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Has anyone figured out a way to cut down on the gifts given to your child by well-meaning relatives at holidays? We've tried the "we live in a tiny place and really can't fit things", "we want our child to be less materialistic and to associate holidays with family and friends instead of gifts", "we can't fit the stuff in our tiny car for our trip home", etc. Nothing seems to work - we leave every holiday with our trunk full of things we don't need or don't want (like today, my DD was given a big plastic thing that reads the books that come with it - it actually reads to your child so you don't have to - are you kidding me?).

Of course I'm grateful that we're lucky enough to have such generous loving relatives and I'm embarassed to admit that this is even a "problem" since I'm sure some families would love to be given things. And yes, we just take a big bag of toys and clothes to our charity of choice after each holiday, which has turned into a nice ritual. But I hate that my relatives spend this money, I hate the ceremony of standing around watching the kids tear through gift after gift (not to mention all the paper waste that comes with gift wrapping), I hate having to bring all the stuff home and deal with storing it until I can donate it. I hate that my DD is learning to want "stuff." And maybe it's easy just to box it up and donate it at this age, but what about when she's older - I'm sure it will be much more difficult to just give away her presents when she's actually able to remember what she received.

Anyway, I'm sorry for the rant and I apologize for sounding spoiled. I just have to believe that someone has figured out how to stop these traditions (short of just not going to any holidays, which I'm on the verge of)
Maybe we just keep saying thank you and donating...? Any other tips?

Also, if you haven't been able to cut back on gifts (or you have, but not much), how do you teach your children about appreciating people over the presents people bring them? I'm so sick of watching my DD's cousins tear through their gifts not even really realizing what's what or who gave what and I really don't want my child to act that way. What do you do to make sure your children are grateful for what they have and grateful for the people in their lives?
 

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No..I can't cut back on the gift giving. I have tried for years, I have given up. However, I do clear out half the childrens things in December every single year in prep for the fallout. I also give less myself.
 

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At Christmas, we go to my parents house. I drive a minvan. We open all the presents and then load them in the minivan. The minvan is packed at this point, no room for people except the driver. DH drives it home, unloads and comes back for the people. Then we go on to the inlaws. Oh, and the minivan is completely cleaned out before the first house.
 

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We have cut back substancially in the past few years, I just told people we were buying this year and they shouldn't either. Of course they did, but I didn't let it bother me, I just said 'oh you shouldn't have, remember we are not doing gifts this year'

I am not going to worry about it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by meetoo View Post
have like 4 more kids.



(does it actually cut down when you have more kids though? really?. . . I've been hoping that first kids (esp. girls) get it the worst & that's why some of the family seems out of control)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by meetoo View Post
have like 4 more kids.

This was my first thought as well. We still get an insane amount of crap, but it's more evenly distributed. Anything that's really poor quality goes straight into the trash. Anything that is age inappropriate goes in to the closet for later years. Anything that is just silly/unnecessary/etc, gets donated. Loud toys stay at grandma's.
 

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You might not be able to stop the gift giving, but perhaps you can redirect it. We have a new home this year and are looking forward to gardening, and I've told people how excited my kids are about helping out. Today, instead of getting a huge basket of candy and toys from my parents, they got these lovely little greenhouse sets to start some seeds of their own growing. Yes, it's still stuff, but my parents were able to get that glow of giving a present to their beloved grandkids that didn't make me crazy. It was something I welcomed into my life, rather than some combination of candy/stuffed animals/toys.

Can you think of stuff you like and actually do want and try to push your family in that direction? We're huge on art supplies here, since my kids love art projects and I'm comforted knowing all of the paper/crayons/glitter/foam sheets/etc. won't stick around forever.
 

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Do they ever ask you for suggestions for what to get your los? For DS's birthday we ask for donations to be made to March of Dimes in lieu of gifts (we also do the March for Babies as a birthday party since he was a preemie- but you could pick another charity, especially if your lo is old enough to understand and help pick one out). For christmas we've asked for things like money for college or money we can put towards classes- like art or yoga or music classes or something. We've also asked for bigger items- so aunts and uncles will chip in and get one bigger gift rather than tons of smaller items. We still get gifts but not as much. Another idea is to clear out and donate toys your los don't use as much before every gift-giving holiday or birthdays, so even if you're still bringing in a lot of toys, the clutter within your house won't be so bad.. good luck!
 

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This is frustrating for me, too. Now, not only do they give us gifts (often really large ones), they also are offended if I EVER get rid of them. Like dd got a tiny little piano when she was a baby or toddler. Well before I knew I was going to have a new baby, she already had a real piano and had started taking piano lessons, and the thing had gone through the ringer, so we got rid of it. I got chewed out by my parents for being ungrateful and not keeping it. I told them to just stop buying her anything at all then. But maybe you have a better relationship with your family and don't want to get into a fight. In which case I'm afraid I'm of no help, but I do understand where you're coming from.
 

