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Old 12-16-2011, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom and brother consult my hubby and I before buying items for the kids. They know that we have preferences with what the kids play with and respect them. They also know that we have a lot of junk and get us things they know we would all like.

 

My in-laws and others completely ignored an email that I sent around both for birthdays and Christmas with ideas (even though I was asked in years past). My in laws send things wrapped.

 

Does anyone screen items before their kids open them? This is new territory for us as in years past the kids have been easily distracted and toys that do not fit into our home have just been quietly hidden and left unused (so as not to waste).

 

Thoughts?

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Old 12-16-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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YES!

 

on the second b-day we ended up with so many double of the exact same thing and had it been opened we would not have been able to return them (who needs 3 of the exact same train?! and he hated the one we kept)

 

also if we can we always check, often once the wrapper is torn some place will not return or give exact credit


 

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Old 12-16-2011, 08:52 PM
 
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Well, my family usually has them shipped directly from the store they buy them from because it's easier for them to do that. So, they ask me to wrap them. So, I open them and wrap them.

 

Occasionally, I'll return something that's the wrong size or the wrong item. So for example, my parents wanted to buy my dd the complete boxed set of the Little House books. But it looks like my dad ordered a set of the first 5 volumes instead. He's never been a great one for details, and he's 87. So, I simply returned the 5 volume set to Amazon, and bought the complete 9 volume set. It was a mistake on his part. And the fact that my 87 year old father is willing to go online to order presents to make MY life easier (so we don't have to pay to have them shipped 1500 miles after our trip back to see them), means a lot to me. I wouldn't return it for something completely different.

 

I don't censor them though. I know there are parents on MDC who feel really strongly about the kinds of toys their children have. I guess I just don't care that much. My family asks for lists, and usually the gifts are on target or in the right neighborhood. Dh's family doesn't. Yes, we've gotten plastic commercial junk. It hasn't warped my kids, and they usually don't play with it that long. For me, it's not worth the toll it'd take on our relationship to tell them we don't want that kind of stuff. Our families are all well meaning and thoughtful. When they pick out plastic junk, it's usually because it has some special significance for them (my SIL really loves Disney movies, for example). No, the junk doesn't last long, and it means we make more trips to Goodwill than I'd like. But my kids won't remember the junk whether or not I censor it. What they'll remember is that Aunt M is really fun to go on vacation with. That means more to me, and so I'm willing to accept a few things I don't care for to preserve their relationship.

 

 


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Old 12-17-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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Yes, I do screen gifts. I try to loosen my 'standards' as much as possible when screening though (otherwise there would be no gifts left!) and I'll let him open some things and have them for a few weeks and then just let them disappear... And some of the toys become bath toys or outdoor toys, whether or not that is the toy's original purpose. Last year out of about a dozen gifts I think there were about 4 that I would not let him open at all.

(I know some people will think it's terrible that I censored his gifts but DH & I feel like it was in his best interest for multiple reasons.)

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Old 12-17-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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No. We've never screened dd's gifts. Some things were not what we would have bought but they are nothing I lost sleep over. Dd usually lost interest in those items quickly and they could be packed away or donated.


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Old 12-17-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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Please explain your thinking here.  Left unused ( so as not to waste)?  Wouldn't that be wasteful?  My ILs wrap everything because they know I don't have time to wrap their gifts too and/or find a place to hide them until I have the time to do it.  I know they are not going to send things that my kids won't want but on the off chance that they do, my kids will usually give it away on their own.

 

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Originally Posted by Catwmandu View Post

My mom and brother consult my hubby and I before buying items for the kids. They know that we have preferences with what the kids play with and respect them. They also know that we have a lot of junk and get us things they know we would all like.

 

My in-laws and others completely ignored an email that I sent around both for birthdays and Christmas with ideas (even though I was asked in years past). My in laws send things wrapped.

