A letter to my family about Christmas, updated post 40 - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by coloradoalice View Post
And they buy inappropriate gifts. Like last year, Gracie was 19 months old, and my mom got her a cork board with push pins, and a package of pencils.
Wow. That is weird. Could you make an amazon wish list and put a bunch of kids books on it? Or would this be a faux pas in your family?
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#32 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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I like alexsam's letter. : I totally understand and agree with your motivation, however. Oy vey. I gotta tell you, one blessing of having a special needs, majorly sensory defensive child is that people are scared to buy him ANYTHING without asking us first, because they never know what will totally freak him out or what he'll love. So yeah, I guess in a way I exploit my son's special need to my advantage in the crap-minimization arena.
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#33 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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You know, as a last resort, you could always just donate the toys and gifts to kids who could really use them... if they really do just come in the mail, no one is the wiser... I would this this as a last resort, however.
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#34 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, as a last resort, you could always just donate the toys and gifts to kids who could really use them... if they really do just come in the mail, no one is the wiser... I would this this as a last resort, however.
Ah, yep, BTDT!!
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#35 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 07:24 PM
 
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I say you all are on the right track. Have you ever read this book?

http://www.zerowaste.ca/articles/column121.html
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#36 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by coloradoalice View Post
I know what you mean. But it's not generosity. It never has been. It's guilt that buys all the crap. They don't spend a lick of time with us, or even really attempt to. And they buy inappropriate gifts.
That may well be. But even if they are aware they're sending gifts out of guilt, and even if they do know they're inappropriate - still, they are sending gifts.

All I'm saying is, in this type of situation, where you think they may not respond positively, you catch more flies with honey. And I'm sure they would appreciate having their past gifts acknowledged. It can't hurt. I just think your letter is a tad on the confrontational side, and needs to be softened up a bit.
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#37 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 08:11 PM
 
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I like the spirit behind the letter, but my only issue with it is that you seem to be blaming your DD for it. (Not in the stereotypical sense, but in the 'white lie' sense, using her very natural toddler state as the 'reason'). That's not really fair to her. Since it's you and your DH that don't want the extra gifts, I think that you should put the 'blame' squarely on your shoulders.

I'd just cut out the explanation about Gracie, and say that due to space and for everyone's enjoyment we'd like the kids to get a joint gift from each person or whatever. There's something in the way the letter's written that seems to saddle your little girl with this (though I know that's not your intention). I wouldn't give people the opportunity to gossip about that or make a big deal out of it.

You don't want the extra gifts, and you're not going to keep a bunch of stuff in your house that you don't want and don't have the space for. If they need directness, then I'd take that line, and not try to soften it by redirecting it towards the kid.
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#38 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 08:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by coloradoalice View Post
I know what you mean. But it's not generosity. It never has been. It's guilt that buys all the crap. They don't spend a lick of time with us, or even really attempt to. And they buy inappropriate gifts. Like last year, Gracie was 19 months old, and my mom got her a cork board with push pins, and a package of pencils. We opened it and we were like "Seriously?? For a one year old??" I guess it's good the gifts come in the mail, then we can at least react without offending.
If this is the case, then maybe you could just not say anything and donate the gifts? If they aren't there, then the won't know if you use them, so you don't have to keep them.

If they are not doing it for you, but for themselves, then I doubt the letter will do anything but upset them anyway.

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
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#39 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 09:13 PM
 
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Send it as it is - I think it's fine. Family doesn't get the "no gifts" thing unless you yell in their face "stop buying stuff!"

Jenn
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#40 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I tried to shorten it a bit and be less accusing of poor little Gracie! I did keep it direct though, because believe me, it's what our families need!




An e-mail from my mom this morning reminded me to get off my butt and send this out! So, here goes.

James and I have decided that this Christmas we really need to take things in a very low-key direction. Mainly I am referring to the giving and accepting of gifts. We would like to really cut back on the amount we spend and on the amount that is spent on us on your behalf. The biggest issue is the kids. The last couple years have been fairly overwhelming in the gift department. Now we have the addition of another child who also has a birthday at Christmas-time. We are asking that if you choose to give the children gifts you limit it to one or two, and we ask that the gifts are addressed to both children. Like most toddlers Gracie is leaning how to share and we would like to eliminate competition by having each gift be something both kids can use. Ian will have a birthday party a few days later and we ask the same for that also, just one or two gifts please (although for his birthday they can of course be addressed just to him). Between all of the family we have, our own gifts, and Ian's birthday there will be more than enough new things in the house to keep the kids occupied. If you would like to put your gift towards educational things, like memberships to various places we can take the kids, or college savings, that is fine. If you don't want to give anything at all, that is fine too. We would much rather that you spend your money on the needs of your particular family!

