It is so hard to be gracious about holiday gifts when trying to banish clutter! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 116 Old 12-24-2006, 02:22 PM
 
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But I guess my family feels that is the way to demonstrate love.
That's the problem exactly.

We may decide to talk to everyone and opt out of gift-giving in future years. Or just exchange cookies with close family or something really simple like that. I would talk to my family about it beforehand though, so they didn't think it was a snub or something.

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#62 of 116 Old 12-24-2006, 05:02 PM
 
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I'm considering how I'm going to handle the situation at work next year. It was particularly irksome to me as I had asked several women, long-term employees, how gifts were handled at Christmas. I was told about gifts for the dept head/our immediate supervisor, but NOTHING was said about everyone getting gifts for everyone. It's to the point that non-Christian folks from other countries even participate.

I might suggest a donation to the local "Neediest Kids Charity" or just ask folks not to get me anything. There is a girl (in another dept) who doesn't celebrate Christmas at all.

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#63 of 116 Old 12-24-2006, 06:09 PM
 
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Ready for more???

This came from DH's aunt & uncle - keep in mind my sons are 3 and 4 and we already have 2 shape sorters that are in storage for the next babe.

Shape Sorter

And the following:

Another battery operated toy:

They already have a Leapfrog phonics thing and a Leappad with many books and cartridges so this is going back.

Sigh

And for the second year in a row we received a set of queen sheets. Actually 2 sets last year. One set was returned. The second set is sitting in our closet. Should have sent that to a MIN this year.
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#64 of 116 Old 12-24-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Vixenmama View Post
Hey anyone interested in a "post-holiday-heper". That, or let's start a white elephant thread in the Trading Post where we can all trade our mis-gifts....it might turn out to be fun, someone who loves roosters might be able to exchange with someone who hates candles...etc. The turn this thread has taken in the last few posts is really fun.
I don't think I could give that globe to anyone on MDC....I'd be too

Actually, I think we're going to try and get it back in the box and take it back. Or it will go to a kid's consignment store or freecycle.
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#65 of 116 Old 12-24-2006, 06:29 PM
 
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How about giving gifts of "activities" instead of "things"?

Like a gift certificate to a local spa if your family wants to get something "just for you." Or theater tickets or a GC to a local restaurant as a family/couple gift.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#66 of 116 Old 12-24-2006, 06:53 PM
 
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Hmmmm.... A&A just what size is that "referee" type shirt? My dd's gift from dh and I is a box filled with dress up stuff. That would fit right in! I think we should get a post xmas swap going! I'm hoping not to have too much I need to swap though! My mom bought mostly stuff for dd with me or from my store! And Dh and I got a hardware store gift card towards our kitchen renovation (how cool is THAT!) and a museum membership.

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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#67 of 116 Old 12-24-2006, 07:07 PM
 
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So far I've got a package of play food imitating crappy fake food we'd never really eat (boxed meals, canned veggies, bleh), an outfit that doesn't fit well with Strawberry Shortcake on it (I don't let DD wear characters!), and a Sesame Street Chutes and Ladders game set to go back to the store. The game will be traded for non-character Chutes and Ladders, the clothes for most anything, she has too frickin' many clothes already, and the crappy fakey food for maybe some M&D wooden food, if they carry it at Toys R Us.

A noisy Dora Sit N Spin has slipped its way in (harder to "disappear" because from our roommates, though I think they'll be as grateful as I when the batteries die), along with a bunch of cheap plastic play dishes.

I seem to recall telling the giver of the crap food and cheap plastic dishes (stepmom) that I was trying to get nicer quality stuff for DD, and that I had already gotten her a set of wool fruit and veggies. Argh.

MIL gave DD a set of twin baby dolls and a bunch of baby doll accessories. The baby bucket will probably join the other one she got from FIL and DH's stepmom last year out in the garage very soon, and I already made the bottles, bottle warmer, and pacifiers for the dolls go away, and took the label off the jar labeled "baby food." The accessories included 2 disposable diapers. Those lasted about as long as the real thing. DD happily imagined the one with no longer sticky side-stickies was poopy and tossed it.

