grateful. My parents at least stuck to our "wooden toys only" request... my in-laws (who we were less direct with but did send an Amazon wish list for ideas of what kind of stuff DS likes, and CLEARLY understood that he likes wooden toys) gave him a scary talking plastic robot as his 'main' gift. I can't even bring myself to open the box. And there are just SO MANY gifts. I don't know what to do with them all (and we haven't even finished opening them yet). We also had to open the gifts for DS because he lost interest quickly & everyone wanted to see him open & play with every single gift. We also talked a ton with DS to help him understand the real reason we celebrate Christmas but I can't help but feel like our religious celebration was completely overwhelmed by the deluge of gifts that followed. I had worked so hard to pare down & get all his toys organized and now I'm back to square one, with the added guilt of possibly getting rid of brand new gifts (and family lives close enough to notice!)

 

I am just trying hard to remind myself that they mean well & they love DS and for some reason feel that they need to give tons of gifts to show that love. I think next year I will try giving a strict limit on # of gifts but I'm not sure it will go over much better.


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#8 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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I don't agree with the "grateful" part of this. You've made a decision about your household and your childrearing philosophy, and these people are ignoring it.
 
If you decided that you wanted your kids to eat only healthy food, would you be grateful if their grandparents took them out for cookies and candy and mountains of ice cream?
 
If you decided that your kids weren't ready for pets, would you be grateful if their grandparents brought them a puppy?
 
If you decided that your kids weren't ready for scarey movies, would you be grateful if their grandparents took them to see the latest Halloween sequel?
 
What if they took them horseback riding, four-wheeling, dirtbike touring, swimming in an un-lifeguarded lake, or other activities that you'd declared to be dangerous? Grateful?
 
In all of these cases, the kids might enjoy it, the grandparents might be doing it to make the kids happy, it might cost money, it's a "gift", but that doesn't make it OK. And that's also true for these gifts. Yes, when adults give other adults gifts, proper etiquette is to ignore any flaws, express gratitude, and wait until the gift giver is out of range before giving the gift away. The same for the occasional problem with gifts given by adults to children. But this is, to me, bigger than a minor infraction; this is an imposition on your authority as a parent.
 
Now, let's say that the grandparents get one "they didn't know" pass, and then they're told that, no, the kids can't have this stuff. And they do it again, so that you have to take these things away from the kids and leave the kids sad and disappointed. At this point, are the grandparents even considering the kids' happiness, or are they being controlling, at the expense of you and the kids?
 
I'm sure that these grandparents love their grandkids, but ignoring their grandkids' parents' wishes is _not_, to me, demonstrating that love. It's demonstrating a need to control. It's not a good lesson or a good experience for your kids to see you demonstrating that, "If someone tries to pressure you to abandon your principles by being nice to you, the polite thing is to abandon the principles." They would be much better off seeing you gently, kindly, compassionately enforcing your rules and protecting them from this conflict.
 
These grandparents may be otherwise kind, sweet, good people. But if they do this even one more time after they've been told that it's not allowed, that is, to me, toxic behavior, and _everybody_ would be better off if you protect your kids by nipping it in the bud.
 
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#9 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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You must watch "The Middle" TV show episode titled "A Simple Christmas"  lol.gif  See if you can find it online, 'cause it's your story, only in a thirty minute comedy format.

 

If it helps, I have found that this particular brand of craziness subsides as the kids get older.  What they want gets smaller in size and more expensive for one thing.


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#10 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love, LOVE!!! you ladies. 

 

Teensy, I'll have to check that out for sure!  I'll try to find it online.  I'm not yet at the laugh-at-it phase, but I can't wait until that day comes.   Crayfish, we're going to be more blunt next year.  I can put up with some things, but this invasion of a deeply cherished family tradition was a bit much.  Princess Consuela B, it sounds like both of our MILs have boundary issues.  Mine is too enmeshed, and yours is too distant.  If only we could reconcile the two extremes. 

