It is so hard to be gracious about holiday gifts when trying to banish clutter! - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 02:01 PM
 
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Yeah on volume. I don't get how people think I can deal with such volume when I'm taking care of a 4 month old and a long hours-working dh and a dog and two cats and the apartment they all live in. They call and ask about how we're liking xyz and I still haven't unpacked the suitcase it's in yet. Or if ds fits in such and such an outfit and I haven't even washed it yet.

And this year they went easy on us since we were traveling for Christmas. Seriously.

ETA: Oh yeah, and then they're all, "How's your new novel coming?" Yeah, I'm getting a lot of work done on that these days.
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#92 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 04:10 PM
 
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Totally with you folks. We did really well with gifts this year (meaning we received a lot less than usual), so I was in good spirits on Xmas. Then I had my annual meltdown the next day when the kids received gifts from one of dh's employees. One was a little people airplane which was fine once it had a "batterotomy" (think lobotomy for batteries; we just take them out). But the other was a plastic battery-operated Thomas the Train set. I actually like the wooden Thomas stuff, which ds has a lot of. Of course, then the engine broke while I was looking at the battery compartment, so I had to have the "sorry your toy broke already" talk with ds. I think the giver meant well but I'm not sure why she feels obligated to buy the kids gifts when dh is her employer -- I mean, a gift for him seems like more than enough.

Dh is a recovering packrat, and I hate to be critical when he's come so far, but he always backslides a little at Xmas time. As in, I say why bother to find a place for something that doesn't bless our lives, while dh thinks we should keep everything for a mandatory period of time (like until the giver visits our house next). Um, no, not if the gift is addressed to me.
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#93 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 06:50 PM
 
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Ack! We've gotten the plastic Thomas stuff too. Such a punch in your kid's gut, when they wanted the wooden stuff (and no, not just because wooden is 'nicer' or I am opposed to plastic, the plastic one is not open-ended at all, & it breaks, & poof! Sad kids). I will just say 'no Thomas'. What a way to say, "Ooh! You're poor! Here's your crap!"

I felt the same way when I was 13 & I wanted to learn to play guitar like my cousin, & my parents got me a plastic kiddy one, that of course sounded like crap & didn't play music. Yeah, at 13 I so couldn't tell, Dad. Come to think of it, the one year my dd had an Angel Tree gift, it was one of those Dollar Store cheapass Barbies, too. Why do people BUY such crap? I got the kids a few cheap prsents this year too, we are broke, but at least it was stuff like punching balloons & juggling balls & a kalaidoscope- a Dollar Store collapsable- you know the way the heads sink in- 'Barbie' knockoff is just so chav. Get ONE Ritter figurine instead of twelve pieces of sh!t!
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#94 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 07:09 PM
 
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We stayed home this Christmas, skipping my second oldest sisters annual present fest. Now, we stayed home because that's what we all wanted to do, but boy....the day after Christmas was so much calmer. We would have come home from my sisters with 2 garbage bags full of plastic, who knows what. We still exchanged with one of my sisters and my niece, but they were simple gifts the kids asked for. It was and is so much nicer to not have bags of stuff that I have to worry about regifting, donating, returning, blech.

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#95 of 116 Old 12-27-2006, 07:23 PM
 
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Despite spending tons of money on me every year I never got the guitar I asked for every single year until I was an adult and hammered home the point. (Still haven't learned to play it, but hope to take some lessons now to at least learn some songs for DS.) Also, never got the chemistry set. Nor the encyclopedias I wanted in college (pre-Internet). Yet, illustrating the point, did get a brand new car when I was 16. Did get Mikimoto pearls, despite having three strands already I never wore, AND the appraisal value was included in the bottom of the box! (Stupidly, I refused to accept them as I was so angry I'd been given such an unthoughtful - for me - gift. Should have sold them and gotten the new transmission I needed for my car!)

So, this year we're asked yet again for our wish lists. After spending hours thinking of gifts DS could really use and we'd really like they bought ONE item from the list. We walked in and saw the big plastic desk they'd bought and the bookshelf/storage unit, and both DH and I just stood there. We couldn't believe they'd taken it upon themselves to choose what furniture we should have in our home. I think that's actually really arrogant and not a "gift" at all. Where are we supposed to put these items? They will know we aren't using them.

Every single one of my siblings hated Christmas this year. We're so sick of it. None of us could give an acceptable wish list, and they actually got angry with us for not being materialistic enough! I finally decided next year I'm going to ask, "So what can I put on my wish list for YOU that will make YOU happy?"

So, what do I do with the furniture? We're supposed to be grateful! :

Oh, we couldn't even fit it all in the car and haven't even gone to pick it all up. Totally do not miss any of it nor are we thinking about wanting any of it. Just a waste!

