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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>Both related to gift-receiving/disposing:</p>
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<p>1. DS just turned 3. He does not play with any of the toys he already has -- I have tried rotating things in and out, paring down, adding new, he's just not interested for long. DH bought him a train set at a garage sale a few months ago, and that is the only thing he plays with regularly. I'm trying very hard to declutter our small home, and want to donate some of his old toys that he doesn't use anymore. Is 3 too young to understand the concept? I know I could just take them and he'd never notice they're missing, but it feels dishonest. Also, I'd like to start a tradition where he chooses one of his new toys to donate to Toys for Tots, since his birthday is so close to Christmas. He'd have to understand that he can't open the toy to play with it first -- is it mean to have him do this so young? Is it "wrong" to do it for him if he receives gifts that are not in line with our values and wouldn't be played with anyway? (I'm talking about cheap plastic junk that will fall apart anyway, and that he will only be interested in as long as it takes to get it out of the box....)</p>
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<p>2. He received an expensive hunk of plastic from his aunt. She thought it would be the perfect gift, based on what she thinks I told her.... She doesn't get it. At any rate, she was here when he opened it, saw how much he liked it, left, and the thing broke within an hour. I am returning it (she left us with a gift receipt) but will not replace it. Not only b/c it's junk, but b/c it's not age-appropriate and I just don't have it in me to supervise hours of play with it, trying to keep DS from breaking it again or injuring himself. (It has some long, pointy parts that just don't make sense to give an active kid.) The aunt is very sensitive and makes EVERYTHING about her. If I tell her what happened, I'll never hear the end of it -- explanations of how the box says it's ok for 3 year olds (it says "not for kids under 3"), how long it took her to choose the gift, what she went through to find one and pick it up, how she WOULD HAVE gotten him a train set if DH hadn't RUINED it for her by buying a used on e at a garage sale without telling her first (we had NO idea she was planning to get him a train set -- she never once mentioned it til I told her DH had bought one and they were playing with it). So yeah, it's a little selfish on my part to not want to tell her, but part of me thinks that the giving is done. We thanked her, she saw him play with it, it's over. It's going to break some time, it's a cheap plastic toy. Does it really matter WHEN it breaks? Is it wrong to let her enjoy thinking he's having a great time with it for a few months? I know it's dishonest, but how much does it really matter, when I know she'll feel terrible that it broke and then be all defensive about it and make me miserable too?</p>
 

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<p>I think 3 is probably a little young to start voluntarily giving up toys. I didn't start including DD in toy purges until she was 4, and that's just cleaning up and getting rid of stuff she doesn't play with- I think that age is WAAAAAY to young to pick something new out for Toys for Tots. Nice idea, but IMO it needs to wait until the kid can understand and participate in the decision, and I know mine wasn't capable of that at 3. I don't think it's dishonest to make toys that don't get played with disappear.</p>
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<p>As far as the broken piece of crap from the overbearing-sounding aunt, I wouldn't mention it to her and if she ever asks about it in the future just tell her he loved it, pass the bean dip, done. If she comes to your house and notices it's gone, oh, he loved it until it broke, bean dip. However she reacts after that isn't your problem.</p>
 

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<p>When a cheap toy has broken here, I've told the giver, "She loved it so much, she wore it out!"</p>
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<p>I also think 3 is too young to participate in the toy purge or to expect him to give away his new toys.  Maybe in anothere year, but for me personally, I wouldn't be comfortable in my family doing it unless my child were 100% on board and felt good about that.  We buy toys to give to Toys for Tots, but we don't make the kids give up their toys.  And my dd is very generous - she actually used money she'd saved from her allowance to buy a toy for Toys for Tots this year because she wanted to buy one all by herself.  I think generosity can be taught without making kids give up their Christmas presents, and IMO unless they're really on board with that, it could backfire and make them want to hold onto stuff more.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mamazee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16115308"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>When a cheap toy has broken here, I've told the giver, "She loved it so much, she wore it out!"</p>
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I like this response. I definitely wouldn't bring it up, maybe it's a bit dishonest but more out of omission, obviously if she asks you'll tell her, I think it would be rude to tell her it broke if she didn't bring it up.</p>