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#68 of 116 Old 12-25-2006, 11:19 AM
 
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And for the second year in a row we received a set of queen sheets. Actually 2 sets last year. One set was returned. The second set is sitting in our closet. Should have sent that to a MIN this year.
Do you at least have a queen-sized bed? And they aren't Sponge Bob, are they?
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#69 of 116 Old 12-25-2006, 08:25 PM
 
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We got a really nice Williams Sonoma meat thermometer from my grandparents-in-law. It's expensive and good enough quality that I feel bad calling it junk, but we don't eat meat nearly often enough for it to be useful.

(I do, however, have no qualms about calling the electric candles from MIL junk )

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#70 of 116 Old 12-25-2006, 10:23 PM
 
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So the only thing we got that we won't use was a Leapfrog Word Whammer... I asked her if she wanted to move on to some crafts she could open and use right away, and she was totally thrilled to do that without opening the LF. Now I don't know what we'll do with it. Generally I don't like their stuff because it's annoyingly loud, and way-too-early-"academics." But... Dd's best friend has the fridge magnet thing and I HATE it, but she does love it. Dh said to exchange it immediately, but I dunno if she'll remember it. Among the loads of really cool stuff she got! Hmmmm.....

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#71 of 116 Old 12-25-2006, 11:58 PM
 
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I got a bunch of scented bath sets from the IL's, that stuff makes my skin break out. And a pink sweatshirt /zipup sweater from my grandma that (she used to) knows that I HATE pink!

At least my parents and closer family tends to ask me things I NEED and then actually come through and buy them! They gave us a large glass mixing bowl and a small shop vac (the wet dry kind coz my truck leaks) wool socks for DH and a fire alarm/smoke detector, which were things I had told them that we needed.
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#72 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 12:29 AM
 
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When I pointed this out to MIL (I tried to be tactful- I wanted to know where she got them so I could exchange them for the right size) she said, "Yeah, I know, but they didn't have SpongeBob sheets in full."

Umm.... I think we might have married brothers. My MIL sent a Christmas dress to dd size 9-12 months, she'll be 6 months day after tomorrow. When we called her to tell her the dress was too big she said "yeah that lady always makes her dresses big" (it's a homemade dress) THEN WHY BUY IT IF IT'S TOO BIG???!!!!???!!! (whew feels good to get that out, I'm done now)

I just don't understand it.

Lori, mom to Elise 6/06, Ivy 4/08 and pos.gif 12/11
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#73 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 12:43 AM
 
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gosh. my family is so practical. my mom just asks me what i want within a certain price range. i tell her. she gets it for me. also buys off my children's lists.
thanks mom.
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#74 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 01:06 AM
 
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Um, what are electric candles?

Namaste,

Michelle

M : proud mama to B (16) : and G (8) and : x 2 :
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#75 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 01:53 AM
 
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OK, after reading everyone else's posts I am going to out myself as the most ungrateful brattiest person ever : : : and ask a " what would you do with this gift" question.
In our family, all the adults exchange names, which is actually a very good thing because it eliminates all the useless gifting that goes on. It works really well in our family. this year SIL got my name, and she is new to the family and had no clue what to get me, and I am EXTREMELY hard to buy for, even DH got me gift cards (in addition to my sweet other little present that I will mention in a minute), that's how hard I am to shop for.... so what did she buy for me? drum roll please..... a gold and diamond necklace. Here is the problem ( once again fully admitting that I am horribly picky and ungrateful when it comes to jewelry and I have so much guilt over this).... I hate gold, hate how it looks on me, I own absolutely no ( zero,zip,nada) gold jewelry for this reason. I will never wear it. Lovely, wonderful DH knows this and bought me a white gold/silver diamond eternity necklace, so now I have a necklace that I think is absolutely gorgeous and it's from him and I will treasure it forever... and I still have the gold one too.
I feel awful.... and I hate to think that this necklace will totally collect dust in my bathroom. I am afraid if I give it to another family member that she will notice and feel bad that I gave away the only thing she has ever bought for me. So... what would you do? Any ideas? I contemplated ebay but I have never sold anything on there and have no idea how it works. Feel free to throw some rotten tomatoes my way, I am sure I deserve them, but throw some advice my way too.