 

Beautiful advice as usual, ladies.  grouphug.gif


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#11 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post

 

I don't agree with the "grateful" part of this. You've made a decision about your household and your childrearing philosophy, and these people are ignoring it.
 
If you decided that you wanted your kids to eat only healthy food, would you be grateful if their grandparents took them out for cookies and candy and mountains of ice cream?
 
If you decided that your kids weren't ready for pets, would you be grateful if their grandparents brought them a puppy?
 
If you decided that your kids weren't ready for scarey movies, would you be grateful if their grandparents took them to see the latest Halloween sequel?
 
What if they took them horseback riding, four-wheeling, dirtbike touring, swimming in an un-lifeguarded lake, or other activities that you'd declared to be dangerous? Grateful?
 
In all of these cases, the kids might enjoy it, the grandparents might be doing it to make the kids happy, it might cost money, it's a "gift", but that doesn't make it OK. And that's also true for these gifts. Yes, when adults give other adults gifts, proper etiquette is to ignore any flaws, express gratitude, and wait until the gift giver is out of range before giving the gift away. The same for the occasional problem with gifts given by adults to children. But this is, to me, bigger than a minor infraction; this is an imposition on your authority as a parent.
 
Now, let's say that the grandparents get one "they didn't know" pass, and then they're told that, no, the kids can't have this stuff. And they do it again, so that you have to take these things away from the kids and leave the kids sad and disappointed. At this point, are the grandparents even considering the kids' happiness, or are they being controlling, at the expense of you and the kids?
 
I'm sure that these grandparents love their grandkids, but ignoring their grandkids' parents' wishes is _not_, to me, demonstrating that love. It's demonstrating a need to control. It's not a good lesson or a good experience for your kids to see you demonstrating that, "If someone tries to pressure you to abandon your principles by being nice to you, the polite thing is to abandon the principles." They would be much better off seeing you gently, kindly, compassionately enforcing your rules and protecting them from this conflict.
 
These grandparents may be otherwise kind, sweet, good people. But if they do this even one more time after they've been told that it's not allowed, that is, to me, toxic behavior, and _everybody_ would be better off if you protect your kids by nipping it in the bud.
 
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#12 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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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.

 

Really, I'd keep the conversation open all year long. This is what I do with both my inlaws and my own parents. They know that we are overrun with toys, and I that I simply can't have more than we can fit. My inlaws sent each child two small things off their Amazon wishlist, and my mom sent each child a book and then a check for their college fund. I'm blessed that I don't have someone who wants to go all out crazy, but if I did, I'd accept it graciously (after politely urging change while beforehand) and then dispose of the excess in whatever way fits my life.

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#13 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post
 Princess Consuela B, it sounds like both of our MILs have boundary issues.  Mine is too enmeshed, and yours is too distant.  If only we could reconcile the two extremes. 

 

Somewhere in the middle would be perfect Turquesa. Mind you, my mil may be distant but my own mother is the one who drives us nuts with stuff(me and DH as well as the kids); not quite to the level of your inlaws...but at one point when the kids were  babies we had 15 (yes 15!) cheap, toxic, China-made electronic singing monkeys in the house. What's more perfect for the waldorfy child?biglaugh.gif (I promise, you really will laugh about it later)

 

Someone upthread mentioned it tapers off over time, I've also found this to be true.
 

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#14 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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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.


 

Well, I'd say that the grandparent can _offer_ anything she wants to the parents, with a request that she be allowed to give it to the child. No one has the right to give anything to a child against the parents' wishes.
 
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#15 of 48 Old 12-26-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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(((HUGS)))

 

I'm sorry she went against your wishes.  I really am.

 

Next year if she does it again, allow her to take out X number of gifts to be opened on Christmas morning.  The rest can be set aside for another day.  When DS was 1-2 he had no attention span for that.  We don't even do a lot of gifts - between everyone I think he had maybe 8 to open?  He opened them over almost 2 weeks.  We just left them under the tree and he'd wander over every once in a while to check one out.  At 3 he would stop and play with something before continuing.  Which means it takes us 2-3 hours to open gifts.  But we all just sit around the family room and visit, snack, play, etc.

