Friday, October 2, 2009

Up & Coming Big Family Issue

Now that it's fall, you know what's coming up? Christmas! At least my kids are sure it's right around the corner. The concept of time is totally lost on my short people. But I digress.

A common problem among big families as you all know is: stuff! Grandparents want to buy a bunch of toys that your kids will have discarded before Valentine's Day decorations are up in the stores and you're wondering if your life will always consist of constant decluttering. (Although your kids love to help declutter too as they can't stand cleaning up all those toys!) The other issue, of course, is the gifts that you just don't want in your house. The crop-top Barbie with the leather mini-skirt or the video games that will train your handsome boy to be a couch potato.

So, tell me, how do you handle it?


Nicole said...

I give strong hints about how wonderful family gifts are :) A gift certificate for everyone to go out to dinner, or see a movie or a zoo pass, etc.

Luckily my family is pretty good about respecting our wishes on not buying certain things but I think we'd change barbies clothes.

I try not to hurt feelings because they were sweet and thoughtful to buy the gift but in the end I have to answer to god and not them about how I raised my children so if its just plain innapropriate it gets tossed.

Veronica said...

I have no problem asking for specific gifts, and our grandparents have no problem receiving that info and complying. This has helped keep Barbie out of our home :) The g'parents used to really want to buy individual gifts for each child, but now that we've got 5, they're starting to see how that adds up, and are taking my advice to buy group gifts like books, games, puzzles, pre-approved movies, etc. We still inevitably get a few gifts that end up in the goodwill box, but I have stopped feeling guilty over that :)

Catherine Patterson said...

I do the same as Veronica. I just let any and all know that we don't play with Barbie, and video games are not apart of Gods plan for us. If He changes His mind, I'll let them know. You can't go wrong being honesty, as long as you preface it with love and sincerity. Hugs to you - Great questions!

Cindy said...

So, we are working on a "big" family, but we've seen a few crazy Christmases and we as an immediate family just receive/give 3 gifts to each person TOTAL. Jesus received 3 gifts and so we base it on that (thank you, Carissa Brown). Santa brings nothing because Santa isn't real. Sorry, Santa lovers. And with extended family, they have gone SLIGHTLY overboard, but we try to be specific about what they want/need (Savings Bond? No one has taken us up on that or a gift card to go out to eat!). And we have taken presents and put them away for a birthday or as an earned reward later in the year. As they age, this may become more difficult, but it works for now. We have a strict no Barbie/Bratz policy and everyone has respected it so far. AND instead of more c-r-a-p that my kids don't need or won't play with, we've also had family that has paid for lessons or special activities (gymnastics, tickets to The Sound of Music tour). Building memories is more important than the STUFF. Good issue, Ginger.

MommaofMany said...

Our family is pretty good at respecting our desires for our children. We usually get a large family gift from one set of grandparents, and the kids get individual gifts from another Grandma, but she always clears with us what she'd like to get them.

I'm so glad that our family supports us in our family-centered choices!

Jamie Wooddell said...

Wow. Y'all are lucky. I give more than hints, but alas, what I think doesn't matter.
Don't you know kids are SUPPOSED to get all kinds of toys for Christmas?

debhmom3 said...

After two years of "training" my family, they finally respect our wishes as far as gifts go. Give us money, a family pass somewhere fun, "building toys" (legos) or art supplies. I just finally flat out told them in no uncertain terms that other gifts would either be promptly returned or would be at Goodwill by the end of January, so don't waste your money. :) Oh, and homemade gifts are welcome and enjoyed.

Angela said...

Good Topic! Our kids are still small, but after last Christmas my husband has had to tell his Mom not to buy so much stuff! Luckily, his parents also enjoy buying clothing for the girls. So we have asked them to limit their toy buying. My family is conservative, and his is starting to realize that we are conservative and don't want some of the toys such as Babie, etc. Thankful!

Shell said...

Ginger, boy, you got me on this one.

I do the whole asking for certain things and giving a good explanation why. Dh parents gave up buying what THEY wanted the kids to have after they didn't see the toys at our house and one of the kids said mommy threw the junk toys away. LOL Now they just give my dh the money and tell us to go shopping for them. I guess its ok. It would've been fine if they just honored us.

My mom asks us and just does her own thing. Nothing ungodly but, not always our choice either. More toys to get lost at the bottom of the toy chest.

My brother and his wife buy junk, and my sister buys Dollar store toys. Really, I'd rather not have any gift exchange and just get together for the holidays for dinner. I guess I'll just have to make a decision. Tollerate it or throw it out or donate it. LOL I think the later sounds better.

I think group gifts would be a great thing it you could get the giver to cooperate. Zoo passes, music or art lessons, museum passes or such. Even a gift of money to take on the familys next summer vacation or weekend trip.

Hope this helps and I'll be looking at the comments to see what others suggest.


Julie said...

I can beat all of ya'll. I have an aunt who goes to auctions and buy tables TABLES full of toys that I think came straight from the dollar store. She gives huge boxes of these toys to all of our kids. My cousin complained to me last year with her one kid one box self. I pointed to my five kids with five boxes and she cracked up laughing.
It's all in good fun though. Usually the toys break in a few days and then they are put in the trash.
I finally talked my grandma into zoo passes. My mom usually buys what I tell her the kids are interested in (art, legos, books, clothes). Dh's mom gives clothes. So not to much junk around here. My other aunt tried a bratz watch for one of my girls one year and we said thank you and threw it away. I then explained to her that I did not think Brazt were a good thing for my kids and asked her to not buy them anymore. She has not.