Namaste,

Michelle

M : proud mama to B (16) : and G (8) and : x 2 :
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#76 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 02:04 AM
 
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we have that obnixous globe... my kids like it... go figure... and its not that annoying.. i just wish there was a way to lower the volume
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#77 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 02:16 AM
 
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http://www.tlji.com/store/elpy-tljphonicslaptop.htm

for the mom who got the shape sorter and the phonics thingy... the link to the phonics describes it as having a ' Alphabet Shooting Gallery' among other games... ummm excuse me im more mainstream then most mommy's on here but we are NO GUNS at all... what child needs an abc shooting gallery??

what was the relative thinking?

the castle shape shorter has freaky looking people on top..
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#78 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 02:57 AM
 
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Um, what are electric candles?

Namaste,

Michelle
A white cylinder with a vaguely flame-shaped lightbulb on the top, basically.

I think they plug into the wall, but might use batteries.

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#79 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 04:12 AM
 
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My neices and nephews got this globe, and personally I LOVED IT!!

I know what you mean about the gifts that are NOT going to be used at all!!

Me and Amanda both got bath sets. I never use these things. Amanda -- she's not girly to say the least!

I don't really feel sorry. I just pass them back somewhere hopefully. When it's been to long -- to the garbage they head!

Erika SO to *S*: and Aunt to *A*(10), *Z*(9), and *D*(8)
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#80 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 04:45 AM
 
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I personally have no prob w/ clothes that are too big for babes and young kids. They tend to grow. Now, if it's a winter thing, it's liable to be too small for your now 6 mo. come next cold weather season, making it kind of annoying. But if it's appropriate for summer wear, who cares if it's too big? It's a handmade dress!!!

DD got a coat from FIL and DH's stepmom that's several sizes too big. Seems to me it will be good for several winters that way. It's easy to shorten up sleeves a bit. No worries.

I got a new SEWING MACHINE from them, too. And they gave DD books (some of them kind of junky books, imo--one of Disney stories, and a bunch of Golden Books, but what the hey, I got a sewing machine!)

And Dh got me an air mattress, for camping, which is kind of a so-so gift as camping in winter in the desert tends to involve the Amazing Shrinking Air Mattress and Cold Butt.

On the one hand, it's better than the cot I've got (hey a rhyme) because it's queen sized. On the other, 6 nights of Cold Butt would not be acceptable. (I'm camping alone w/ DD for 6 nights at Estrella War this year.)

On the other, I was hoping to get materials to make a cot like another person's in my SCA group, which is very cool looking, breaks down nicely, and is wider than a toddler bed.

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#81 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ravin, totally totally OT but I wish I could go to Estrella.

We live in the northeast and attend Pennsic every year (with kids of course - it's amazing to me how many people go without their kids, and how many strangers find their way over to me and my brood in the market to say how much they miss their kids.

Have fun!

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#82 of 116 Old 12-26-2006, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, here is an update on the original post.

The gift was a printed wooden wall plaque with an inspirational saying on it. Not handmade or anything unique, though it is "cute" if you like that sort of thing. I'm not the kind of person who hangs decorative stuff up, though I've made exception for a couple of exceptional things over the years.

The inspirational saying is nice enough, as touching as many that I've seen.

So I think I'm going to give in to my guilt feelings and hang it somewhere long enough to internalize the inspirational saying, and maybe long enough for the giver to see it hanging in my house (or possibly not).