Finally, we would like to ask that you also don't worry about giving gifts to James and I. Christmas is about so much more than gifts and we would much rather focus on traditions and family time than on presents. We will be sending out holiday cards, but otherwise we are not planning on exchanging gifts with anyone outside our little family of 4. The consumerism and focus of Christmas is just so overblown and overwhelming, especially for such young kids. We are going to do our best to help keep that in check.

Thanks so much for understanding. We are looking forward to having a wonderful holiday season.

Alice
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#41 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 10:17 PM
 
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"f you would like to put your gift towards educational things, like memberships to various places we can take the kids, or college savings, that is fine. If you don't want to give anything at all, that is fine too. We would much rather that you spend your money on the needs of your particular family!"

I'd change the first "that is fine" to "we would be very grateful."
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#42 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 11:10 PM
 
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I think that the revised letter is great, Alice!

And it sounds pretty polite (if direct) to me, at least. (I don't have the gift of being able to be very tactful though)
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#43 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 11:32 PM
 
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I am not sure if i can be of help..... but here is what I would write.


James and I have decided that this Christmas we would like to focus more on family togetherness than on material things. We hope that you can participate in this new tradition.

We ask that you only send the children a letter and picture from yourself to include in our family scrapbook we are compiling to help the children identify family memebers they do not get the pleasure of seeing in personvery often.

We hope that you understand how much we have enjoyed your thoughtful gifts of the past however from this year on we plan to focus more on family so we request that you do not send gifts to the children or to us.


We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to hearing what you share in your letters.


With love,

Alice.
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#44 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

DH just read the final product and gave his nod of approval, so I am sending it. We'll see what kind, if any response we get.
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#45 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 11:33 PM
 
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ok... im late.
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#46 of 50 Old 11-01-2006, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not sure if i can be of help..... but here is what I would write.


James and I have decided that this Christmas we would like to focus more on family togetherness than on material things. We hope that you can participate in this new tradition.

We ask that you only send the children a letter and picture from yourself to include in our family scrapbook we are compiling to help the children identify family memebers they do not get the pleasure of seeing in personvery often.

We hope that you understand how much we have enjoyed your thoughtful gifts of the past however from this year on we plan to focus more on family so we request that you do not send gifts to the children or to us.


We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to hearing what you share in your letters.


With love,

Alice.
That is an awesome idea!! I think we may actually adopt something along these lines, although I won't send that in a group e-mail since we do see my in-laws about every other month (they are an hour and a half away but the kids definiately know who they are!) Other family though, not so much.

Thanks!
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#47 of 50 Old 11-02-2006, 12:30 AM
 
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I like it a lot. I have two suggestions.

One, I'd find somewhere near the beginning to put something in about "thank you so much for your generous (no matter how I spell that, it looks wrong....) gifts in past years". You know, acknowledge their generosity (that spelling thing is making me nuts....). Then go on to the parts about having limited space for toys, etc. and wanting to focus on family traditions, outings together, etc.

Another idea is IOUs for special outings. I always love it when my sister gives me IOUs for a day of babysitting! Or a "fun day out with auntie" type thing. Or tickets to a concert or sporting event. Anything like that. My kids have also gotten magazine subscriptions from gramma, or a year membership to the zoo. Again, I'd mention that they have loved the toys in past years but there is only limited room for new items in the house.

The only part that rubbed me wrong - and that I'd have a hard time with - is wanting every gift addressed to both kids. They are different ages, different genders, just different kids. I assume they have different interests and ability levels. I see why you want it; I just think that saying that everything belongs to everyone sends a message that I wouldn't be comfortable with. I think it causes more problems than it solves. Other than that, the letter is great.
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#48 of 50 Old 11-02-2006, 01:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I like the spirit behind the letter, but my only issue with it is that you seem to be blaming your DD for it. (Not in the stereotypical sense, but in the 'white lie' sense, using her very natural toddler state as the 'reason'). That's not really fair to her. Since it's you and your DH that don't want the extra gifts, I think that you should put the 'blame' squarely on your shoulders.

Yeah, ITA. That is what I initially thought when I read the letter. :

I agree with the sentiment, but I personally would just make an amazon.com or whereever book/CD/whatever wish list, give the kids the appropriate gifts, and donate the rest. They live far away, so nobody will be the wiser. But I'm a big chicken like that.
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#49 of 50 Old 11-02-2006, 02:21 AM
 
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I like your revision.

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
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#50 of 50 Old 11-02-2006, 12:26 PM
 
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Great letter!

Since this is about Simplifying the holidays with less consumerism, I've moved this to the Simplifying forum. Others looking for how to gently talk to their family about gifts and less materialism can find it.

Wife of 1. Mom of 3. Conquering disability challenges, one achievement at a time.
 

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