Bad Christmas Gifts!!

[deleted account] ( 6 moms have responded )

Ok, I go through the trouble of setting up a wish list every year for my son's birthday and Christmas. I send an email to the aunts/uncles/grandparents with the link to the wish list on Amazon or Toys R Us. EVERY year multiple people on the list send my son something either
a) Age inappropriate
b) items not on the list
c) a different version of something that is on the list

I don't want to sound ungrateful, because my relatives really do a lot for my son. But this year no only did we get duplicates (because people don't buy off the list and then someone else buys the same gift), we also got dangerous toys, and toys that are inappropriate for our home (we have magnetic cabinet locks - we received a toy with magnets).
So now the generous gifts become a hassle because no one bothers to send along the gift receipts!
Would it be inappropriate for me to gently suggest to the family that they stick to the wish lists?

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6 Comments

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Lauren - posted on 01/13/2011

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I think the best thing to do is buy the toys you want for them and ask others to put money in a college fund as a gift. That way, you are getting the toys you want for them and saving for their education. We always get random toys that are not appropriate for the boys and let's be honest, how many toys do they really need? I thought this idea was great because our families really feel like they are doing something great for the boys and we get the toys we want.

Christy - posted on 01/06/2011

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I think Sally has a good point here. Your child is receiving gifts from others and they may not be what you want your child to get, whether age inappropriate, dangerous, etc. They aren't buying these things to harm your child. If it's an issue and you bring it up, they may see you as ungrateful, even if that's not your intention at all. Just put the toys away for when he is older. In the grand scheme of things, all toys are dangerous. I HATE my son's tricycle, but I put a helmet on him and let him play on it under my watch (he's 3 1/2).

Christy - posted on 01/03/2011

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Actually it would. It's up to them in the end on what they get your kids. I got a lot of age inappropriate gifts. I took them out of the package, let them play in front of the family, then put them away when everyone left for when they are older. One of my kids also got a CREEPY talking animal that you interact with (age appropriate, though) The factory batteries went out a few days ago and I won't replace them, LOL. I think it creeps me out more than my kids!!!!

Angela - posted on 01/03/2011

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I tend to stick with one of the cardinal rules my mother taught me: it's the thought that counts. Anything that's not age appropriate, put away. Anything that's a duplicate, try to return (Walmart is awesome for that. We've gotten duplicates and no receipts, and I just make sure it's something they carry, then return it for store credit). In terms of the whole magnet thing, yes, small parts like that aren't age-appropriate, but does your relative know that you have magnetic locks at home?

My 2 year-old daughter received several Christmas gifts that are totally inappropriate (a bubble wand; that was fun telling her she couldn't play with it; scissors in a craft box my IL's made for her) or that we didn't need (a jewelry box since she already has one). I put the scissors away until she's older and have the jewlery box on the shelf in her room and am thankful that my family is kind enough to think of my kids and give them gifts on special occasions, because they certainly don't need to.

[deleted account]

We don't live close to our relatives, so they always ask me what to get for my son for every occasion. Since they are not around my son on a regular basis, they realize they don't know what he likes (which changes so often at this age) and what is age appropriate for him. My mom at least, was thrilled I had setup wish lists for him.
I don't think it's a case of anyone thinking I'm being greedy. I put a lot of small gifts on there like coloring books and crayons. Wish lists are a common practice these days - wedding registries, baby showers etc. No one thinks those are greedy. (So not sure why you needed to go there, Sally)
I have received gifts in the past that I've had to put in the closet, I have no problem with that. We can always use them in the future.

What I do have an issue with is toys that were downright dangerous. The toys are clearly marked that they have a chocking hazard, small parts, etc. You don't give those to a two year old. I would rather had them give him a coloring book! It's not about the cost of the item, it's all about being safe and appropriate for him. For instance, the magnets. I have magnetic cabinet locks. One relative bought a puzzle toy with a magnet "fishing pole". This was not on my list at all. Guess what? It opens the magnet lock on my sink cabinet where all my cleaning products are. The magnet part can come off the string and is a chocking hazard for his age. I'm sure my dad would be bummed to know only one out of three toys he sent my son was usable/safe.

Someone also bought my son his first tricycle. We had a trike with a push handle on the list. What we received is the same brand, but a totally different bike, without the push handle. My husband and I have back problems and cannot push my son along until he learns to peddle, so now this trike is useless. Unfortunately, no one thinks to send along the gift receipts so now we can't return it. I'm sure my relatives would be unhappy if they knew their money was going to waste on a gift we couldn't use. We really can't afford to buy another trike for him, so he's going to go without a tricycle until next christmas. I guess we'll have to donate this to goodwill if I can't return it.

Also, one of the toys we received is not working, so again a waste of money that we can't return. I was always told it was the polite thing to do to send along the gift receipt, especially if you're mailing gifts to people.

Sally - posted on 01/01/2011

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Hi Nicole

I can understand why you set up the wish lists as you obviously have very clear ideas about what you want for your child.

However, I can also understand why people choose to not buy from the list as it may appear that you're being a bit greedy or only thinking of the "receiving" part of these occasions.

If a gift is age-inappropriate in that your child is too young to use it, could you put it aside until he is old enough for it? My son received a big remote control jeep from his great-grandmother for his 2nd birthday, it's stored away for when he will be old enough to appreciate it. If the gifts they are giving him are too young for him, then I'm sure you could put them aside to give as gifts to other, younger, children. You could even then buy something different for your son to replace them, but it sounds like he is given gifts from so many people that it wouldn't be the end of the world if you didn't replace them. If you really can't think of any younger children to give them to then maybe they could even go to charity? This would be a valuable teaching moment for your son - teaching him to be grateful for what he gets and that some children don't receive any gifts.

If they buy gifts that are not on the list, or different versions, then is that really such a problem? Some of my son's favourite toys are ones I thought he would have no interest in whatsoever - and he loves them! Goes to show that my judgement or expectations of what he would like aren't always perfect!

In regard to dangerous toys, if they truly are dangerous then I'm sure you could speak with the giver and explain why you are concerned. Most people keep receipts so would probably have no problem returning it (or giving you the receipt so that you could return it) if you made it clear why you think it is unsafe. Same would go with double-ups - I've had to ask friends and relatives for receipts before with double-ups- in these instances I've just joked about how well everyone seems to know my child and the things he'd like as a few people have chosen the same thing. If it's only dangerous because there are small pieces then again, maybe you could put it aside until he's older.

If I were you I would not suggest that they stick to the wish list, I would try to open my mind to the fact that these generous people are putting thought and effort into buying something they *think* your son will love, and possibly give them a list of things you really don't want as gifts (eg I make it very clear to everyone that I do not want my son playing with toy weapons).

If people ask what you think he'd like then by all means, tell them, but maybe you need to change how you think about receiving gifts.

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