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We really struggle with this, too. The only semi-productive things we've come up with are
1) to talk about the kinds of things we like in general, without explicitly relating the discussion to their gift-giving (we talk a lot about how much dd loves books, that we like open-ended creative toys, that we don't like commercial/character stuff, etc.); we've had relative success at least channeling the buy-buy-buy impulse toward things that we are more likely to use
2) for some holidays, we will specifically ask for a single, big-ticket item; we don't do this all the time, because we don't want the grandparents to feel like they can never choose a gift for her--but for her birthday this year, for instance, we asked one set of grandparents if they would be willing to buy her "big girl bed" and the other to buy her new bedding; we were very emphatic that they shouldn't feel obligated if they didn't want to, but both agreed. I'm sure they'll get her a couple of littler things, too, but I'm also sure it will be minimal compared to what it might have been

But, yeah...we donate a LOT of stuff to charity as well.
 

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I wish there was a way. The holidays I can understand--sort of. What really gets to me is my MIL will come over (she lives down the street) and bring a gift. Every.Single.Time. It is only something from the Target dollar section or the 99c store so it isn't a lot of money, but she is on a very tight income and the stuff is destroyed by the end of her visit. I've tried talking to her and so has dh, but it just keeps going on.

For all the stuff, though, we found a lady in our community who collects baby stuff and gives it out to people who really need it. They get most of the stuff from holidays but I do toss anything that is junk.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sprouthead View Post
Do they ever ask you for suggestions for what to get your los? For DS's birthday we ask for donations to be made to March of Dimes in lieu of gifts (we also do the March for Babies as a birthday party since he was a preemie- but you could pick another charity, especially if your lo is old enough to understand and help pick one out). For christmas we've asked for things like money for college or money we can put towards classes- like art or yoga or music classes or something. We've also asked for bigger items- so aunts and uncles will chip in and get one bigger gift rather than tons of smaller items. We still get gifts but not as much. Another idea is to clear out and donate toys your los don't use as much before every gift-giving holiday or birthdays, so even if you're still bringing in a lot of toys, the clutter within your house won't be so bad.. good luck!
How do you do this tactfully? I feel like I will sound demanding...
 

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This was a problem in our house as well. I did finally solve it but I must warn you - it takes a VERY firm resolve and willingness to have people mad at you!

For the relatives I could reason with I simply explained that I did not want the children growing up to expect mountains of toys for every holiday and that I didn't want them to associate dear grandma or dear auntie with "stuff".

"Wouldn't you rather have them be excited to see YOU instead of what you brought?" I would say. And some agreed.

For the ones that didn't agree (my INLAWS!) I just said "each kid gets two presents, no more. If you send more, I'll send them back."

It took one year of sending stuff back for them to take me seriously, but it worked.
 

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I was going to suggest some variation on sending them back. This isn't a problem for us, luckily - my kids get a fair bit of stuff, all together (at Christmas, not the rest of the year), but it's not a huge amount from any one giver (never more than 2 gifts - from the grandparents, and always one outfit and one "other") or to any one kid.

If it got out of hand, and all the more diplomatic approaches (those you listed - "house is too small", "don't want to focus on gifts", etc.) didn't work, I'd get very direct. I'd tell them one of the following:

1) We will keep one (or two) gift from you. The rest will be donated the day after Christmas. Don't waste your money.

2) We will keep one (or two) gift from you and return the rest.

3) We will let dd open one (or two) gift from you. After that, we're leaving. Do you want to push more presents on us, or see us over the holidays?

It's harsh. It's definitely harsh. But, I get very frustrated when people won't listen to me.
 

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I have several thoughts on this.

1. My mom's love language is gifts. It's how she shows love and how she feels most love. For that reason I put up with a lot more than I would like in order for her to show love to her grandchildren.

2. I have asked her to confine it to holidays and to occassionally let me buy them clothes and shoes because I am their mom and I want to help provide for them. It helped.

3. I strike pre-emptively. For instance, I knew she would come to Easter dinner today loaded for bear. I emailed her a couple of days ago to tell her some stuff they could use and would like and asked her not to bring tons of candy. I was surprised that she only brought four Hershey's kisses each. WAAYYY less than last year. She also got all the stuff I suggested that my kids might actually like or use.

4. When nobody is looking I make trips to the thrift store with stuff we no longer use or want. I also put some new items that weren't wanted in my "re-gifting" box to use at birthday parties or baby showers. Then I don't have to buy a gift but if I am clever, it often ends up being something that really blesses a friend.

5. Like PP said, really big or noisy toys stay at Grandma's.
 

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My family is actually pretty understanding about giving ONE thoughtful, meaningful gift. For instance, we went to the zoo and my SIL made a scrap book of our visit for the next holiday. My mother has given us seed packets and pots for planting herbs. My aunt, who loves plastic things, holds back and gives just one gift. WHY? Because they know my husband is the problem and I complain so freely about all the stuff he buys. If anyone has a solutions for husbands who show love by gift giving, please feel free to PM me.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
No..I can't cut back on the gift giving. I have tried for years, I have given up. However, I do clear out half the childrens things in December every single year in prep for the fallout. I also give less myself.
We also give less as a result. I don't see the need for my kids to receive a lot from me, just so I can get credit for it. My mom and IL's love to purchase things for the kids so I let them know what they want/need. It respects the fact that it is important to them.

To me the tension is between what I feel is important, and what they feel is important, and I don't think it's right for me to just expect my wishes to be respected without their wishes being respected as well. For us, this is a happy medium. (And cheaper for me
)
 
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