And then it's moving on to bless someone else.

I am telling myself that the inspirational reminder is what she wanted me to have, and the wooden plaque was just the vehicle for the sentiment. Right? Right?? So once I memorize the saying, I can be done with the plaque?

I think sometimes people give the kind of gifts they would like to receive, and I think this is maybe one of those things. Though I couldn't in a million years gift it back to her. She and I already have an ongoing pact that we will not give a gift to each other unless we feel particularly moved to do so (i.e., no obligatory holiday gift-giving), and once in the past when she asked my honest opinion (or so I thought) of something she gave me, and I answered politely but truthfully, she got really offended and I think she still hasn't gotten over it. It feels so dang complicated when it's impossible to receive a gift without the attached emotional strings.

Anyway, thanks for all the support! I didn't expect so many responses, and I'm really grateful to know I'm not a lone disgraceful weirdo for thinking this way.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#83 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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This thread is where I belong. We arrived on Christmas morning to my parents' house and there were too many presents to fit under the tree. They have two livingrooms and two trees and BOTH were FULL. I feel like such a selfish b____ for being annoyed by the sheer VOLUME of gifts we received - it took four trips to bring it all into the house!!

My mom said she'd give me hand me down toys from my nephew and give us money for DS's college account. Instead, he got a bunch of new, overly packaged, age-inappropriate plastic crap that he doesn't need - and no college money. He's one year old and she got him a RAZOR SCOOTER!! What was she thinking?

She asked what I wanted and I told her we needed a DVD/VCR combo with a CD player to play burned CDs. Just that one gift would be perfect. Our VCR is broken, DVD player skips, and I'd prefer to have one item instead of three pieces on the shelf. She agreed that it was a great idea. We saw one in the day-after-Thanksgiving sales for $50. Instead, she got us a DVD video recorder that doesn't play VHS or burned CDs. I'm certain that it cost more than the one we wanted and adds one more piece of equipment to the shelf.

Even more obnoxious is that I was really clear about trying to eliminate clutter, not wanting a lot of extra stuff, and ONE gift to the family would be perfect. We talked about how hard I've been working at paring down junk. I just wasn't listened to and it bothers me, maybe more than it should. I wanted to cry. Okay, I'm done. I'm going to recommend home made gifts for next year with a $50 limit. I just can't keep this up.
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#84 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 01:10 AM
 
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Oh I am so sorry. Really, I have been there. My parents now just send us money, which really, I don't like, it just says that they really don't know me, but considering they don't know me it is much preferrable. Maybe have a garage sale and put the money into a college fund? And then so they get the idea say, thank you for all the wonderful presents we made$$$ and put it in this college fund for him I probably wouldn't have the guts to do it, but if you have the guts, I would so do soemthing liike that.
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#85 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 01:45 AM
 
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...too many presents to fit under the tree. They have two livingrooms and two trees and BOTH were FULL. I feel like such a selfish b____ for being annoyed by the sheer VOLUME of gifts we received - it took four trips to bring it all into the house......!!
s

No, we have sort of a similar dynamic and I don't know how to describe it...it feels so gross and overdone--I have almost a physical reaction to the "sheer VOLUME" you describe. And that's with IL's whom I adore, and who I have frequent discussions with about simplifying.

We put our presents (from Santa) under the tree, and our toyroom was filled with gifts from the inlaws. The other odd dynamic is that there is obvious disappointment from SIL and MIL that my kids (2 and 4) simply open a gift and without really processing what's inside rush off to open another. I decluttered 391 items in about 10 days before Christmas and I think it may be a wash after xmas....


