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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Beware, venting follows:<br><br>
Last year, our Christmas was absolutely terrible. My DH and I don't want to celebrate Christmas with an overload of junk toys. Actually, we don't put up a tree or buy each other of the kids any presents. On my side of the family, we eat dinner together like a family reunion and everyone gets one very small gift.<br><br>
Over the past 4 years or so, Dh and I have been doing a lot of soul searching and have decided that we do not want to celebrate Christmas at all as a religious holiday. Every year, we try to plan our vacation so that we will be out of town during my DH's family festivities. But every year, they find out when we are leaving and change their plans so that we can still "have a Christmas" Then they get DH's grandmother to guilt us into coming to the affair by saying sweet grandmother words like "You, know, I am 83 years old. THis might be my last Christmas." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:<br><br>
We usually reluctantly end up going, with the stipulation that the kids are to only recieve one gift, either a nice toy or clothes. In years past, they have pretty well aquiessed to our requests. But last year was absolutely out of control. They brought gifts in a cargo van. It was seriously FULL of gifts. There were bags and boxes and packages and cartons too innumerable to count. It actually got to the point where my ds began to cry because he did not want to open one more package. We should have just refused any gifts beyond the first one they opened, but hindsight is always 20/20. We have a pick-up truck, and the back was literally filled up. We took everything but some clothes and Melissa & Doug puzzles straight to the salvation army. Some of the presents still had the wrapping on them.<br><br>
That said, I was talking to MIL today. I have been wanting to mention Christmas early, before she had a chance to do more shopping. So, I gingerly mention "I hope you don't spend as much on Christmas this year. You all spent way too much last year." (trying to be nice) So, she said, "I don't have as many things yet as I did this time last year, but here is what I have for Titus." and she points to a pile of stuff that is literally taller than me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hammer.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hammer"><br><br>
I politely said "I don't think we will be here this year for Christmas this year."<br><br>
She looks at me and winks and says "Oh, I'll find a way." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bigeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bigeyes"><br><br>
My question is, "What would you do?" Keep in mind that I really don't want to isolate us from DH's family. Other than this Christmas insanity, we get along pretty well. I just don't understand what is so difficult about abiding by our wishes. I can't believe she has already shopped that much for ds. He is only 3! What could he possibly need? I am desprite to stop this crazy train (which I have a feeling is only going to get worse as the years progress) without completely disconnecting from Dh's fam. Any suggestions?
 

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Um...Perhaps tell them that you are considering conversion to Jehovah's Witnesses??<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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If someone loves my kids to buy them things, even stuff I hate, I allow them to have it. If it's truly terrible, it can always be donated. Actually, letting Titus pick out some of his new or old things to donate would be a great lesson for him, sharing our things with those who don't have as much.<br><br>
If it's a massive problem for you personally, I would just tell MIL that. That while she may buy all of that, there is not enough room in the house for all of it, nor do you want Titus to have that much at once, so after opening it, most of it will be donated to charities. It might curb her buying if she knows that Titus won't even get to enjoy it.<br><br>
But really, I think let them all enjoy seeing Titus open it, then when you go home, keep the things you want him to have, get rid of the rest. No harm done.<br><br>
ETA: If Titus doesn't want to open them, no way I would make him. I'd just tell them "This is why we asked he only be gotten one thing, too much overwhelms him" if he gets upset.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Meg Murry.</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8997651"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Um...Perhaps tell them that you are considering conversion to Jehovah's Witnesses??<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"></div>
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Nice suggestion, but I doubt that would even work. She is CRAZY about Christmas.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:
 

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I would thank her for her wonderful donation to "your favorite charity". That helped my mom ease up on the gift giving.
 

