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#1 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As I wade through the mounds of useless gifts from my son's first birthday party...
I begin to worry about the holidays, at an all-time early.
I'm sure this board will be flooded with this kind of stuff in a few months, but for a heads-up, what in the world can I tell people for Christmas, when my son has enough toys and clothes to last a few years?? Seriously, my mom is already asking...
And in return, I'm trying to think of what kind of gifts I can do, to both streamline shopping for me, and to not dump useless gifts onto others...

Katie,  sahm to two wild and crazy guys banana.gif (8/07) and  bouncy.gif (3/10) and their sweet new baby sister baby.gif (4-1-13) 

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#2 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 08:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama View Post
As I wade through the mounds of useless gifts from my son's first birthday party...
I begin to worry about the holidays, at an all-time early.
I'm sure this board will be flooded with this kind of stuff in a few months, but for a heads-up, what in the world can I tell people for Christmas, when my son has enough toys and clothes to last a few years?? Seriously, my mom is already asking...
And in return, I'm trying to think of what kind of gifts I can do, to both streamline shopping for me, and to not dump useless gifts onto others...
what about craft supplies .. at least you can use them up .. and they always come in handy. paint, crayons, craft paper, felts, etc etc
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#3 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 08:47 PM
 
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Make a list of your favorite charities for people to choose from and they can make a donation in your child's name.
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#4 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 08:50 PM
 
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With DH's family we only do homemade items or books off of our Amazon lists. Art supplies is another good choice.
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#5 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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I think anything consumable is great--art supplies, tickets to events, bath products if you use those, special food...things that get used up and don't add to clutter.
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#6 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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I told my friends and families only to buy/ exchange gifts if we spend the holidays together. If they need to send something send $ and we put it in their bank account. If a gift is what they want to buy well we usually ask for new mittens, socks, slippers, books. ( is there such thing as enough books?)
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#7 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 08:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama View Post
As I wade through the mounds of useless gifts from my son's first birthday party...
I begin to worry about the holidays, at an all-time early.
I'm sure this board will be flooded with this kind of stuff in a few months, but for a heads-up, what in the world can I tell people for Christmas, when my son has enough toys and clothes to last a few years?? Seriously, my mom is already asking...
And in return, I'm trying to think of what kind of gifts I can do, to both streamline shopping for me, and to not dump useless gifts onto others...
With DP and DSD I know as it is what they want, or hope for. Sometimes I know with my siblings. When in doubt, I ask them for a few ideas before holidays, and pick one of the things they actually mentioned. That makes two of us happy - I know I got them them something they needed, and they will enjoy whatever the gift is.

As far as gifts for your kid, I try to be thankful for whatever comes their way, even if it's not something I would pick out for them. Books and art supplies are always a hit, when people ask, I'd ask for books. *hugs*

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#8 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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For the "early" birthdays, you can put "no gifts please" on the party invite. It will cut down on the smaller, slightly less useful gifts. The grandparents will give things anyway, but if you are lucky they will ask first what you need.

I have tried being very specific with the g'parents - sometimes it works. Ask for college fund money if you can for Christmas!

For the 5 year birthday party, DS knew to expect presents, and we did not do "no presents please." We did disappear the presents after the party, and open them slowly over months. .
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#9 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 10:07 PM
 
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Books.
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#10 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
For the "early" birthdays, you can put "no gifts please" on the party invite. It will cut down on the smaller, slightly less useful gifts. \

.

: I did this! We just had DDs 2nd birthday party this weekend and I requested no gifts and NO ONE listened!!! :

And of course she got tons of plastic food for her kitchen I'm thankful that everyone wanted to be nice and bring gifts - but she really didn't need all the plastic crap she got...

I second the art supplies idea. And books. That's what I told everyone who asked (no one listened...ugh...)

Mariah
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#11 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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I say over and over that we try to avoid plastic, and how much we love books and clothes, especially some favorite brands.

My inlaws gave DD Robeez for every holiday until she was too big for them to find them in stores, and my parents usually send her some new stories and Hanna Anderson outfits. Then I compliment them like crazy, and they do it again the next time. Maybe we've just been lucky.

I personally can't stand kids parties that ask for no gifts, because over and over I'll follow the request and then feel like the only ones who came empty handed. Instead, we keep parties small, just with people we know well. Those people already know our preferences.
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#12 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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Carefully research expandable toys and let everyone know what he's getting from you, what he has and what goes with what he has.

I'm thinking things like blocks, train sets, dollhouse furniture, play kitchen, etc, etc. Most of our families are very pleased to have an idea of what will actually played be with, and to contribute to making a larger present. And the ones that don't have pretty cool taste in toys, anyway. We're lucky!
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#13 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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Books, can never have enough. Also you can always return those useless gifts and get necessities

attached to DH superhero.gif 10/03, DD1 blahblah.gif 8/06, DD2 bouncy.gif 12/07, DD3 energy.gif 5/09, DD4 slinggirl.gif 11/12

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#14 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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Giving a list of charities is a great idea!

