Email to the family regarding no christmas gifts... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everyone

DH and I (mostly me) have been getting rid of tons of old (plastic, noisy) toys and really don't want a bunch more for our girls for Christmas.  I wrote a draft email to my family, DH hates it and says it sounds manipulative... he wrote version 2.  What do you think? are either ok?  Am I asking for a bunch of angry family members?

 

 

Hi Family-
 
I know that some of you start Christmas shopping early, so I thought I would share our Christmas gift ideas early.
 
We have recently gone through the girls toys and books and clothes and we are lucky to have been given hand me downs of all of these items and are not really in need of anything from these categories.  The girls, Matthew and I are so blessed to have such generous and loving people in our lives.  Please feel free to forgo any gifts and instead send love and holiday wishes to us.  
 
If you feel that you would like to buy them something, we would love for it to be 'expirence gifts'.  For example, a certificate for a trip to ice cream with you, or a day at the beach when we are visiting San Diego, or a trip to the zoo, or something similar.   We are enrolling the girls in swim classes in the spring at swim america, so could use certificates towards  water  safety.  We also have started college funds for the girls.  
 
 
Hi Everyone,
 
We've gone through all of the girls toys and books (which was a lot!) and we've given away all of the stuff we don't want, but we still have a plenty.
 
If you want to give the girls gifts this Christmas, please think about contributing to their 529 college savings plan or helping with the swim lessons they'll be taking next summer. We also like the idea of 'experience gifts', like a certificate to take them to ice cream, a fun day at the beach, the zoo, a picnic... etc.
 
We know everyone likes to give gifts, but we really don't have room for more toys and books.
 
 
 
 
So MDC, let me know what you think.

SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)

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#2 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 10:37 PM
 
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Overall I think it's fine, and the one to family is nicely worded.

 

For the one to friends I would change this bit... "If you want to give the girls gifts this Christmas, please think about contributing to their 529 college savings plan or helping with the swim lessons they'll be taking next summer."  If I was going to send a message to friends I would instead do that paragraph like this:

 

"We like the idea of 'experience gifts', such as a certificate to take them for ice cream, a fun day at the beach, the zoo, a picnic... etc. Or if you prefer, you may even like to contribute towards the college funds we have started, or to their swim lessons they will be taking next summer."

 

Other than that change, I think it is a good idea to stipulate no toys, and really nobody should get offended. smile.gif

 

 


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#3 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 10:59 PM
 
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Instead of alienating the family by what you don't want, why can't you just ask for what you do want?  I find that amazon wish lists or other lists of wants are much more appreciated.  When you make a list of all the stuff you don't want your kids to have you seem very ungrateful.  

 

Send an email and say 'hey everyone!  My precious really loves being at the zoo and here is a link to a membership so we can enjoy it during the year, or I'd really love to try Gymboree since precious loves music!  Here's a link to purchase a class intro...

 

If you end up with plastic crap just be gracious and then take it to the goodwill or a woman's shelter.  It might not be wanted at your house but it could make another kid's day.

 

 

 

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#4 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 11:23 PM
 
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YK i was thinking about these letters to families today, and i decided for myself that they never amount to anything good. 

 

people want to buy what THEY want to buy. and it is their perogitive (sp) after all, as the gift GIVER.

 

to try to address this issue head on with any form of a written letter never seems to lead to any good. you will piss people off. those who try to oblige will feel put out. and putting such requests into writing doesn't work. the only chance you have to address this issue is if someone asks you directly "what would your children like" as a gift. if you do get one or two inquiries of this nature, you have been handed a GOLDEN opportunity, and should take it as such. first, thank the person profusely for asking such a question. then tell them some sort of gift certificate for a class would be awesome. don't presume what their budget is. instead give a wide range of options, from $10 to $20 to $30 to $40... or however high they say they want to go. but let them say how high. and then, be sure to reciprocate the request for gift suggestions for THEIR kids (or them). 

 

for ALL the rest (ie, those who don't ask you directly what you want for your kids), here's what i'd recommend: 1) be grateful that you have such people in your life, who give a gift to your children reliably every birthday or Christmas. (many don't.) 2) accept WHATEVER gift is given graciously and with true thankfulness. 3) if you don't want it, promptly DONATE it to someone who wants or needs it (there is great need out there, especially in today's economy). 4) consider this (your donations) to be your gift to the world. and then be grateful for having had the opportunity to give such gifts. (again, many people don't have such chances).

 

all of which sort of turns the whole equation on it's head. so it's no longer about maximizing the Christmas opportunity for gifts -- changing the gifts from things you don't want into things (or experiences) that you do want. but it becomes instead an opportunity for you to gratefully accept WHATEVER is offered, and then turn that offering into a larger gift, by passing it on to others.

