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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you do/say when people give you junk as gifts, or stuff you just plain don't want? MIL got us a giant plastic toy chest at a garage sale for Christmas, and I hate hate hate it. DD's birthday is coming up and I really don't want ppl to give us junky stuff or ugly clothes.<br><br>
On the invites, should I write "Please no plastic/electronic toys?" Our families aren't exactly "crunchy" and they already think we are snobby about stuff. Or should I just write, "No gifts, please?" I might feel bad for DD if she doesn't get anything, but she's turning 1, so I don't think she'll even know. Do ppl register for birthday gifts? That seems presumptuous and pushy...What's the etiquette for this? I had a friend who's wedding invites said, "No boxed gifts, please," which I thought was a great way of asking for cash.
 

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The proper etiquette is to accept gifts graciously and issue a thank you in a timely manner. Anything else will seem snobby and pushy. I hate to say it, but I think your friend's wedding invitation was in very poor taste. It is never okay to issue gifting instructions.<br>
Anything you do not want can be donated at a later date.
 

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I would say, etiquette-wise, you say thank you for all gifts received. Also, no mention of specifics/gift-registry on an invitation. It does seem to be acceptable, for many people, to somehow politely word "no gifts, necessary", but people like buying things for kids - especially for a first birthday, so I think you'll still end up with gifts. She will likely get a lot of clothes. That's what I would be shopping for, along with a new toy and/books.
 

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Unless your family is asking you what to get and is willing to be guided, you're probably going to end up with stuff that is wildly inappropriate for you and your daughter. "Thank you!" and "Oh, wow, that's great....I'm sure she'll love to play with that when we come visit you!" are good things to say <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
When she's this young, terrible gifts can quietly disappear/get broken/be donated/etc. When she gets older, you can find an inoffensive semi-collectible catagory of toys and talk about how much she loves them. "DD just loves those wooden trains with the tracks that snap together!" "She was playing with her animal figurines for *hours*", etc, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses. I feel bad having ppl waste their money. I guess you're right that the best thing to do is just graciously accept.<br><br>
But, really, "No gifts please" is rude?
 

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Here's a strategy that has worked for us, but requires a bit of lead time-<br><br>
We make sure to point out or mention the kind of things that we would love our DDs to have. "Oh MIL look at that awesome balance bike! Don't you think DD1 would love it? I think they sell it at Target!" Not in a 'you must buy it' sort of way, but in a genuine, 'wow I really like that' sort of way.<br><br>
We also engage our families in conversations (they often bring them up) about things made in China or items that have been recalled. These stories are so much in the news now that they're easy things to talk about. That gives an opening to mention a great WAH toymaker or local shop that we've noticed that sells 'safe' items.<br><br>
We still get some junky stuff (that the girls LOVE) but the amount has gone way down.
 

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there will ALWAYS be two camps on this issue... the camp that says "be gracious and accept what people are kind enough to give you," and the camp that says, "no reason other people's bad taste and excessive consumerism should take up space in my house."<br><br>
i'm pretty firmly in the second camp. i think graciousness and politeness have their place, but their place is not filling up my tiny apartment with useless junk. i am very picky about what kinds of things i buy, and i hate that people feel compelled to just buy buy buy without any thought or consideration as to whether the items are needed, wanted or useful for other people.<br><br>
HOWEVER, if you are going to be picky, you can generally not tell people what to buy for you, you can only tell people not to buy you anything. there are situations where directed gift giving have become socially acceptable, and you can very gently direct gift purchases for your child (i.e. book party, asking for secondhand, thrifted, or repurposed gifts, or letting guests know about specific interests of your child, like art supplies etc). and whether or not you ask for no gifts or a certain kind of gift, you will still have to assume that some people are going to buy you things you didn't want/need.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">there will ALWAYS be two camps on this issue... the camp that says "be gracious and accept what people are kind enough to give you," and the camp that says, "no reason other people's bad taste and excessive consumerism should take up space in my house."<br></div>
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I agree with both of these. I thank people graciously for gifts, and then I return them to stores or donate them.
 

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We put "No gifts necessary" on DS' bday invitations and pretty much everyone bought something anyway. He actually got some really great presents--books and clothes and wooden puzzles and beach toys, so apparently, people *do* listen! I have tried to mention to my mom that DS likes _____, and she's usually receptive to that. But when we've gotten toys that we haven't liked in the past, we accept them, say thank you, let DS play with them until the batteries run out the first time (because invariably, they've been battery-operated), and then donate or consign them.
 