Then, when I told MIL who sent two Thomas the Tank Engine items that DS really liked the book (I'd been dreading what she was going to send) she said, "Then maybe next year we can add to what he has!" He has one single tank engine. Ugh! I'm going to have to find that wooden under the bed/sofa set I saw and make sure she understands we just don't have the room for all these sets of things! Anyone have that one?
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#96 of 116 Old 12-28-2006, 07:44 PM
 
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How did I kill this thread? :
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#97 of 116 Old 12-28-2006, 07:52 PM
 
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I'll shoot it after it's quit breathing...

Wanted to suggest putting clear packing tape over the noise openings on noisy crap plastic toys. We've done it and make a BIG point of showing the grandparents how we've managed to make these obnoxious toys tolerable (we use the word, "obnoxious" ).

I forget about places like womens' shelters for stuff that someone else could use and might enjoy that's not technically crap but isn't something I would use and have the space for.

The joke around here this year is "are you going to get another pastry blender?" My birthday is in early December and in the hopes of getting things I can use since our families *have* to buy stuff (as opposed to sending money that I could stretch way further) I made a list of things I could use in my kitchen...and I got three pastry blenders! And two hand mixers, 5 whisks...: It's all nice stainless steel stuff, though, so I'm keeping an extra set for the kids to play with so I don't have to share what I'm trying to use when cooking. And the surplus? ???
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#98 of 116 Old 12-28-2006, 08:10 PM
 
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I'm with ya mama's. We tried to buy ONLY things that we know the kids will play with and get them active (example a slide for their swingset, tether tennis and a sand pit) and a lot of crafty stuff since they are very into that. We had hubbies brother & his wife over... they live VERY on a budget (as do we really but he doesn't have good steady work all the time) so we really just wanted their company for the holiday. Apparently sil picked up bits & pieces all year from the dollar store to make our kids stockings as well as hers : At LEAST a dozen items are already in the rubbish as they broke, didn't work, or were just plain CRAP! She did however, crochet me a WONDERFUL throw cover for the sofa : Best gift EVER! hehe

Pagan  lovin'  WOW playing mum to 5 boys in the wonderful land of Oz ... FOR THE HORDE! hehehe
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#99 of 116 Old 12-28-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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I'll shoot it after it's quit breathing...

Wanted to suggest putting clear packing tape over the noise openings on noisy crap plastic toys. We've done it and make a BIG point of showing the grandparents how we've managed to make these obnoxious toys tolerable (we use the word, "obnoxious" ).

I forget about places like womens' shelters for stuff that someone else could use and might enjoy that's not technically crap but isn't something I would use and have the space for.

The joke around here this year is "are you going to get another pastry blender?" My birthday is in early December and in the hopes of getting things I can use since our families *have* to buy stuff (as opposed to sending money that I could stretch way further) I made a list of things I could use in my kitchen...and I got three pastry blenders! And two hand mixers, 5 whisks...: It's all nice stainless steel stuff, though, so I'm keeping an extra set for the kids to play with so I don't have to share what I'm trying to use when cooking. And the surplus? ???
Thanks! And great idea to make a show of putting the tape on things. I decided I'll look for the Thomas set I wouldn't mind having and offer to let MIL get it, instead of DH and I (which we wouldn't), for DS for his birthday. That way she can fulfill her need to give more Thomas items, but with an item we could live with. (It's a pull out from under the bed board with track, so we can at least keep it together and under the bed or sofa.) After this holiday I realize I have to think ahead. And, it really is the volume of items we receive. Not even "junk," but just not things we'd use at all. I'm still wondering why they wanted the list when they bought only one item on it. Watching DS playing with our big broom so much today I keep thinking, "Do they just not get that we actually know he would have loved a child sized broom?" Sigh...

Oh, about the women's shelters... When I called to offer our old mattress, which I thought they'd use IN the shelter they told me they would give it to a woman starting a new home. I hadn't thought about it that way, that these items are usually better than nothing for someone starting over with nothing but the clothes on their backs! And, used kitchen items, etc. Never thought of giving those to a shelter before.
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#100 of 116 Old 12-28-2006, 09:03 PM
 
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Well, we did okay I'd say I mean we got lots of presents which I expected my family is just that way, but they were at least not too outrageous or more than i was expecting. Most of what I got was stuff on my list. My dh got me a new keyboard for my laptop (which no longer backspaces since my son spilt milk on it) - It's a nice present, practical but I wouldn't have gotten it for myself (I just make due by selecting and hitting delete) and my brothers and DH combined to get me the new version of my camera (with the understanding from DH that I will sell the old one to make up the cost) which I love, since I use it all the time. I did get one duplicate gift a swivel sweeper, but I think I can return it to bed bath and beyond for store credit and get a battery powered light for our poorly lit and thus impossible to find anything in coat closet.