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I dunno- maybe they would not buy so much if they knew it was going to Salvation Army or otherwise being donated somewhere. Did you tell them what you are going to do with all the stuff? And I disagree on just accepting it w/o telling them what you are going to do with it. Tell why you think it is too much and why you are not buying into all the comercialization of Chistmas. Then, whatever you do- DO NOT tell them when you are skipping out of town <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Ruthiegirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8997677"><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 would thank her for her wonderful donation to "your favorite charity". That helped my mom ease up on the gift giving.</div>
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This is actually what we did with my MIL. Her gift giving was getting out of hand and we had to pay $100 last yr to have gifts shipped back home in 2 giant boxes! (we flew out there) We had told her repeatedly not to get more than 1-2 things per child. In the past my DH has told her it would end up at Goodwill and things have gone there in the past on a smaller scale. She would ask where a toy was when she visited and my son would say "oh we took that to the junk store" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
So last yr when we got home we took most of it to shelters and Goodwill and my DH told her that's where it went. She was really miffed. I'm pretty sure she finally got it since she's commented more than once about "just sending out 1 or 2 things for each child."<br><br>
My mom is great-she just gets 1 educational thing for each child and gives me a check for their college fund! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Normally I'm of the "grin and bare it" variety, but it sounds like you've made your mind up and really don't want to go through with Christmas, so in that case I would get your husband and go over to MIL's house and sit down and talk about it. It doesn't matter how fancy your moves, because dancing around the subject doesn't work. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
If this is just about gifts you can compromise by making yourself available under the agreement that there are no gifts given. Perhaps allow one gift, and set a price/size limit. But hinting at how much money she spent and then hinting you might not be there doesn't say anything, it just gives her ammunition to try harder.<br><br>
If it were me, I'd rather have them pissed at me for a year and enjoy Christmas *my* way, then go through it being miserable again. Be firm. Tell them if your kids gets gifts they will be returned/donated/ebayed (whatever). And that if they don't honor your wishes you won't attend next year because it's not fair the kids to see gifts that they won't get to keep.<br><br>
I totally understand where you are coming from, but being passive in the hopes that they'll get your hints WON'T work. You have to come out and say it, and be very firm about. Be prepared to enforce it, otherwise let it go and try to make the best of it.
 

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Oh, I forgot to say that one yr my Dh refused to take the gifts home. He told the kids to pick 2 things and the rest would stay at grandmas to play with <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br>
She kept trying to push the issue but my DH was firm and this ticked her off a little.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Ruthiegirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8997677"><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 would thank her for her wonderful donation to "your favorite charity". That helped my mom ease up on the gift giving.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Tell her "Let's make sure to get together before our trip so I can get all those Toys for Tots gifts to the right places on time."
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Oh, I forgot to say that one yr my Dh refused to take the gifts home. He told the kids to pick 2 things and the rest would stay at grandmas to play with<br>
She kept trying to push the issue but my DH was firm and this ticked her off a little.</td>
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This sounds like a <i>great</i> idea. Maybe you could tell MIL in advance that you will only allow your child(ren) to bring home two gifts a piece. Anything extra will have to stay at her house for the kid(s) to play with then they're there.<br><br>
And then do it. She will probably buy a ton of stuff this year, but next year she probably won't, since she'll have to be the one storing it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>~MoonGypsy~</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8998191"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Ask for cash instead? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">:</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> We tried that. We even gave her the account numbers for the kids' savings accounts. No luck.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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Dear Grandma,<br><br>
Thank you so much for the generous Christmas gifts. Our family believes that it's very important to celebrate the season of giving by making it a tradition to share the incredible abundance with which we are blessed with those that are less fortunate. I've chosen 3 items to keep, and the rest were donated to XXX Charity.<br><br>
Love always,<br>
Titus<br><br>
__________________________________________________ _____________<br><br>
In a similar vein, I just checked out the book "Unplug the Christmas Machine" from the library. It's a bit dated but has some wonderful ideas and exercises to do in terms of figuring out how to create a rich, meaningful holiday season WITHOUT the over-the-top consumerism. i highly suggest it.<br><br>
MIL is a wonderful woman, and she is generous to a fault. We really want to curb the craziness this year, especially in light of all of the toy recalls this year, we are being even more mindful of the quality of toys that dd plays with. We would LOVE it if people just made donations to her education fund, or chipped in towards memberships to local attractions that we frequent. But people of a certain generation don't like to give 'intangible' gifts like that, unfortunately. We were thrilled when dh's gma sent a book and a small check towards her college, she kept asking us if we were sure that this was what we wanted and we kept assuring her that it was greatly appreciated, and that it was so meaningful to dh and i that we would make sure to share with dd that her education was paid for in part by her loving great grandmother, and that tickled her pink. she also confided in us later that she was so relieved that she didn't have to go driving all over town looking for something for dd, which is no small task for an 85 year old. AND, her taste in books was spot on...it is dd's absolute favorite book and we read it several times per day, and i always tell her that this book was from her nonie.<br><br>
can you ask for a book or two, so that this will satisfy her NEED to purchase something, and then ask her to write something meaningful on the inside front cover? dh still has some of his childhood books and they are absolute treasures, and have become family heirlooms. if you can steer her towards buying things that are meaningful and have lasting quality and value, you might be able to find a compromise instead of coming home with a truck full of plasticky junk.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> what a challenging situation!!
 