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<p>I purged all DS's toys not long ago. I didn't go around doing it in secret but I didn't really involve him in the process either since he's too young to understand (he's just under 2). When he saw the pile he was curious & I just told him we were giving those toys to other kids. He was fine with that explanation though he did want to play with some of them all of a sudden, even though he had hardly touched them before, so I let him play for a few minutes & tossed the items back in the pile & out of sight as soon as he lost interest.</p>
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<p>I don't know about giving up a new, unopened Christmas toy... Honestly, I'd have a hard time with that as MY age (and I'm really not materialistic...) Usually when we get toys that don't fit our values or are otherwise inappropriate, we return them & use the money to get something he WILL like. Often things end up opened though because the giver gets excited about seeing him play with it so the 'return' option tends to go out the window fast. Anyway, I guess I feel like it makes more sense to either exchange it for something he wants/needs or let him play with it for a week (or month or whatever) and then donate it. I'm all about donating things and we (as a family) shop for items to donate, usually spending more on that then our own Christmas gifts, but it seems cruel to me to ask a kid to give up one of their own gifts. I guess it depends how many gifts he gets. One out of 5 would be rough but if he gets 100 gifts and donates one, I guess it's not that big a deal.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mamazee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16115308"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>When a cheap toy has broken here, I've told the giver, "She loved it so much, she wore it out!"</p>
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<br><br><p>I'm cautious about using this statement, unless DC actually loved the gift. I feel like I'd be setting myself up to receive more of the same kind of gift in the future.  If it did actually break in the first day or so I think the truth would be more appropriate. "I know you put a lot of thought and effort into DS's gift, but it broke pretty quickly.  We returned it to the store for something more sturdy that he can have fun with for a long time to come."  or something.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<p>I like the response of saying he liked it so much he wore it out, too, but we talk several times a week and she'll ask every time if he's playing with it. So somewhere along the line I'm going to have to lie outright or hurt her feelings. My dad is with me: it wasn't age-appropriate to begin with, she's over-sensitive and will have hurt feelings even though it's no one's fault the toy broke, and I'm not wrong to want to avoid listening to the drama for hours on end. My mom disagrees and thinks I *have* to tell her b/c she'd want to know. I'd never tell someone outside the family that their toy broke right away, but family is somehow different.</p>
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<p>As for the donation of toys, I suspected that he's too young. I'm going to hold off donating any new stuff til I see he's not interested in playing with it, and now that we're going to have a store credit at a store where we never shop and can't find anything suitable as a replacement for the aunt's toy, we can use that to buy for TfT.... I'm so amazed at the huge amounts of stuff people's kids end up with at holidays. I just don't see how the kids can possibly play with it all. DS hadn't even opened all of his birthday gifts (a grand total of 6) a whole week after his party. He unwrapped them all, opened and played with the aunt's gift til it broke, then opened his next favorite and played with that and the leftover balloons the entire week. The rest sat on the chair in the playroom, and he asked once or twice for help opening them, and gave two others about 5 minutes of attention since. I'm starting to wonder if this is normal, and all the adults are nuts, or if he's in the minority and most kids would be having a field day with all the loot. (I know that'll come when he's older, but I'm talking about people whose kids are his age and younger going all out crazy with the gifts.)</p>
 

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<p>I don't even understand the idea of making him give up one of his new, unopened toys to Toys for Tots. Buy something and give it to the program, and if you want to include him, then by all means, go ahead. The program concept really isn't for you to have to give up one of your gifts, though. </p>
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<p>If he isn't playing with the toys, box them up and donate them.  My kids know that we donate some of their toys when they're done playing with them so that other kids can enjoy them.  He's old enough that you can explain that to him.</p>
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<p>I don't get why you'd make him to give up a birthday present though.  Take him out and buy a toy for you guys to give to another child.  Making him give up one of his toys will make him resent the whole thing, but making it a family affair will teach him much more.</p>