The kids did okay too - DD got mostly dress up stuff or art supplies, though DS got a lot of trucks (though he had none, so), I think I will rehome a couple of them.

One success was convincing my brother that buying the adjustable basketball hoop I suggested was plenty of gift for both kids, thus avoiding some random glut of other toys he felt he needed to get to make up the price difference. (They don't know its only $30 for both of them, and they are too young to be counting their presents, they aren't even aware of who gave them what)

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#101 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 11:20 AM
 
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Christmas is so hard. My inlaws got my stepson 4 gameboy games and a portable DVD player. Cause, you know, any time without electronics is time wasted.

It's really tough, because I've talked to DSS's mom about this at length, and she hates him having the Gameboy, too. It was a gift from other grandparents. She said, "I never wanted him to have video games, period. But now I just think it's inevitable." Blech!

Not to mention all the other stuff they got him, of which there was a ton. My DH made him a really cool wooden shield and sword, painted silver and blue and gold. And DSS hasn't touched them- he's too busy with Gameboy. So now I sort of feel like we are to DS what ILs are to us- givers of stuff we don't need/cannot use. :

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#102 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 11:51 AM
 
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I have to say that my family was good this year. they only bought things off our lists. My Mom is usually really good like that. She will even call me to triple check to make sure she is getting the right thing. My il's gave ds a zoo pass for his birthday and for christmas he got a game and a savings bond. My mil always looks for clutter free or at least low clutter gifts. Which is really funny since their house is filled with clutter. They rarely get rid of ANYTHING. They finally shoveled out their attic last summer and had to pretty much pitch everything because it was ruined from sitting there for years.

But I am trying to figure out what to do with all the liquor that came home from work with dh!!! He got gift cards and hard liquor. Expensive hard liquor. So we now have 6 bottles of liquor and we don't drink. Well Dh has a beer once in awhile, but no whiskey or Bailey's and whatever else in those bottles.

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#103 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 01:25 PM
 
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Send the whiskey & Bailey's right over.

I imagine your clutterbunny mil knows full well about the pitfalls of clutter & that's why she is so thoughtful about not doing that to you. A blessing on her!
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#104 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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Apparently sil picked up bits & pieces all year from the dollar store to make our kids stockings as well as hers : At LEAST a dozen items are already in the rubbish as they broke, didn't work, or were just plain CRAP! She did however, crochet me a WONDERFUL throw cover for the sofa : Best gift EVER! hehe
Awwww...see, this is what makes me really sad and depressed at the holidays, when this kind of thing happens. My family doesn't have a lot of $ and usually sends $ store type stuff. Then it breaks immediately or doesn't work, and ds is frustrated b/c he's trying to get it to work, and I feel bad about throwing it in the trash b/c it's useless or broken. I can understand that people can't spend a lot on gifts- we are in the same boat- but I'd SO much rather $10 spent on a quality small toy, chocolates, or a GC to somewhere, than $10 worth of useless plastic that will just go straight to the landfill. I feel so sad that people don't have a lot to spend, but the little they do have gets spent basically on trash

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But I am trying to figure out what to do with all the liquor that came home from work with dh!!! He got gift cards and hard liquor. Expensive hard liquor. So we now have 6 bottles of liquor and we don't drink. Well Dh has a beer once in awhile, but no whiskey or Bailey's and whatever else in those bottles.
Uh, I can think of a good use for it. Shall I send you my snail mail address?
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#105 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 05:50 PM
 
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Send that liquor right on over. Let's see three takers and 6 bottles, hot tamale!!! Not that we are huge drinkers either but occasionally...:
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#106 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 05:59 PM
 
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Maybe we should brainstorm a list of responses for where something is when someone later says 'What happened to the X I gave you?' (If you don't mind a little fib to save hurt feelings of course)

"Oh, I had it out DS/DD bumped it and smashed it"
"I didn't realize it wasn't dishwasher safe"
"DH/I meant well, but he/I just doesn't know how to do laundry, he shrunk it / washed it with a red shirt / forgot it should have been dry cleaned."
"The cat/dog/parakeet got to it while we were out"
and of course if it was a cheap item, you could just say 'Oh, it was too bad it looked so good but it broke the first time I tried to use it!'
'I lent it to a friend'

LOVE THESE!!! I am currently committing them to memory....

treehugger.gif Bex -- Single, hardworking mama to reading.gif DS (11), love.gif DD (7), & flowerkitty.gif Lars (13)
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#107 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 08:41 PM
 
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#108 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 08:44 PM
 
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When I was returning the plastic fountain to Big Lots last night (sigh), I saw a big giant slate fountain someone had returned, & when I asked the return lady if it worked, she said, "Oh, yeah, but the guy who was bringing it in said that ' it was not elegant enough for their home.'"