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When the kids were little, MIL LOVED having loads of stuff to give them. She'd go to the dollar store and buy them crap and crap and crap -- probably spent a hundred dollars on crap.<br><br>
We had a small trailer; I finally took a breath and as politely and lovingly as I could told her that the kids loved celebrating holidays/birthdays with her, but that we lived in a small space and were finding that we were donating a lot of the gifts she had gotten them to the goodwill just to make room for their clothes and so forth (which was a slight exaggeration, but ok ...). I told her I hated to see her waste her money on gifts that were breaking, or not getting played with, or that were getting passed on because we didn't have space for them.<br><br>
Her feelings were really hurt at first and she was defensive, but I tried to emphasize that the best gift she could give them was her time -- so maybe tickets to a play she would take them to, and then something connected to it as a gift they could unwrap. Or, that there were things they kids loved (like wooden trains, etc) but we couldn't afford, and maybe she would consider getting them something like this that they would love for years to come?<br><br>
Now, I'm even more worried for baby-in-waiting with all I know about junk toys/dollar store toys and cadmium, lead, etc ...<br><br>
Also, when the boys were younger, I phrased invites something like "The greatest gift you can bring is yourself, but if you'd like to bring something else, please do not bring any violent toys" or something like that.
 

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I agree...just say "thank you" and deal with the stuff on your own time. So many people just don't understand, and the point to me is that in that box with tissue paper they are trying to show you and your baby their love. So, if you can't honestly thank them for their gift, then thank them because of their love for you/your dd.<br><br>
You can try to direct things a little bit by throwing a certain type of party. Like, you could have a dress up party and ask guests to bring something from their closet to fill her dress up box.
 

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I don't think "no gifts, please" is rude. I've seen it put in a tactful way, too. I think I've seen, "you're presence is present enough" or something similar.<br>
As far as the junky gifts, I just say thanks and either regift it (if appropriate) or donate it.
 

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I feel the same way. And it sucks because I totally feel like the ILs are going to notice we don't have any of their "crap" toys out. But really, if I decide my child is going to have something plastic, I'd rather be the one to give it to him. We do have the storage for the extra toys and I try to keep all the stuff I don't want him playing with or we don't need down in the basement.<br><br>
For both of DS's birthdays, when people asked what he wanted/needed, I just told them he doesn't need anything and we have a savings account opened in his name. So far, only my sister has listened to this advice and he's gotten quite a bit of cash from her which is awesome.<br><br>
I wouldn't feel comfortable putting 'no gifts' on an invite, but it's not tacky. It would be tacky to specifiy certain gifts only. You can also make an amazon wishlist and if people ask what he wants, you can direct them to that. Then they can at least see the types of stuff you would like. DS' was filled with all sorts of wooden toys and cloth diapers.
 

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This problem is huge for us -- my mother has gone super pop-culture in her empty-nest struggle, and lots of my ILs live by the "you need Baby Einstein and excersaucers to SURVIVE!" philosophy, so we get a lot of stuff in our tiny little apartment, and we can't afford to buy the nice wooden toys that will actually last to the next child.<br><br>
With my mom, when she was visiting (since she LOVES to shop) I picked out the nice wooden baby toys at the shop and talked about why DS likes them & how much they help him developmentally, etc, etc, and just shared the knowledge about them in an open way. I think part of the "snobby" label we get is b/c we get defensive against the commercial culture and don't just treat our family like equally understanding adults.... That said, they often still buy the noisy plastic junk.<br><br>
So then I had a <i>brilliant</i> idea! (haha) We planned to pick a time that was well enough after a holiday/gift-giving time that nobody would feel insulted or told off about a recently-given gift, but early enough to intervene in the next gift-shopping trip, and I made an Amazon "Wish List" full of age-appropriate and super-crunchy toys (threw in a couple of organic onesies and make-your-own-baby-food gear, too, just to give people the idea <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> that we'd love to buy for DS if we could afford it. Since we live far away from all our family (and since my mom <i>loves</i> online shopping) we planned to pitch it as a sort of practical "hey guys this is what we're looking for for DS now that he's ____ old," and I also just put stuff on there that I'm planning to buy myself once the paycheck comes in. I haven't sent out a note to my dad or MIL yet, but I told my mom about it and she thought it was great -- now she knows what size he's wearing, etc., and she told me to keep it updated so she can check back when she's thinking of buying gifts. I figure that even if we never get anything on the list, at least it will give them an idea of what we're into, since most of them are old-school and have no idea that you don't have to buy the shiny thing on the end-cap at Toys-R-Us. So if you give yourself a good amount of lead time, and just phrase it as a practical reference tool for them to check in on when(if)ever they feel like it, that may be a good way to give a gentle hint w/o having to stamp something on the invites.<br><br>
Then again ... I did have a friend who's BIL was always trying to buy her kids noisy, singing, "educational" toys and it was always a bone of contention (and I have a feeling she's not afraid to speak up no matter what!). So one day when he asked her if the boys would like one of those talking Alphabet computer things that mechanically shouts the alphabet and encouraging words at your child whenever they hit the buttons (ykwim) and she gently but very honestly said "no," then he just looked at her, genuinely worried for her children, and said, "But how will they learn the alphabet?"
 