I just don't know how to figure this out...we need to have some gifts, especially for the kids, but how do we contain it and still have the magic...


worst gifts (for me):
  • bath-set gifts, from 2 different folks
  • quirky framed illustrations from MIL
  • assorted kitchen utensils as well as navy toile flannel sheets, all from Marshall's from DH . I can totally see where his head was at (oh sh$#, Christmas is here--I gotta get something. Usually he's much more thoughtful)

Best gifts (for me):
  • subscription to martha stewart everyday meals from SIL
  • Everyday Mexican by Rick Bayless from DH
  • The next "french women don't get fat book" from MIL
  • Justin Timberlake CD from DH
  • Wusthoff Trident bread and paring knife from DH

I'm still on the fence about this magical moon perfume from DH....sort of powdery smelling, I might return
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#86 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 02:43 AM
 
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<snip>

Its sort of like that fruit cake that Johnny Carson used to say is circulating the globe for years- Someone takes it to a party and the receiver takes it somewhere else....IF you dont know who Johnny Carson is or dont remember him-- I am REALLY Dating myself!!
Wow! I'm so old (40) I wouldn't have even qualified the comment, just assuming everyone knows JC! Also, we live near Claxton, home of the Famous Claxton Fruitcake which DH sent to all of his family this year. Previously, his uncle has actually asked for one! If they're made well they actually taste pretty good. I still need to make them some homemade divinity. If you've ever had a store-bought version of divinity, well, just forget it. Not even remotely the same...
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#87 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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I like Claxton fruitcake too. :

PILES of huge, holiday-themed stuffed animals (for the kid he has been told for years has dust allergies & can't have them. We are in the process of ripping every sq ft of carpet out of our house, so I can see how he'd think it isn't a big deal or anything. )

I got a garish floral mailbox cover, too (we have a brick mailbox). Sigh.

OH, & because fil can't be bothered to send a gift receipt, I got to exchange holiday-themed stuffed animals at the mall for all the store credit they are worth on the day after Xmas. A buck & a quarter apiece. That was worth standing in line for. (I would've just sent 'em to Goodwill, but was at the mall already exchanging the uglyass grandma clothes that don't fit already- but at least those relatives sent a gift receipt!)

OMG, knitted gifts- I want to love anything homemade, but I got this ghastly hot pink furry boa/scarf that looks like the fringe on a lampshade in Barbie's bordello. Good God. I wish dsm would decide if I'm 9 or 79!
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#88 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 01:08 PM
 
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The most obnoxious Christmas gift ever has found it's way into my home

My mother bought dd a cheerleader doll that does these 5 completely obnoxious cheers -- and of course, dd has memorized them all now :
Honestly, this thing is ugly, rude and annoying. I already told dd that cheerleader doll has to go to "cheerleading camp" soon, so she'll only be able to play with her for a few days.

Luckily, she bought nice outfits for my other two kids!
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#89 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 01:39 PM
 
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. . . we have sort of a similar dynamic and I don't know how to describe it...it feels so gross and overdone--I have almost a physical reaction to the "sheer VOLUME" you describe. And that's with IL's whom I adore, and who I have frequent discussions with about simplifying.
Same here.

We have two large garbage bags FULL of toys/gifts that are still in the packaging waiting to go out to charity, and that's not including the ones I compromised on.

Know what I hate most of all? Stuffed animal toys. They are all so cute and soft and reek of man-made-materials. They are a dime a dozen and we seem to recieve many dimes worth iykwim . . . we got a huge white, glittery, Eeeyore. Huge. I have to keep it because it will be obvious if it's missing. :

And I LOVE my in-laws. But it feels like they belong to a different religion-- the materialism religion.

It seems like the number of presents is the thing to them-- they had a smaller budget this year, so instead of buying one quality toy, they bought a bunch of cheap stuff. I mean, dollar-store type stuff. I just don't know . . .:

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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#90 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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My SIL just dosnet get it. We dont want to exchange!!! We dont need anymore plastic garbage made in china or a dvd that literally sucks the smarts out of my dd's head.

We try to be tactful, but I think I am just going to have to say
ENOUGH, we dont want it or need it!! I will throw it out when I get home! Which I do with some things because I dont want to donate them because I dont want children having them.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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