We were like, hello, you're in Big Lots . (But we had to concede that's why I was bringing the plastic one in!)
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#109 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 09:12 PM
 
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But I am trying to figure out what to do with all the liquor that came home from work with dh!!! He got gift cards and hard liquor. Expensive hard liquor. So we now have 6 bottles of liquor and we don't drink. Well Dh has a beer once in awhile, but no whiskey or Bailey's and whatever else in those bottles.
Send it my way!! Or regift it down the line.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#110 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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But I am trying to figure out what to do with all the liquor that came home from work with dh!!! He got gift cards and hard liquor. Expensive hard liquor. So we now have 6 bottles of liquor and we don't drink. Well Dh has a beer once in awhile, but no whiskey or Bailey's and whatever else in those bottles.
Dh got 2 jackets (with company logos on them, so I don't want them), a couple of useful gift cards, 2 gift baskets (one Godiva, I'm fine with that ), about $300 worth of booze, and about the same in liquor store gift cards. I have to try and get a cash refund on the booze, as we don't drink whiskey or brandy, but the gift cards we are stuck with. If we drink $50 worth of booze a year, that's a lot.
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#111 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 10:51 PM
 
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Awwww...see, this is what makes me really sad and depressed at the holidays, when this kind of thing happens. My family doesn't have a lot of $ and usually sends $ store type stuff. Then it breaks immediately or doesn't work, and ds is frustrated b/c he's trying to get it to work, and I feel bad about throwing it in the trash b/c it's useless or broken. I can understand that people can't spend a lot on gifts- we are in the same boat- but I'd SO much rather $10 spent on a quality small toy, chocolates, or a GC to somewhere, than $10 worth of useless plastic that will just go straight to the landfill. I feel so sad that people don't have a lot to spend, but the little they do have gets spent basically on trash
My grandmother does this a lot, she doesn't have a lot of money, but has always made each of us grandkids and now great-grandkids a gift bag with little items. I think she did pretty well this year since she asked what to get DD and I said she loves art supplies (both my grandparents were artists) so she got a ton of that sort of consumable stuff, markers and paper, etc so I loved that I didn't have to feel bad about it this year!

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#112 of 116 Old 12-29-2006, 11:34 PM
 
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Use the liquor for cooking and baking. I've even made a whiskey pork tenderloin with horseradish sauce from the Atlanta Junior League cookbook, "True Grits." I felt like a drunk buying a bottle of whiskey to make it; not a big drinker myself. I think the book is still packed-up or I'd give you the recipe, but maybe you could search for recipes with the particular types of liquor?

Funny... when I google pork and whiskey I found a site for the Pork & Whiskey festival, but apparantly it's a secret: http://porkandwhiskey.com/ Gotta love the South!
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#113 of 116 Old 12-30-2006, 01:34 AM
 
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I have a pork roast I need to make tomorrow, but no whiskey! Damn! (Do you have a vague inkling of the recipe? Whiskey can be gotten...)
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#114 of 116 Old 12-30-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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I have way too many gift cards now- I got a $25 best buy from work, plus a $100 store credit from best buy as I returned an IPOD fm transmitter my mom got me. I got one from MIL that was simpler ( $50 ) that I kept instead- this will be pretty useful since I love my IPOD. I also have a lot of JCP items to return with gift receipts- clothes that are not my style but my MOm tried at least. One was a sweater with sequins on the collar, another a v neck shirt that is too small. I also got a gc to Victoria Secret- $25 that hopefully will at least buy maybe a bra. She spent too much on meAA!A!!

I also have a $10 gc to Barnes and Noble that I got from year end work at my job- not sure if that will buy anything much or not. Overall I am very gratefull- the kids got some junk though like play makeup ( my girls are fairly young) tht I am not happy with- and my 4 yr old got a baby bratz that actually has lingerie on that I am going to try & take back to toyrs since that is where it was purchased.
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#115 of 116 Old 12-30-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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...I also have a $10 gc to Barnes and Noble that I got from year end work at my job- not sure if that will buy anything much or not. ....
cup of coffee & a magazine...assuming you have a free hour or two. I love B&N gc's
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#116 of 116 Old 12-30-2006, 03:08 PM
 
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I wouldnt mind a few hours at B & N sipping some coffee and reading a few zines...

We got checks from both side, so I just went depositing...

I think I will hit my goal of saving before Jan 31st with this.

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