In an effort to prevent too many gifts this year ... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 09-19-2005, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I'm thinking of sending out the following emails ... what do you all think. Background info: my boys have more than enough toys, dh and I have more than enough of anything, and none of use need for nothing. Bearing that in mind, this is what I'm thinking of this upcoming gift-giving season.

First letter to my mom's side of the family:

"So, John and I have been talking, and I'm thinking you might be having similar issues in your homes too, that our boys have way too many things, and not enough space to put them all. We've been wrestling with ideas of what to do as the holidays approach, knowing that usually we all pick names and exchange gifts with each other. So, we were thinking the following might be a good idea, and help reduce the amount of new "stuff" that needs to find a space in our house. We though it might be fun for each family to pick another family (drawing names like we usually do for the kids) and then buying a "family" gift for each other. We could set a price limit at maybe $50 or so, and then get creative. What I think might be really nice is to surprise each other with gift cards that would work for that family - a day pass for a family to visit the aquarium; gift certificates for pedicures/manicures for those with girls; a card to a bookstore like Barnes & Nobel where everyone can pick out some music, a family movie, or some new books ... or even a generic card to someplace like Target where new clothes or something can be purchased. Another idea could be movie theater tickets for a family date night; or a collection of certificates to fun dessert places like ice cream. I don't want to totally take away the fun of giving other people gifts, nor sound ungrateful for the cool things given to our boys, but at the same time, we simply have too much and anything more would just add to the clutter. As well, we are really trying to teach our boys the art of appreciating what you have rather than expecting more - and that gets very hard around holidays because they expect to get more and more toys.

*This letter would be going to families with children ranging from 16 to almost 2, a total of 11 kids, plus my mom and step dad.

The next letter I was thinking of sending out would be for our parents and would read something like this:

Dh and I have been talking a lot about the amount of stuff we all have and though we appreciate everything you all give us, we simply don't need or want more stuff to clutter our house. We have been working hard this summer and fall to simplify the house and declutter it of stuff. The boys already have more toys than they can play with in a week, and dh and I don't have any needs for anything either. So, even though we'd love to cancel gift-giving altogether, we don't want to deny you all the joy in seeing the boys especially open a gift. With that in mind, we are asking that gift-giving be severly limited and focused more on either "consumable" gifts or homeschooling/whole family gifts. Some ideas would include: a family annual pass to the aquarium (approx. $120); gift certificate tothe theater for a "family" date; gift card to Barnes & Noble or similar store for books, music, and videos; a up-to-date globe for the boys; a set of nice unit blocks and/or cuisenaire rods; math manipulatives; gift card to Home Depot for supplies to build a play set for the boys; a gift card to The Picture People or Sears or similar place for a nice family portrait.

The goal is to totally squash the excess of gifts we get and focus the ones that we would like to get. So, what do you think?

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#2 of 10 Old 09-19-2005, 06:35 PM
 
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The only thing i would change is in the second one where you say "we simply don't need or want more stuff to clutter our house". I ould change that. It sounds liek you are calling what they have given you in the past junk. Maybe jsut elave it out.

I think you idea for an exchange is although the amount seems kinda high for us, I don't know what you usualy spend. And i htink your letter is great. you seem excited abotu creative gifts, not a spoil sport (if that makes sense).

I think your ideas to grandparents are wonderful. They can hardly be dissapointed about that.

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#3 of 10 Old 09-21-2005, 09:16 PM
 
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I think its a good idea. I think leaving out the clutter part is good too but all around good letters. We did this a few years ago. We said no more exchanging- we have enough already. This came after I decluttered a bunch of stuff- 13 boxes picked up by the charity to be exact. 90% of these things were gifted to us some way or another and this included NO TOYS!!! DD was still too young to amass stuff at that point. But it got me thinking, if this is what I did with these gifts- where are the gifts we gave all this time- probabely stuffed in various closets in my relatives houses. So we do not exchange any more.

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#4 of 10 Old 09-21-2005, 09:23 PM
 
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etiquette wise it's a big no-no. gifts are simply supposed to be accepted and appreciated. and you're supposed to be surprised that you're getting anything at all.

in the real world though, your concerns are legitimate, and I think it's perfectly acceptable to let those closest to you know how you feel. it totally depends on their personalities how they will react. you might still end up with the usual tons of toys. good luck!

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#5 of 10 Old 09-21-2005, 10:24 PM
 
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We tried that last year (actually bil/sil started the discussion) and it turned into a huge family feud. So be prepared...

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#6 of 10 Old 09-21-2005, 10:28 PM
 
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While I'd love to have less junk in our house as well...
Frankly, I think it's rude.

If someone asks you specifically, you might be able to give them some suggestions. But if they don't ask, you don't get to comment. Gifts are gifts - not assignments.
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#7 of 10 Old 09-21-2005, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input ... though I disagree on the etiquette part. I'm not sending this to friends or anyone else in that regard. On my mom's side of the family, we have already changed our mode of operation a few times as more and more kids come into the picture. This is simply a way to fine-tune the gift giving that is already established. The second letter is for my parents and my husband's parents. If we can't be frank and honest with them, then imo we are in trouble.

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#8 of 10 Old 09-22-2005, 12:17 AM
 
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I am thinking this year of a preemptive strike as well.
I was thinking of posting on our family site things we need.
So that people know (inlaws etc what we actually need and don't guess....as they guess wrong usually.

I think you have to approach it tactfully but telling people what you want/need makes it easier to give gifts. I like to give stuff people appreciate. And you are sounding like you will make it easier for them in the long run...but you will still get stuff....

Alison who'd love to give some people the hint:
NO MORE STUFFED ANIMALS OR DOLLAR STORE TOYS

8 might be enough
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#9 of 10 Old 09-22-2005, 12:51 AM
 
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Amoung immediate family we are pretty frank in our gift discussions. One year we decided to draw names and it didn't work out (we ended up spending more on the two people than we usually did on the whole lot of them). I wouldn't send this out to cousins but to brothers and sisters who are just as broke as we are. oh yeah. I mean lets face it. they don't want to spend on stuff that is gonna get dumped in a charity box anymore than we do. we would rather just giove something practical to charity. And mom and dad yusually ask anyway.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#10 of 10 Old 09-30-2005, 03:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiloh
Alison who'd love to give some people the hint:
NO MORE STUFFED ANIMALS OR DOLLAR STORE TOYS
I second this!!
But I also think telling someone whose going to get you a gift what you would and wouldn't want (with the exception of maybe your own parents) is rude. Especially when they haven't asked. If they ask well that's a different story, then I suggest what we really need or don't need

RayRAy

Life Learning Momma to DS17, DS16,DS9jumpers.gifas well a dog, a cat, two birds...ttc babygirl.gif homeschool.gifnamaste.gif
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