How many Gifts?

Hope - posted on 12/03/2011 ( 52 moms have responded )

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Every years has Christmas gets closer, my anxiety grows because I know my mother in law is going to over give. Instead of getting 1 or 2 presents for our children she manages to buy more than Santa most years and it is hard.
I feel like my children are being spoiled and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I did politely ask her to only get the children and myself ! or 2 presents this year but every time I see her she mentions it. Just like a double, triple and quadruple check. Now I feel bad.

My question is how many presents should grandparents give?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

I don't really think giving a lot of gifts on one day of the year is going to spoil a child. I also don't think there is a limit on the number of gifts the grandparents should give. It's up to the giver of the gifts. It also sounds like your MIL was offended by your asking. Are you maybe making a big to-do about nothing? I'm just wondering if you are maybe feeling a little slighted because Grandma's gifts are "better" than yours. If so, why not have some of Grandma's gifts labeled as being from Santa?

[deleted account]

The number of presents a grandparent should give varies from grandparent to grandparent. Some can financially indulge, others cannot. But it's not a time to be petty over the number of gifts. After all, half the fun is watching the kids tear them open and be so excited! Here's what I did last year: my son got so many presents combined between Christmas/Chanukkah, that I took a few and stashed them away in my closet. Out of sight, out of mind. 6 weeks later for his birthday, the sam epresents wrapped up. He only recognized one present-an RC truck.

Tam - posted on 12/03/2011

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I think it maybe for of the presentation of the request to stop with the overgiving, rather than the request itself.

For example: "Please stop giving them so muc stuff. You're spoiling them"

Versus: "We appreciate your help with the holidays, but we're trying to throttle back a bit on the amount of toys coming into the house because we're afraid they aren't showing the appropriate level of appreciation."

Tam - posted on 12/04/2011

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Hope,



I have similar experiences with my step-mother, though they don't sound quite as severe. For instance, one time she came to visit (They live 5 hours away, so I can usually plan ahead) and brought some cookies for the kids. She did ask my husband if they could have them, and he replied that since they had eaten all their lunch and behaved all day, that sure, go ahead.



To which she responded, "Good, I would have given it to them anyway but I thought I'd ask."



That is absolutely unacceptable.



She's gotten better, but as I mentioned in an earlier post she called to ask us what to get the kids (and unborn twins) for Christmas. I told her that what we needed lots of those plain onsies since babies go through them so fast, and to please refrain from getting those high dollar, wear-once baby clothes since they would not see the use that plain clothes would see. She replied that she was going to get them some 'froo froo' clothes for when they are six months... and I asked her not to. They won't be used and it is not really worth the expense. I am going to be losing my job in a month and if she wants to spend $20 on clothes, it would be better to get more for the money. (By the way, she and my dad owe me quite a bit of money and it just bugs me when they spend irresponsibly, especially on my family, yet don't even try to return what was lent.) I also mentioned that no, I did not intend on dressing the twins alike. They are people, not status symbols or dolls.



She was a bit taken aback, but she DID ask me what would be best to get for the family, so I told her. Also told her what would and would not see use. I have no time to sugar coat my preferences. Perhaps this makes me rude, but I also think it is rude to do as one wishes in regards to someone else's kids, and doubly so when knowingly doing it against the wishes of the parent.

[deleted account]

My use of 'spoil' was in quotes. No, THINGS don't spoil a kid, but I deal w/ a niece who I can only handle in small doses cuz she IS spoiled and rude and incredibly obnoxious. She lived w/ my dad and stepmom for the first 6 years of her life (she's 7) and yes, they DID spoil her... and not just w/ stuff. It's annoying. Meanwhile my kids are lucky to get anything. It would be NICE if my kids could get a little more (not just stuff, but time and attention) from their grandparents, but I do not want lots of stuff here.... We can't have lots of stuff here. We have very little anyway and have no space.



5 or so small things that my kids would like would be fine, but that's about all they'd enjoy anyway. I don't like 'stuff' just to have 'stuff' and I don't want it in my house... regardless of who buys it.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/11/2014

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Oh good grief. Be thankful that you all have loving parents who want to shower your kids with love and gifts.

And teach your kids that gifts aren't everything, and that grandparent gifts are not an every day deal, and they'll be fine. Mine were! They got 3 (sometimes 4) different santas, several separate birthdays & holidays, their dad & I taught them the value of a dollar, and that material things aren't necessary for happiness, but that they needed to be appreciative and thankful for the gifts that they were given.