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I can sympathize in some ways. That does have to be frustrating.<br><br>
At the same time, my mil hasn't sent a Christmas gift, birthday present, birthday card, or called my dc on the phone in the 2.5 years since we've moved out of state. She seems to have forgotten that we exist--and it's not from a lack of effort on our part. I regularly send photos, short updates, Christmas/birthday gifts, and dh calls her once a month or so.<br><br>
While it is pleasant to no longer have to deal with her drama and issues, it is difficult for me to see my children come to the understanding that their grandmother just doesn't care to be involved in their lives--especially when she is SO involved with their cousins. The favoritism was still quite blatant when we lived in-state, but they were too young to notice. Now they do, and it's painful for them.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BabyBugsMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8998640"><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 can sympathize in some ways. That does have to be frustrating.<br><br>
At the same time, my mil hasn't sent a Christmas gift, birthday present, birthday card, or called my dc on the phone in the 2.5 years since we've moved out of state. She seems to have forgotten that we exist--and it's not from a lack of effort on our part. I regularly send photos, short updates, Christmas/birthday gifts, and dh calls her once a month or so.<br><br>
While it is pleasant to no longer have to deal with her drama and issues, it is difficult for me to see my children come to the understanding that their grandmother just doesn't care to be involved in their lives--especially when she is SO involved with their cousins. The favoritism was still quite blatant when we lived in-state, but they were too young to notice. Now they do, and it's painful for them.</div>
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Ah, this is my life. My MIL didn't see my ds until he was almost 2. And they have enough money to go to Italy or France to see the cousins (as they all vacation together) and they have enough for lavish parties and new cars every single year---but not enough to see us. It's so obvious it's embarrassing.<br>
I guess since I'm on this side of the fence, I find it odd that people would try so hard not to get gifts. It doesn't mean you have to keep them.<br>
It may cost you $100 to send them home--but then go straight to Toys For Tots and donate them ALONG with your child. You don't need to say anything at all to grandma. And your child can learn about the world through your caring for others. Just donate them and be so happy that she is spending so freely because there are SO many children without parents, or gifts or heat each winter. I volunteered in a shelter for many years when I was in my 20s and it was so hard to watch the homeless go from those with drug and alcohol problems over the years to women with SMALL children.<br>
And it was all I could do to not cry in despair every time I left there.<br>
The $100 you have to spend to mail them all home also shows your child that you are willing to be generous in your charity of others--you don't hurt anyone's feelings so you are generous in spirit and heart by graciously accepting what is given to you and you are generous to others with those things that you can't use. I would think everyone would go away happy in this case. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I can't see asking people to limit themselves when they want to give you something--my SIL (just to be nasty, I'd swear) LITERALLY sends me her kids' stained sports t-shirts from their school--like their school issued jerseys as gifts, stained, unwashed-- for my kids (they have millions of dollars, too, just like MIL--her dh is a software creator) and at first I was so insulted...but I thought, no need to rock the boat. I discard what I cannot use and donate anything that can be salvaged (which is rare) to charity. Same with MIL's gifts to the kids.<br>
In fact, one year, I opened everything ahead of time and put things in a donation pile and then rewrapped them and let the kids open them from the ILs--and I never said a word, just sent a thank you card.<br>
My MIL literally sent me a box of rocks that my dh must have collected as a boy--and I know why she did it, she was cleaning out her house before they moved (they never visit or write and rarely send gifts at all--but they do send x-mas gifts and they did send junk from the attic a few times) and she sent them because she didn't want to throw them out. She never thought--if I don't want them, why would they? They had no value and cost her $15 to mail. Insane. So, I opened the box and put the rocks in the woods and the box went to recycle.<br>
I say leave well enough alone--and if you are worried about cost--we have a Fed Ex account, it's so much cheaper to ship things that way--or find a charity before you catch that flight and deliver the boxes there--and MIL will never know that you donated them rather than taking them to the post office!<br>
Best of luck--I hope that something that I've said has helped, I'm sure it is tough to deal with people like who are over the top--but I say don't rock the boat, you might end up with worse problems than too many gifts.
 

