I have issues with this as well.
I have a gift list for DS that I maintain and distribute....and it NEVER gets used by anyone.
There's a zoo membership, ski lift tickets, $$ for his savings account, savings bonds, books, a few DVD's, music/karate/gymnastics lessons, a good quality sleeping bag, etc. It's almost as if it can't come from TRU, then it's not worth the effort on anyone else's part.
Unfortunately, I have to deal with this from my DH as well. My MIL is the worst offender by far....and the apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree. Every Yule, he wants to give DS a gift that's *only* from him. And it's always some dumb toy that Alex could care less about. A couple of years ago, it was a Shark Park for his Hot Wheels cars. Alex doesn't play with it....but all his friends love it.
And if I got rid of it, DH would be heartbroken. Great. I'm waiting for Alex to offer it up to the Goodwill bag one of these days......
Of course, DH then complains that Alex has WAY too many toys and he's sick of tripping over them all the time.
Anyhoo.....I'm glad I'm not the only one....and I'm loving some of these ideas!