And, lo & behold, we did not raise spoilt little monsters! Its all about how you handle the entire situation from the get go.

Chet - posted on 02/07/2014

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Don't feel bad. Be firm. Be sure she knows that you appreciate her, but stand your ground.

My mother in law does this too. It's a major point of contention... because she doesn't listen at all.

She out gives Santa and the Easter Bunny. She will also give money for us to buy things on her behalf (to make sure that the kids get things they will really like or that fit properly), and then after I give the kids the stuff from her she gives them more. She also sends money and presents for minor seasonal celebrations do not require presents (like Valentine's & Halloween).

I've talked to her about this, and then I've gotten angry with her about this. I've explained the problem, and she doesn't stop. I think she spends emotionally. I don't think she can stop.

Anyway, I intercept stuff now. The kids just don't get everything she sends. It's too much. I donate a lot to charity or to the kids' school. I put stuff aside that the kids can bring as gifts when they go to birthday parties. When we lived close and saw them a couple times a week I would just leave the excess at her house for when the kids were visiting.

Sarah - posted on 01/02/2014

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My dad gives no more then $50 worth of toys and my father in law give my daughter a $25 check every Christmas. Its usually me who goes crazy and buys too much. My husband is the calm one. I'm the only who didn't have much as kid so I always want my kid to have everything. I have find this year that I have to dial it back. Shes getting to be very bratty and unmanageable. I know my fault, but you have to lay rules down that's what we do with my family and in laws.

Tricia - posted on 12/06/2011

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My mom has a great idea when it comes to gifting the kids during the holidays and it helps us as well. She buys what ever she wants for them but tells us to make sure that we put down that half came from Santa. Saves us money and she does what she wants to.

Jane - posted on 12/05/2011

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My mother did the same thing and I loved it...it did not spoil my kids (now 21 and 18) and I think grandparents should be allowed to do that. What's wrong with grandparents spoiling their grandchildren, anyway? I can't wait to be a grandma and spoil my grandchildren! I figure I raised two amazing kids and I've earned the right to spoil the grandchildren :)

[deleted account]

Hope, your MIL sounds just like my MIL. She's a mettles into everything. Drives me nuts. Fortunately, I don't get to see her too own since she lives on the other side of the country.



I agree that my opinion has changed too with the additional information. I would be annoyed too.

[deleted account]

Hope, your MiL sounds nuts. I don't know what to tell you.



What kind of relationship does she have with your husband? Is she trying to make up for something by constantly trying to be "the fun one"/"the good guy" with your children?

Amie - posted on 12/04/2011

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Teresa,



My kids have stuff just to have it but also because they enjoy it. They play with it and when they're done with it - it's recycled to another family who may want it but could not otherwise afford it. Whether it's through charity or offering it up to family or friends we know who struggle.



Stuff is our last resort. They get all the time and attention they want from family. My in laws and one brother live a half hour away and see them multiple times a week. My mother currently lives with us. My dad and other brother live 3 hours away and see them at least every 6 weeks. My sister lives an hour and a half away, she makes it about every other month to see them. My SIL it is the same thing.



It's not just our children who benefit from our time and love - there are others. Our family, I know, is lucky to have the time, love and money to give to our children (and others). We still keep our children grounded but we have the means to offer them a lot.



That is why my kids are spoiled but it's why they also fall into the "good" kid category. It also wasn't just your post where I saw biases against spoiling kids.

Amie - posted on 12/04/2011

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I'll just echo Sherri's post. The additional information puts an entirely different spin on the OP. That info would have gotten a different response.

I can (and have) quite firmly put my foot down when family or friends step out of line with my children. They don't have to agree with how I'm raising mine but they have NO right to supersede my parenting, at all.

Hope - posted on 12/04/2011

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Vicki
"My Mum has the theory that she buys each or her grandkids something to wear, something to read and a toy. Works for me :) "

I love it Vicki and I think I might put that toward my MIL.

[deleted account]

Hope, after reading what you just wrote and realising the full story I do think you have a right to be annoyed. Unfortunately you can't control how another adult acts around your family nor can you control how another person spend their money. What you can control to a certain point is how much time you spend with MIL and how you react to her immaturity. I wish you luck.