 

Before the shopping begins next year you may want to give her a heads up on what you are buying and ask her not to duplicate.

 

It is your house and your family, have the celebration you want.


Did she know what you intended to buy (such as the Thomas-set engine) and just decide to one-up you by getting an entire set? 

 

But, yeah, we cut back this year, too.  We are not in any way "Waldorfy"--in fact toy-wise we tend to mainstream.  But, we have more toys than we have storage for--and with one kid 9 years old, one 7 year old developmentally disabled kid (try to pick out toys that have therapeutic value), and one 1 1/2 year old, it seems that as soon as one child outgrows a toy, the next child is growing into it.  Which means we have toys for three sets of kids.  And, they all play with everything--except some of the 9 year old's stuff, which is kept in her room.  The best thing that happened to us in this regard is my mom--who went overboard all the time--lost her job, and though she has one now, she took a paycut and is trying to pay off the debt she took on surviving.  Which meant she could only get the grandkids one thing each  (7 grandkids, and if there are great-grandkids...I have brothers 20 years older than me, but I don't keep in touch with them or their sons).  DH's parents bought them a few toys with creative play value, then a new wardrobe each. 

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#16 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 01:10 AM
 
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 No one has the right to give anything to a child against the parents' wishes.
 


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.


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#17 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 01:37 AM
 
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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. :)

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#18 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 04:23 AM
 
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So they weren't even there? 

 

Seriously, I would stash the box away and just bring out one gift a day or until you feel done.  Make Christmas be about you, your DH, and your kids - ONLY - no intrusions, not even in gift format.  If your MIL sends a box of stuff, it doesn't have to be dealt with on Christmas.  I would spread it out over many days or weeks or months, and I might even preview what's in the boxes and retape before giving to the kids.  And I have done that.

 

Limit her to 1, or 2, or 3, gifts per kid, or whatever, and tell her if she doesn't, you'll pick that number at random and give the rest, wrapped, away.  If your MIL has issues with it, it will be a good growth opportunity for her.  If she doesn't grow, maybe even tighter boundaries are in order.  Are boundaries an issue with her during the rest of the year?

{{{Hugs}}}- it sounds very challenging.


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#19 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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Christmas goes like this in our house:

 

Unwrap.  

 

Squint at blinking, twirling, plastic gizmo.

 

Say thank you.

 

Play with it for a day or two.

 

Put it in box and take to Goodwill.  

 

Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat. 

 

 

Grandmas are sort of happy and I am sort of happy.  And when they ask me where the plastic, blinking obnoxious toys are, I am honest and say that they have gone to deserving children and have left my home quieter, calmer and more peaceful.  

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#20 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 06:06 AM
 
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Grandmas are sort of happy and I am sort of happy.  And when they ask me where the plastic, blinking obnoxious toys are, I am honest and say that they have gone to deserving children and have left my home quieter, calmer and more peaceful.  


What is their reaction to this? (Just curious... I did tell my mom this past year that we donated/sold most of the cheap plastic toys she gave DS but the end result was she bought him a bunch more cheap (at least wooden) toys, saying she didn't want to spend a bunch of money on something I'm just going to get rid of.... hammer.gif I don't think she got the point and I think she felt kind of hurt but I'm not sure what else to do, I'm not keeping a giant pile of toys just because they were gifts but both sets of grandparents see DS often enough that they will notice it's gone...)


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#21 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 07:35 AM
 
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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.


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#22 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 07:53 AM
 
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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.
 

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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. :)



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#23 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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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??


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#24 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 10:40 AM
 
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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


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#25 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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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.


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#26 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 12:16 PM
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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.  

 

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#27 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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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.
 
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#28 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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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.


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#29 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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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.


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#30 of 48 Old 12-27-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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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).


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