 

Does anyone screen items before their kids open them? This is new territory for us as in years past the kids have been easily distracted and toys that do not fit into our home have just been quietly hidden and left unused (so as not to waste).

 

Thoughts?



 

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Old 12-17-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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No, I don't censor gifts.  It has never even crossed my mind.  In fact I would rather the gifts come wrapped so I don't have to do it myself lol.

 


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Old 12-17-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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Exactly one less thing to do!

 

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No, I don't censor gifts.  It has never even crossed my mind.  In fact I would rather the gifts come wrapped so I don't have to do it myself lol.

 



 

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Old 12-18-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magali View Post

No, I don't censor gifts.  It has never even crossed my mind.  In fact I would rather the gifts come wrapped so I don't have to do it myself lol.

This. But I don't want to control what my kids play with. I never have. They play with what they like and what they don't like gets donated. i just don't make a big deal out of it.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:06 AM
 
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Those who send gifts usually send them unwrapped, so I could sensor if I wanted to, but it has not been an issue. Though if a gun showed up, it would not be given to my kids. That's our only rule. 


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Old 12-18-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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I do ask people what they got the kids, but like a previous poster, that is simply to reduce duplicates.

 

I send a wish list for the kids and this year the list wasn't horribly long. So my daughters list had 3 or 4 things she really wanted. I called around to check that there were not duplicates and then also to make sure that she did get at least the items she'd asked for since she really hadn't asked for much. So for example if grandma hadn't bought the requested felt dolls I would have.


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Old 12-18-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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I have and do for a specific reason: SPACE! My parents like to get giant gifts or riding toys. Now that we aren't living in a 2nd story apartment, we can actually use some of those gifts, but space is still a precious commodity.

 

However, I don't screen gifts once they've been bought. I simply trained my mother to run things by me first. That way, all the big stuff is stuff that we can deal with, and the rest is little crap that will just get thrown away/given away (depending on its survivability) in a month or so anyways.


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Old 12-18-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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This. But I don't want to control what my kids play with. I never have.

 

 

there can be a big difference and for good reason, as I posted we do check- yet another reason again---we don't need to have two expensive lego set that are exactly the same (two different are far better) and with the packaging ripped that's a non-return item at most of our stores-----it's not about allowing/control but real use

 

we do donate but when my child really wants an item and they get two of the exact same that's too much for us


 

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Old 12-18-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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Duplicates.... I would try to return those as well. My son's first Christmas he got THREE rocking horses.I had no problem donating two of them. 


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Old 12-18-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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My mom and in-laws have the same sensitivities that we do.  I think all of us would say that toys need to not be overly gendered or promote hurtful stereotypes.  Other than that, I can't think of anything that I wouldn't allow my kids to play with.  If there were g'parents sending us disney princess stuff or tanks and guns, I would tell them not to and if they persisted, I'd have to be screening. 


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Old 12-18-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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No, I don't screen gifts.  I would never think to do that.  If we received something so completely over-the-top unacceptable (maybe a bb gun or something?) I just wouldn't let my kid(s) keep it and I would explain why.  But we've never received anything I felt that strongly about.  Yes, we've gotten lots of stuff *I'd* never get, but I'm ok with letting a lot of stuff go.  And, actually, most people in our lives tend to have similar ideals to us.


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Old 12-19-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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So far I haven't.  We'll see what Christmas brings this year.  I do email the grandparents a few weeks before gift-giving occasions though and let them know his current clothing/shoe size, what we may need in that or the next size (like my dad will be buying a winter jacket, since I just moved DS up a size and don't have one in that size), if there's something specific he's shown interest in, etc.  For Christmas though, i wound up giving very little info because we're starting intensive ABA therapy in January and they provide their own toys (I asked the therapist if there were anything we might need to get, she looked around and said we probably had plenty), and we have clothes taken care of in the next several sizes, so I just listed his current interests and am leaving it up to them. 

 

So far the only "problem" we have is the plethora of stuffies, which DS doesn't really care for.  But I couldn't get any of them to get him a doll (a friend got him one, which he loves). 