I like to ask for things like zoo/museum/whatever memberships, or a few months of swim/karate/etc... classes for my DD.

I think the art supplies idea is also good.

The bottom line for me, though, is to be grateful for the gifts we recieve and pass them on if I can't use them.
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#15 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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That's that can be used up like craft supplies and gift certificates are great. Memberships and classes are wonderful because they aren't stuff to store.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#16 of 35 Old 08-18-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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I third? fourth? art supplies. The toddler likes nothing better than getting a fresh pack of stickers, paper, and new crayons! Next best she likes things from what I was little. She's got my old dolls, my old tricycle, and will be getting the wagon shortly. Why buy new toys?

I spend a lot of time reiterating that when she gets plastic toys, they end up broken in short order, and anyway, we don't want Made In China stuff. If any sneaks into the house, it goes out to a local veterans' group a few days later.

2 happy kids makes for a happy mother.

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#17 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 12:37 AM
 
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I love the art supplies idea. Is there anything better than a new box of crayons? :

I also like the idea of giving a membership or paying for a class. I have a friend whose DD is able to take gymnastics (which she just LOVES) because my friend's mom pays the class fee each Christmas.

I also like to give books. I like giving collections, because I can give a book or two for a birthday, another book or two for Christmas, and just keep adding to the collection. When you're looking at a collection like Beatrix Potter (23 books) ... that's a lot of birthdays and holidays taken care of.

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#18 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, so sorry if I'm repeating something!

I've tried asking for NO GIFTS too, and it just doesn't seem to work here. So, what we've been doing for a couple of birthdays is ask for things that can be used in the children's unit at the local hospital. Then, after their party, my kids take the items to the hospital and get to deliver them to the children's ward themselves. (And, as a side note, they even put my son's pic of him delivering the stuff in the paper once...he thought that was awesome). So, in the end, everyone wins. The kid feels good about giving, the givers feel good about giving to a good cause, and the kids at the hospital fee good about getting something while they're in the hospital.

And, like someone else said, the grandparent's will usually get them a little something too, but ours always ask what they need, and stick to that pretty good.
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#19 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 11:36 AM
 
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Wow. We've ALWAYS asked for "no gifts" at birthday parties. Maybe nobody dares to disobey me!!! Seriously, it works. If someone shows up with a present, it goes away until after the party.

Note: we limit birthday party invites to one friend per year of age and grandparents (who ignore the no gifts rule or complain bitterly about it). The first "party" is when they are 5 years old. Yeah, I'm a scrooge. I also dislike the whole notion of goodie bags. The first party was a playdo party, so DD & I made playdo to give to each guest. The other parties have had **home made** pinatas filled with NOT candy (just a little) and NOT crap. The kids were given little brown bags to fill up. Yeah, I'm a scrooge!!!!! But everybody loves our parties, so I'm doing **something** right.

I think a birthday party is an excuse to celebrate with friends and eat food that may be bad for you - it's not an excuse to "get stuff" - and my kids have been raised that way. They don't understand why other kids have presents at their parties - it's not much fun for guests to watch someone get to open presents. But, they don't go to a lot of parties, either. Unfortunately, the ones they go to are way over the top and confusing to kids who are blessed to have no "needs".

Present ideas: craft supplies, membership to zoo or museum, tuition money for additional classes. I'm very picky about the items that come into my house, but I'm ok in general with additional crayons and crappy coloring books. My in-laws NEVER listen to us regarding gift ideas, so it's a big sore spot. They have been on the receiving end of a lot of open criticism for their thoughtless disrespect for the way we choose to raise our family. And yet, each year for Christmas, Easter, birthday, etc, they bombard us with crap because it's their "right" as grandparents to buy whatever they "want". I have sent presents HOME with them!! Most of the time, they get downright offended because we veto their thoughts and they end up not giving my dd a present at all. That type of manipulation doesn't work for me. (example: last birthday, they paid for the moonwalk and THEN wanted to buy her a camera - we said the moonwalk was good enough, thank you VERY much!!! and the camera became the central focus of the holidays - it was a camera that we felt was too "young" for her, but they took it the wrong way, of course, so no present! no big deal, in my opinion. They did buy a better camera for Christmas and gave DD2 the "younger" camera - it was almost too young for her.)

--janis

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#20 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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Janis, what did you put in the pinatas that wasn't candy and wasn't crap? Just looking for ideas here!
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#21 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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That's a tough one. My parents always send cash, so we usually buy annual memberships to the aquarium and science world. DP's parents never ask what we need or want and always end up buying the most useless crap. Ever single year dd gets one of those enormous doll sets from toysrus that includes the backpack or a stroller or a high chair and 35 other pieces. I mean seriously, how many dolls does a 3yo need? They buy noisy, useless, battery operated junk that I always hate and usually try to get rid of. We've tried to gently hint at what we need and have had some luck. On her last bday dd got a nice wooden easel and art supplies. I think we'll be able to find a way to tactfully change their buying habits over time.

Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
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#22 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, but we told family that we're trying to teach our children to live in this world, not be of this world. We also only give our children 3 gifts, Jesus only received 3, and we are no better than Jesus. Since we only give our children 3, we kindly asked friends/family to only give one, and to please not to try and "outdo" parents (or Santa, if you do the Santa thing) We found last year that we need to put even more restriction on this. My mom didn't like the one gift rule, so she just wraped a VERY large box with 20 things inside of it. We also put a monetary limit on it last year but that was more for my MILs benefit. She's a shop aholic on a fixed income, she would easily spend a thousand dollars on my family of 4 so when #5 came along, we told her $30 per person. We told everyone if there was more than one gift, the children would be instructed to pick one (before they were unwrapped) and any remaining would be donated to Toys For Tots, or other charities. That put an end to MILs urge to buy more. Heaven forbid we give her gifts away, LOL
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#23 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenelopeJune View Post
Janis, what did you put in the pinatas that wasn't candy and wasn't crap? Just looking for ideas here!
I'm not Janis, but we put packages of fruit leather (the real stuff, not Fruit Rollups) in our pinata.

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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#24 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 04:52 PM
 
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My SIL told us no gifts for her daughter, so we bought savings bonds instead. Not that it's the greatest monetary investment, but they can only be redeemed by the child at maturity time. The savings bonds removed my worry that the parents would just spend the money (like mine did when I got money gifts at a young age). Plus, the kid can use it for college, fun trip, car, whatever when they're older.
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#25 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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I have found that being absolutely specific is the only way to go. If, for instance, we are swimming in clothes for one child, I will tell relatives who buy clothes for the kids "Do not send fall/winter clothes for A- she has more than she can wear and if we get any more, I will have to donate them to charity because we are out of drawer space. If you would like to send a gift, any one of the following books, toys, craft items, etc. would be very useful and appreciated" then I make a very detailed list of what the kids would like/need. Being general has always landed us with lots of unusable, unwanted junk to deal with.

Some people feel that they have to give a tangible gift; a donation to charity or a savings bond, etc. just doesn't hold the same meaning for them than going to a store and purchasing something that they can wrap in pretty paper and hand over to someone. I try to respect that in people who aren't likely to change- elderly relatives, for example- and provide them with ideas that won't waste their money or clutter up my house.

And I try to start shopping early- like now- for Christmas. That way, I can concentrate on each person I buy a gift for and really find something that he/she will love and enjoy. Buying at the last minute leads to just grabbing something to wrap and stick under the tree. I hate giving gifts like that even more than I hate receiving them.

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#26 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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The problem is you are calling this a birthday party. Just invite people over. A one year old won't know.

My DD's birth day is just after Christmas and everyone is very concerned about making sure it is a seperate special day for her. This is exhausting! She'll be 3 at her next birthday. I think I'm willing to roll it into Christmas at least for a few more years.

We thought about having a tea party with some friends this week so she can have a nice day without it being about stuff. I decided she's still too young (and I'm too stressed this week.)
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#27 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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My dad and step mom have 9 grandkids and I was the first to have babies. So, we got tons of gifts. Now that they have more, they are noticing that the kids toys have piled up and up and are starting to realize that they need to stop buying so much. They've now opened accounts for each kids and deposit money in for christmas and birthdays. I'm so glad.

My grandma got the girls magazine subscriptions last year. I'd be happy if we stopped exchanging gifts all together. I'd rather get together and enjoy each others company.

Wendy - mom to dd1(11), dd2(7), dd3(3)
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#28 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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Quote:
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My SIL told us no gifts for her daughter, so we bought savings bonds instead. Not that it's the greatest monetary investment, but they can only be redeemed by the child at maturity time. The savings bonds removed my worry that the parents would just spend the money (like mine did when I got money gifts at a young age). Plus, the kid can use it for college, fun trip, car, whatever when they're older.
OT - but one can redeem savings bonds at any time - just not for the full amount - we do it everytime we get a savings bond for one of our children and invest it in something with a better return.
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#29 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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Its a touchy subject with my family. I hate to see them waste their money on stuff that wont be played with. My kids don't like stuffed animals. Anything with multiple parts (monkeys in a barrel, little people, etc) get lost within a week and then are no good when there is whining about where the parts are. I really do have better things to do than keep track of 15,324 little plastic pieces that go with each toy. I hate to see them waste their money on that stuff when my kids don't really get much fun out of those gifts. I don't want to come out and ask for specific stuff. Its not like I want to sound like I am trolling for gifts. If anyone is comfortable asking for specific things my almost 3 year old loves loves loves all art supplies, which has been mentioned numerous times. She also loves stuff that has a purpose, like a shovel for the yard, watering can to water her flowers she planted, etc. MIL likes to buy her clothes which is nice for me, but she always buys too small. She will ask 6 months before b-day/Christmas what size she is. Then buys that size 6 months later. I feel bad saying anything, but the stuff doesn't really get worn much since she is just out growing that size.
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#30 of 35 Old 08-19-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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So many good ideas here!
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