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I LOVE the idea of a theme party.<br><br>
What about using facebook to your advantage? I keep my daughter's Amazon list in my 'websites' section and when people ask I direct them there.<br><br>
What about using your FB status as a hint?<br><br>
"Your Name" is making an Amazon wish list for "Child's Name"'s birthday! I'm so excited for him/her!<br><br>
Something like that? Not pushy, but then if people want to be directed they can ask or check your info. If they'd rather pick the gift themselves, great. You can practice your diplomacy skills that will come in so handy when your child brings you the 4,000th picture of a dragon she's drawn that day.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nola79</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15435754"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't think "no gifts, please" is rude. I've seen it put in a tactful way, too. I think I've seen, "you're presence is present enough" or something similar.<br>
As far as the junky gifts, I just say thanks and either regift it (if appropriate) or donate it.</div>
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I agree, I been down this road many a time and honestly people are going to do what they want. Some will take *hints* and some will not get it point blank.<br><br>
I think its in the way its presented as in really your presence is all we need as opposed to *we hate your tastes* (although you may secretly feel like that) I usually offer up suggestions as most people will ask what the boys are into I usually say books and craft items. Toys that are not acceptable (by my standards) discreetly disappear or are donated that also includes clothing. I think specifically asking for a monetary gift instead is in bad taste.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SilverFish</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15435378"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">there will ALWAYS be two camps on this issue... the camp that says "be gracious and accept what people are kind enough to give you," and the camp that says, "no reason other people's bad taste and excessive consumerism should take up space in my house."</div>
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Oh, there's definitely a middle ground. I'm not going to let my house become overrun by possessions that I dislike. And responsible and respectful people who care about you will choose appropriate gifts for you and your children when they know what your preference are. But you can't control other people's actions, and there is no way to actually prevent them from buying loud plastic toys if they insist on doing so. So why try and fight a losing battle? You can control what you do with your own possessions, not what other people spend their money on <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">
 

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There are some people in my family that like to give gifts just to make themselves look like amazing, generous people. They don't ask what the gift recipient would like and don't take into account the gift recipient's tastes or interests. Since I know they get a lot of joy out of giving these gifts, I thank them and the next time I'm decluttering that stuff goes off to Goodwill with no guilt. My grandmother is pretty straightforward with those people, if she receives a gift she does not like or will not use, she tells the gift giver this and suggests that they return the gift. It's harsh, but honest. The great thing is that when she gives gifts, she attaches a gift receipt so that you can return it if you want and pocket the cash.<br><br>
Of course there are also people in my family that give awesome, thoughtful gifts. I am really thankful for those gifts, especially when it is something I wanted to buy anyway. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Three words: Toys for Tots<br><br>
Accept it graciously, store it, give it away.<br><br>
Anything else is really rude.
 

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You know what gets my goat - when someone demands "payment" for said gifts. For example, a mother or mother-in-law who sends you pounds of inappropriate clothes (seasonally, logistically (it's lacy AND it has a hundred buttons??) ethically, etc.) and then hounds you for photos of your little one in the outfits.<br><br>
Getting my kid into a cotton sleeper is hard enough as it is, the last thing I want to do is set aside time to tie her into some complex, itchy lace contraption.<br><br>
Sorry, rant.
 
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