 

I have a feeling things will be a bit different with kiddo #2 though - now that they've learned that I'm not an ogre waiting to restrict their gift giving pleasure, I may have to become one if they start going overboard.  So far they've each restricted themselves to 2-3 toys and clothes/shoes for each occasion. 


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Old 12-20-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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My children were never lucky enough to get presents from anyone. My mother bought one of my sons a teddy bear and that bear has been one of his most important possessions. The bear's fur is matted and one of our dogs chewed it but it is still special to him. My son is 29 and has moved many times with that bear. My mother sends my sons $10, they are her only grandchildren. Their father and his family never got them anything. I think we would have been grateful to get anything.  

 

 


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Old 12-20-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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My family tells me what they've bought before they wrap it, both to ensure that it's appropriate and to ensure that there isn't a double floating around somewhere.  I've made it very clear to my parents, grandparents, and aunt that things like Bratz are completely inappropriate and will go right back to the store, but lucky for me, they think they're inappropriate, too.  They're great about buying only age appropriate toys and things that I would buy for my daughter myself.

 

Now her dad, on the other hand, I have no idea what he gets her...  We're going to have to have a talk regarding the Bratz type dolls and whatnot (though his family is VERY religious and against early sexual exposure, so I don't think I have to worry about it - they're into American Girl type stuff, not the midriff-baring dolls).

 

(I might mention our daughter is almost 3.5, certainly not old enough for some of the toys that people might think to buy her.  She doesn't need to be exposed to anything promoting early sexuality.  That's my big thing...)

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Old 12-20-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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My mom sends boxes of random stuff.  Filtering is a necessity and she knows about it.  Some things go straight to the trash (a 10 year old happy meal toy?)l some go straight into the arts and crafts box ( a stack of post-it hearts - not really "gifts" but will be used), some things get hidden for the long term and come out weeks or months later to brighten a rainy day or when we need a gift for a classmate's birthday party.  I'm tempted to filter wrapped gifts to avoid things with batteries, anything super gendered or bulky and things with too many small pieces, but I haven't.  :) 

 

My SIL recently gave me a new perspective on gifts from long distance relatives.  I told her not to worry about sending anything, that the kids have plenty of toys and we have a tiny apartment.  She said "But they don't have anything from ME."  Now I get it. It never occurred to me, but I guess it's also sweet to consider having a thing that reminds them of her every time they see it.

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Old 12-20-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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Part of the fun of Christmas is getting gifts from others.  This gives my kids a chance to receive something that I would never have chosen for them.  It would still be fun.  I can't imagine screening gifts.  If they opened something that bothered me I would explain honestly with the child why they couldn't have it.  I try to choose honesty over deception.  As for duplicates.  Unless it is a game my kids love duplicate items.  For example now they have twin dolls etc.  If someone is thoughtful enough to spend their time choosing a gift then I will accept it.

 I am blessed that all of our family is thoughtful and not too overboard with things.  I will never buy the trendy toy of the year, so isn't it wonderful my girls have an aunt who loves to hunt down the "it" item of the season.  Most of the time I don't even know what it is until the kids receive it.   

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Old 12-20-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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My family overseas always asks me what DS likes, and would like to get, they go by that.

I don't censor toys either. My DS is his own person, and he gets to play with what he likes, not what I want him to like or not like.

 


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Old 12-20-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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My mom always asks for a list.  There were very few items on the lists this year.  They just didn't ask for much.  She did get them each one item from their list, and then sent them each a wrapped hand-knit item.  I tried to look at those, lol, but she wrapped them too well, darnit.  No one else buys them anything, but if they did I would let them open it.  I have not come across but one gift that was in appropriate all these years, but maybe I'm just more relaxed about it than some?  My lo even received a Bratz doll once, and even though I cringed like crazy, we "fixed" her w/some better, more modest clothing.