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I think it's important to set up what you want before the kids get too old to ask - why don't I get to keep x, m, s, q and r?<br><br>
I also think it's important to simplify Christmas. If someone's love language is giving gifts - great. They can get 1 or 2 gifts that are approved by the parents.<br><br>
It's not fair to the kids to give them things only to take them away. If grandma is doing this she needs to stop, take a second, and understand they are not her kids - so she needs to follow their parents rules.<br><br>
IMHO
 

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i would absolutely tell her about how you donate the gifts & you plan on keeping that up year after year if she plans on keeping up buying all those gifts.<br><br>
i understand joy in buying the gifts, but the excess is absurd!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>bobica</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8998935"><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 would absolutely tell her about how you donate the gifts & you plan on keeping that up year after year if she plans on keeping up buying all those gifts.<br><br>
i understand joy in buying the gifts, but the excess is absurd!</div>
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We DO tell her. I mean, last year, like I said before, my son actually cried because he was so tired of opening presents that he couldn't continue. I said, "It's okay, Titus, you don't have to open any more." She kept trying to push him to open more. My Dh caught her in the kitchen away from ds and said "Mom, he is not opening any more, and the ones that are not open are going to Branches (our local battered women and children's shelter) and some of the ones that he opened will probably go to the Salvation Army. We tried to explain to you that we did not have room for all these." Her response, "Surely you can find room somewhere." And then she left the room. This year, she is buying approximately the same as last year, so I can see that it has had no affect whatsoever that we gave away the items. She has even asked where things are that she bought, and I just tell her "That was one of the things we decided to take to the SA."<br><br>
The thing that we are most concerned about with limiting gifts is that we don't want them to get to where they EXPECT that many gifts.
 

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*sigh* if she's really that bad about it (which it clearly seems she is) then I guess there is nothing to do except get mean. Tell her bluntly that either she trims down the list, maybe make it more than you want, but still a decent number for her, something like 5 gifts for each child. NOT A SINGLE ONE MORE. Or that you're sorry, but you just can't make it if she wants to do more. It's too hard on the kids and it's simply not what you want them around.<br><br>
Maybe DH can tell her. *shrug* 5 presents each mom of we aren't going to come. If she DOES try to sneak more in, then how about just next year saying something like "Well, after last year, when we repeatedly asked you to follow our wishes for our children, you still did as you wanted. So this year we will not be coming."
 
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