 

so Christmas thereby turns into a time of sharing your gifts with others... instead of a chance to collect more for yourselves.

 

just my 2 cents, and i mean no judgment of you by it. but i wanted to give you a different perspective, and i do believe that attempting a letter such as what you've written will be received by many as presumptous (sp) and ungrateful.

 

happy holidays!

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#5 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 11:52 PM
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Never a good idea.  It understandably upsets all the family members, makes you look like an ungrateful killjoy, and plus it totally ruins the kids' fun.  I can't advise against it strongly enough.

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#6 of 19 Old 10-09-2011, 12:38 AM
 
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I second the amazon wish list idea. We do this. For one you can put things on it that aren't from Amazon, so zoo member and other things can also go on your wish list. Two, it shows them the types of things your kids like.

 

In my family this works wonders!! Though I will say we sometimes get surprised, a toy I'd NEVER buy for my kids ends up being a huge hit and I'm grateful for that.


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#7 of 19 Old 10-09-2011, 02:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

YK i was thinking about these letters to families today, and i decided for myself that they never amount to anything good. 

 

people want to buy what THEY want to buy. and it is their perogitive (sp) after all, as the gift GIVER.

 

to try to address this issue head on with any form of a written letter never seems to lead to any good. you will piss people off. those who try to oblige will feel put out. and putting such requests into writing doesn't work. the only chance you have to address this issue is if someone asks you directly "what would your children like" as a gift. if you do get one or two inquiries of this nature, you have been handed a GOLDEN opportunity, and should take it as such. first, thank the person profusely for asking such a question. then tell them some sort of gift certificate for a class would be awesome. don't presume what their budget is. instead give a wide range of options, from $10 to $20 to $30 to $40... or however high they say they want to go. but let them say how high. and then, be sure to reciprocate the request for gift suggestions for THEIR kids (or them). 

 

for ALL the rest (ie, those who don't ask you directly what you want for your kids), here's what i'd recommend: 1) be grateful that you have such people in your life, who give a gift to your children reliably every birthday or Christmas. (many don't.) 2) accept WHATEVER gift is given graciously and with true thankfulness. 3) if you don't want it, promptly DONATE it to someone who wants or needs it (there is great need out there, especially in today's economy). 4) consider this (your donations) to be your gift to the world. and then be grateful for having had the opportunity to give such gifts. (again, many people don't have such chances).

 

all of which sort of turns the whole equation on it's head. so it's no longer about maximizing the Christmas opportunity for gifts -- changing the gifts from things you don't want into things (or experiences) that you do want. but it becomes instead an opportunity for you to gratefully accept WHATEVER is offered, and then turn that offering into a larger gift, by passing it on to others.

 

so Christmas thereby turns into a time of sharing your gifts with others... instead of a chance to collect more for yourselves.

 

just my 2 cents, and i mean no judgment of you by it. but i wanted to give you a different perspective, and i do believe that attempting a letter such as what you've written will be received by many as presumptous (sp) and ungrateful.

 

happy holidays!


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#8 of 19 Old 10-09-2011, 04:23 AM
 
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I've written letters like this for my daughter's first christmas and first birthday.  I emailed folks a "wish list" of sorts, reminded them we prefer natural toys, and also let everyone know my daughter's current size.  I think it turned out fine!  Of course my husband and I are cheerfully chastised by his side of the family for our aversion to plastic, and for being TV-free, but they DO make purchases that follow my guidelines.  I find it to be helpful, especially for friends and family who are child-free or who live far away and don't know what to buy.


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#9 of 19 Old 10-09-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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Right on tropicana! 


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#10 of 19 Old 10-09-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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I agree with SneakyPie.

I think its fine to tell your close family members what you'd like your kids to have when they ask you. Otherwise, I think its quite presumptuous to expect people to give you what you want. Part of gift giving is for the giver to get to pick something out for the child, and to be excited about giving it to them. IMO, emails like this almost always result in you being being the topic of conversation when your back is turned. "Well, I wanted to get x this super cute dress that I found, but her mother insisted that we get "experience" gifts so thats what we did....(insert eye roll here)." And then there are people that are having a hard time this year, and maybe they cant afford something "experience wise" but they can get a $10 gift with a gift card they have. More than anything, I dislike wish lists because I think it makes for awful kids in the longrun. If I get something for my sister that isnt on her Amazon wish list, she has the attitude of "Why would you buy me this, you know everything I want is on my list". It doesnt allow the gift giver to be creative and thoughtful about what to give. IMO, I can just give you a gift card and you can get whatever you want if Im not going to get to pick out something I wanted you to have and think you would like.
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#11 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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I would think both of them were tacky if I received them. 

 

 

We tell people what we want if they ask.  They need to ask first though.  If they don't ask, we have our kiddo go through toys and give some away to make room for the new ones.  