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<p>Why would you tell the aunt that the gift broke?  If she asks, tell her he loved it (he obviously did) and leave it at that.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>swd12422</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16115423"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I like the response of saying he liked it so much he wore it out, too, but we talk several times a week and she'll ask every time if he's playing with it. So somewhere along the line I'm going to have to lie outright or hurt her feelings. My dad is with me: it wasn't age-appropriate to begin with, she's over-sensitive and will have hurt feelings even though it's no one's fault the toy broke, and I'm not wrong to want to avoid listening to the drama for hours on end. My mom disagrees and thinks I *have* to tell her b/c she'd want to know. I'd never tell someone outside the family that their toy broke right away, but family is somehow different.</p>
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<p>As for the donation of toys, I suspected that he's too young. I'm going to hold off donating any new stuff til I see he's not interested in playing with it, and now that we're going to have a store credit at a store where we never shop and can't find anything suitable as a replacement for the aunt's toy, we can use that to buy for TfT.... I'm so amazed at the huge amounts of stuff people's kids end up with at holidays. I just don't see how the kids can possibly play with it all. DS hadn't even opened all of his birthday gifts (a grand total of 6) a whole week after his party. He unwrapped them all, opened and played with the aunt's gift til it broke, then opened his next favorite and played with that and the leftover balloons the entire week. The rest sat on the chair in the playroom, and he asked once or twice for help opening them, and gave two others about 5 minutes of attention since. I'm starting to wonder if this is normal, and all the adults are nuts, or if he's in the minority and most kids would be having a field day with all the loot. (I know that'll come when he's older, but I'm talking about people whose kids are his age and younger going all out crazy with the gifts.)</p>
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Hmm well if your aunt is constantly asking that adds a whole new dimension to it... I've never heard of someone doing that. Yeah they might ask once if he liked the toy but they certainly wouldn't ask if he's playing with it every single time! I guess in that case I would lean toward telling her the truth... because otherwise you are likely going to feel anxious & uncomfortable every single time she calls. Might as well just get it over with... though I understand not wanting all the drama. Maybe frame it really nicely, "Oh we were SOOO disappointed it broke, DS was enjoying it so much, but it seemed like something that would just break again if we replaced it so we decided to get him something a little more age-appropriate that could withstand his abuse." Or however you think it would best go over with her!!</p>
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<p>We haven't had a birthday/gift giving occasion in a while but I'm pretty sure DS would want to open everything. He seems to like novelty so regardless if he was ultimately interested in the toys he'd want to explore them initially. Maybe your DS just is really, really not into toys OR novelty??? Which I would think is a rather unusual combination but I really don't know.</p>
 

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<div> Also, I'd like to start a tradition where he chooses one of his new toys to donate to Toys for Tots, since his birthday is so close to Christmas. He'd have to understand that he can't open the toy to play with it first -- is it mean to have him do this so young?<span style="display:none;"> </span></div>
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<p>I think this isn't good regardless of age. I think learning to be generous is something we model as parents. I don't think forcing a kid to give up one of his toys teaches anything other than resentment. True generosity is offered, not mandated.</p>
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<p>As to his birthday being close to Christmas-bummer. My sister was born on Christmas Eve and her birthday gets lost in the shuffle (not by us but by others.) I can't imagine adding more insult to injury by making her give up one of her gifts because she had the misfortune to be born the day before Christmas. She doesn't expect a ton of stuff either. She just wishes her day didn't get mixed up with Christmas.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>swd12422</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16115423"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm so amazed at the huge amounts of stuff people's kids end up with at holidays. I just don't see how the kids can possibly play with it all. <strong>DS hadn't even opened all of his birthday gifts (a grand total of 6) a whole week after his party.</strong> He unwrapped them all, opened and played with the aunt's gift til it broke, then opened his next favorite and <strong>played with that and the leftover balloons the entire week</strong>. The rest sat on the chair in the playroom, and he asked once or twice for help opening them, and gave two others about 5 minutes of attention since. I'm starting to wonder if this is <strong>normal</strong>, and all the adults are nuts, or if he's in the minority and most kids would be having a field day with all the loot. (I know that'll come when he's older, but I'm talking about people whose kids are his age and younger going all out crazy with the gifts.)</p>