 

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Old 12-20-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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lol did anyone else notice that almost everyone who says they don't censor seems to have reasonable gift-givers who accept ideas/guidelines & don't give way too many presents?

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Old 12-20-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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I have been thinking about this so much.  DS is 2.  My family is across the country and on a totally different page than me.  No matter what I offer up as gift ideas, my mom sends huge plastic toys that we have no room for, (not to mention that we are concerned about our footprint etc etc) and my sister sends branded clothes that I do not feel comfortable giving to my son and every toy is talking.  In the past it has been easy to donate the unwanted and unused items, as he was a baby. And that is kind of censoring- since he never saw the stuff.... But now, he knows his Grandma and Auntie, skypes with them often - and I do not know how to handle it.  It feels like a delicate dance- I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I also do not want to fill my tiny apartment with stuff we do not want or need....I have found this thread to be very thought provoking, as honestly, I was pretty much planning on not opening the packaging on stuff we don't want and donating it....but maybe I should loosen up a little?  Conflicted.....

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Old 12-20-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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I have in-laws that live a vastly different lifestyle than us. They don't have a problem with ultra violent play and they are shopaholics.  Some stuff they automatically knew we would disagree with due to our lifestyle and have avoided, thankfully.  The excess, however, was a huge issue.  They began bringing things that I not only felt were questionable but in huge quantities. We also have the issue that my son is easily overstimulated, so we don't generally allow any electronic toys or too many toys in one day.  We have had conversations with all of our family and now require a limit on gifts AND to know what it is before it comes in.  So, there are no surprises for us.  It may sound extreme, but I feel like I have a responsibility to make sure the toys my son play with are good for his personality and development.  I think this is a very different thing than limiting his interests.  We honor the things he shows interests in, whether or not they are our interests.  Often times, there are many different ways to entertain something he is really into without sacrificing our ideals, causing an overstimulation blow out, or giving him mixed messages.... there are a million ways to play with cars without my son needing a battery powered tank loaded with weapons.  So, if I had reason to doubt an already wrapped gift, I would absolutely screen it.  Without guilt. 

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Old 12-20-2011, 11:19 AM
 
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This is a good question.  I'm not sure what I'll do either.  Space is an issue, and of course, trying to live by certain ideals is important for me. At the same time, telling everyone in the family my list of ideals will make me come across as very hard-nose and persnickety, since most of them are not even close to being on the same page as me. :(   I want to avoid the endocrine-disrupting plastics, the brain-numbing electronic noises, things made in China or other countries where labor practices are questionable, violent or overly genderizing toys, pop culture characters, and it has to be small enough to fit into our little play room!  I made an Amazon wish list, and told people about it.  Hopefully that will do the trick, for this year. My kids are still very young.  I figure, if we get a few things that don't fit with our lifestyle, we can play with them for a few months and resell or donate them later.  So, I am not censoring this year.  If it ends up becoming an issue, I may start doing so in future years. We'll see!

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Old 12-20-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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My parents did censor gifts, and even though I now share many of their standards of what good play things are, I harbor resentment knowing that they did it.  I think it's a better Idea to truly have a heart to heart with someone who is giving gifts you don't approve of.  If they still send gifts that don't match your values, then talk with your partner about it, blow off steam, and let it go.  Your children will end up incredible one way or the other.  Just my opinion, but with real experience in the area.

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Old 12-20-2011, 11:47 AM
 
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planning on not opening the packaging on stuff we don't want and donating it....but maybe I should loosen up a little?  Conflicted.....

 

FYI

as they get older and SEE the item it is harder to get rid of it


 

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Old 12-20-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

lol did anyone else notice that almost everyone who says they don't censor seems to have reasonable gift-givers who accept ideas/guidelines & don't give way too many presents?


Oh I know whenever this topic comes up I always rolls my eyes because it basically boils down to if the gift-givers care you won't have to tell them and if you do then you'll just offend them and not actually help anything.....

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