 

 

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#12 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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I don't know, I am totally on-board with your desire to have fewer/no gifts, but I'm not sure about your letters and particularly their wording (though the 1st one isn't as bad)... but I would be put-off by that a bit, also put-out...

I guess it really depends who you'd be sending it to. Some people are going to do whatever they want regardless of what you suggest, so I wouldn't bother sending the letter to them, it would just cause unnecessary discomfort. If you think there are a few people who will accommodate your request, AND they are close enough family that you know they wouldn't be put off by presuming they are giving gifts and making specific requests, then I guess you can send it, though I think a personal email/letter/phone call might be more appropriate. I also prefer the suggestion of making a wish list (amazon or whatever) and sending it out only when people request it.

Also depends what kind of gift-givers they are. If they are only going to be picking out 1 or 2 small, thoughtful gifts, then really I think you should just let it go, it's only a couple of things & you can donate or just make room for a couple more things (even if they aren't your ideal toys). But if they are the type to buy dozens of gifts (ummmm... both sets of grandparents in my family do this... 15-20+ gifts from each!!!! yikes.gif) then I can see the need for a more proactive approach, again only if you think they'd actually listen to your suggestions...

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#13 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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I like the wording of the first much better than the second.  The second seems a bit abrassive, while the first gives off the feeling that you're greatful for what people have provided for your children.

 

I wouldn't be upset at all by receiving the first email at all.

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#14 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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OP, I like the idea of asking for family gifts. A zoo membership or a popcorn machine for movie night. Something that's still fun to buy for the kiddies but is tolerable to yourself as well. I find the folks I'm close to don't mind these suggestions and the ones I'm not close to.. they do whatever the hell they want anyway.
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#15 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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I can relate to this! I think that the wording for both letters might alienate people and look like you don't want to sound ungrateful, but you really are felling ungrateful. I think the better approach is to try to bring them in on solving a problem you're having. Then there's no need to sugar coat.

Something like
Hi Family! I know some of you are already thinking about Christmas, and we are too. We've been trying to make room for new things and come up with wish lists. As we're sorting, we're realizing that the kids have so much already. We really can't think of any great new toys for their lists. Their closets are overflowing as well. We were thinking that gifts such as ____ would be great.

And then something like, "If you have any great ideas of gifts that are an experience, please share," would bring them in and allow for creativity.

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#16 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkksmom View Post

Hi Family! I know some of you are already thinking about Christmas, and we are too. We've been trying to make room for new things and come up with wish lists. As we're sorting, we're realizing that the kids have so much already. We really can't think of any great new toys for their lists. Their closets are overflowing as well. We were thinking that gifts such as ____ would be great.
And then something like, "If you have any great ideas of gifts that are an experience, please share," would bring them in and allow for creativity.


I think this is very nice but I would add at the end maybe a way to make your focus seem bigger like:  "What does YOUR family want/need/like to do?"  As in getting ideas for them while alerting them to your own preferences.

 


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#17 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

I think this is very nice but I would add at the end maybe a way to make your focus seem bigger like:  "What does YOUR family want/need/like to do?"  As in getting ideas for them while alerting them to your own preferences.

 


thumb.gif I like mkksmom's wording and the above addition

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#18 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

I think this is very nice but I would add at the end maybe a way to make your focus seem bigger like:  "What does YOUR family want/need/like to do?"  As in getting ideas for them while alerting them to your own preferences.

 


I love that addition! I think I'll use a similar letter this year. I really do love to have ideas and wish lists for my parents and in-laws. Makes shopping so much easier! Plus, I like to know that what I get is something they will use and enjoy.

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#19 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by mkksmom View Post

Hi Family! I know some of you are already thinking about Christmas, and we are too. We've been trying to make room for new things and come up with wish lists. As we're sorting, we're realizing that the kids have so much already. We really can't think of any great new toys for their lists. Their closets are overflowing as well. We were thinking that gifts such as ____ would be great.
And then something like, "If you have any great ideas of gifts that are an experience, please share," would bring them in and allow for creativity.


I think this is very nice but I would add at the end maybe a way to make your focus seem bigger like:  "What does YOUR family want/need/like to do?"  As in getting ideas for them while alerting them to your own preferences.

 

 

Hi All,

 

I like this approach, but I'd probably approach the letter with the focus on the other people and then let them ask you what you'd like. Something like:

 

Hi Family and Friends! I know some of you are already thinking about the holidays, and we are too. We'd like to know what's on your wish list, as we're really like to get each of you/your family something that you'll really enjoy. We trying to think creatively this year, so any wishes from clothes or toys or craft kits to experiences (places you or your children would like a membership or tickets to?) or homemade items or personalized coupons or other ideas would be really appreciated.

 


 

 


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