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<p>Normal -- DS turned 3 in October and we had the same experience - unopened gifts still on the hearth a week later, played with the balloons for a month. (more than a month, as some are still being batted around)</p>
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<p>I would tell the aunt it broke and you returned it. If she asks, can you lie and say they were out and so you got something else??</p>
 

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<p>Regarding giving away one of his gifts to TfT I just don't see that working out in the long run.  Probably at 3 you could just take one and give it away and he wouldn't notice or forget about it.  When he's older it's going to be a different story.  Why not just do a special shopping trip every year where you pick something out together?  I mean you could ask if there's one that he'd like to give, but I wouldn't require it!</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16115425"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I don't even understand the idea of making him give up one of his new, unopened toys to Toys for Tots. Buy something and give it to the program, and if you want to include him, then by all means, go ahead. The program concept really isn't for you to have to give up one of your gifts, though. </p>
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THIS! I think it would be a pretty weird, cruel thing, no matter how old the child. Just give the child fewer gifts, and go and pick one out at the store together to donate...</p>
 

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<p><br>
I don't think it's the least bit dishonest to clear out some unused or broken toys from the clutter. I do this constantly to keep the toys to a minimum.</p>
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<p>I do think it's terribly traumatic to expect a child - any age - to have to give up a brand new toy. What anxiety that would create at every birthday and Christmas, not to mention hurt feelings if he chooses a birthday toy from, say, AUNTIE, and announces to everyone there that "This is the one I don't want and I will give away!" Yikes! :)</p>
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<p>I would be honest and tell your sister, when she asks and only if she asks, that kiddo loved the toy, but the toy broke. That you returned it to the store and planned to replace it, but didn't want to go through the whole breaking thing again since your son was so disappointed when it broke the first time. If she never gets over it, that's her problem. But it's not yours....you didn't just toss the toy into the trash, you know?</p>
 

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<p><br>
As a child we always took one of our previously loved toys to donate to needy children.....this is back before you could only give new, unopened toys (another pet peeve all together).  I think this was a great  thing (although initially as a kid I didn't).  Each year I would go through my toys to find something perfect and I would imagine in my head another little girl loving it as much as I did.  The biggest one I gave away that I absolutely loved was my printing press.....I loved it and used it a lot but as with all my toys they were well cared for.  I proudly packaged it up to give for a Christmas gift.</p>
<p>Now giving away a gift you just received....no I don't think it fair to the child or the giver. <br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>VisionaryMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16115425"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I don't even understand the idea of making him give up one of his new, unopened toys to Toys for Tots. Buy something and give it to the program, and if you want to include him, then by all means, go ahead. The program concept really isn't for you to have to give up one of your gifts, though. </p>
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When Denali was three we talked about donating older toys that she no longer used to people who didn't have any. I found that she was quite able to let go of those toys, and happily donated quite a lot from age three to now at age seven. We thin out toys and belongings twice a year (coincides with Christmas and her birthday). I feel that because we started with the weeding out and donating early it was a normal part of her life, and therefor not any big deal. The first couple times was careful not to ask her to give up anything she was super attached to.<br>
Also, my husband and I often go through our own possessions to donate unused o unwanted items, so she sees that it is not just hr giving up the goodies!<br><br>
I also agree with the other posters that having him give up a new toy from his gifts is not a very good lesson. On the contrary, I would imagine it would make him come to really resent donating at all. Instead, I would plan a special shopping trip around his birthday and/or Christmas where he gets to pick out a brand new toy especially to donate. That way he gets to give something specially, but he won't feel resentful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
<p>Thanks for the clarity, mamas. We don't buy him much, usually one gift b/c he gets so much from the rest of the family (and most of it is junk, sadly). It drives me crazy to have all this junk in the house and two weeks later it's being ignored when it could have gone to TfT still in the package and be just as appreciated by DS. But you are right that it seems cruel to make him give away his new toys, whether he wants them or not. I tend to donate some of his new stuff that I think he won't like or that I don't want him to have, b/c we just don't have room for all this stuff! I guess the tradition should be that he can clear some of his "old" stuff out beforehand to donate and make room for the new.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>swd12422</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16115423"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> DS hadn't even opened all of his birthday gifts (a grand total of 6) a whole week after his party. He unwrapped them all, opened and played with the aunt's gift til it broke, then opened his next favorite and played with that and the leftover balloons the entire week. The rest sat on the chair in the playroom, and he asked once or twice for help opening them, and gave two others about 5 minutes of attention since. I'm starting to wonder if this is normal, and all the adults are nuts, or if he's in the minority and most kids would be having a field day with all the loot. (I know that'll come when he's older, but I'm talking about people whose kids are his age and younger going all out crazy with the gifts.)</p>
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My son is like that.  At three, he'd open one gift, thoroughly explore it, then open the next one (often the next day).  He's quicker about opening everything now but there is some amount of external pressure which I don't really like but find hard to avoid.  We have guests for Christmas and open gifts one at a time.  So he's told it's his turn and pulled away from his exploration of his first toy to open the next.  He was even telling me he'd rather do the 12 days of Christmas and just get one gift and his stocking on Christmas Day.  I think we are going to do a modified version and save a few things for the days after Christmas, choosing ones that he will need more help with and that aren't age appropriate for our younger house guests.</p>
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<p>Maybe your son has very specific tastes like my guy.  He won't play with just any toy.  I'm always amazed at how often there are threads asking for gift suggestions.  When I read ones aimed at my child's age and gender, I'll think "Wow, my ds would hate to get most of these things!" </p>
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<p>If your ds likes the train set, that's great because you can just keep getting a new element every holiday for the next few years.  It keeps the toy fresh and interesting and storage isn't hard because it goes with all the rest.</p>
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<p>If I were to have ds pick out a TfT at that age.  I'd have him pick something out and tell him we are getting an extra for another little boy.  I don't think 3 is quite mature enough to go to the store, pick something out, and give it away without getting to check it out.  Maybe if you pick out a toy that wouldn't be of interest to him.  But if he is picking it out, it will be of interest to him.  </p>
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<p>I did weed out his toys without his input when he was younger when I wanted to declutter.  I was mindful not to take away anything he cared about.  But if I was going to the thrift store, I would also ask him if there was anything he didn't want that I should take to the thrift store so another child could enjoy it.  Sometimes he had something but more often he didn't.  I was just planting the idea in his head that that is what we do with things we don't need.  We take good care of them and pass them along to someone else.  It bothers me when people are careless of things they don't want and let them get damaged and unusable simply because they don't like them or are bored of them   </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>swd12422</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285415/two-moral-dilemmas-please-help#post_16116774"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
 I guess the tradition should be that he can clear some of his "old" stuff out beforehand to donate and make room for the new.</div>
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Before Christmas is a good time for that.  It won't go to TfT, of course, but many people buy their kids Christmas gifts at thrift stores.  I think Salvation Army even stashes toys so they can put more out in December for people who need to Christmas shop there.</p>
 

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<p>my MIL made my dh give up some of his xmas/birthday gifts (not to charity, but to younger family members) fairly regularly, and you should see how he holds on to things now.</p>
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