[deleted account]

Hope, the fact that you still associate w/ that woman proves to me that you have a million times more patience than I will ever possess.

Hope - posted on 12/04/2011

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Unfortunately for us and my mother in law it is all year round. Every time we see her she has a present for our children. She only lives 15 minutes away so we she her all the time. She consistently over rides me in front of my children. Liz I felt like laughing when I saw your comment "I assume she doesn't live with you, share custody, or otherwise have a say in the management of your household -- so you're still in control." because she still has control over the whole family and all the ground rules we set are broken the next time we see her. Over the past 10 years she has ground me down to nothing and it has only been in the last 5 months that I have found my voice and realised I am in control of my family and I don't need to let her take the control all the time. I can not control how she speaks and acts around my children when I am not there but I can control how she spoils them when I am there.
I remember when my first was only 1 yrs old, we had a rule he was not to have any sugar in his diet. NO lollies, cordial, soft drink, juice ect. but my mother in law would sneak him soft drink right under our noses. Remember catching her finding in the fridge door filling his cup with soft drink after we had just explained to her our rule.
Last year we were out to breakfast in a cafe and my then 7 year old always wanted pancakes when we were out but this cafe did not serve them, we had been battling with him about food for awhile and only a week before going to breakfast I had talked to my mother in law about this problem and asked her if she could back us up, she said yes. Anyway because there were no pancakes my son was not cooperating, so order him bacon and eggs because it was the only other thing on the menu he eats. When the food came he refused to eat it saying he didn't like it. I told him he didn't have to eat it but he wasn't getting any other food. My mother in law could see he was not happy and asked him what was wrong, he said he didn't like his food. She called the waiter over to tell them he didn't like his food and that they need to get him something else. It infuriated me because I had only just a week before told her about this problem we were have and in one second she under-minded me a ruined any progress I had made.
I have had to stop telling her what we were going to buy the children for christmas because she will go out the next day and buy it.
She refuses to buy them clothes for christmas because they won't find that fun.
Just 4 months ago she wrote me a text message through all the stuff she had bought and done for the children back in my face because I didn't appreciate her, even though I had thanked her for everything. There is a lot more to that story but I would be here all day trying to explain it.

Maybe some of you think I am over reacting. Thats fine that your opinion. I just need to rest in the fact that I am doing what is right for my family.

[deleted account]

I think it's kind of a grandmother's prerogative to "spoil" a grandchild. But it's up to us to teach our children the right values.



I assume she doesn't live with you, share custody, or otherwise have a say in the management of your household -- so you're still in control.

Jennifer - posted on 12/04/2011

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We do the goodwill and recycling, and must of my kids stuff has come from older kids. "Stuff" definitly does not spoil a kid, as several of the familys that we are friends with have more than they need, and their kids are so sweet. One of their daughters gave her favorite coat to my youngest. Litarally took it off and gave it to Sherry! My sons best friend is just as generous, and is always taking my boy to events and such. One time they were together and found $200. When it was not claimed, the boys were suppose to split the money, but the other boy would not take any of it. I've taught my kids that while we can't give money, time can be the best gift. My husband and son spent yesterday (6 hours, in the rain and cold) fixing a fence for a single lady here in town. Anthony mows yards for money, but also has 3 he mows for the elderly. It is a way of life for us, and it always comes back!

My father also sets a dollar amount for each child, and the 'little' kids do end up with more gifts, but it has been explained to them, and they are fine with it. My oldest only gets cash now. He does still live with us, but doesn't use the pool, and won't use the tent. A few years ago, we told my dad to stop buying gifts for me and my husband, which is why we now get family gifts. My step-sister was furious, she wanted gifts for herself, so they buy her gifts, and her kids get slightly less. Her additude has infected her daughter, but her son is just as sweet as ever. I think as long as kids see the adults giving, and putting importance on that, the getting will not take over their thinking.

Bonnie - posted on 12/04/2011

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If it's just one time out of the year (Christmas) than it shouldn't be an issue. If all year long, they get everything they ask for want, than that is a different story and considered spoiling a child, IMO.

Jenni - posted on 12/04/2011

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My inlaws usually buy them each a modest gift maybe $30-$40, and one smaller one, jammies, maybe some clothes from Old Navy. Then they put $50 for each child away in their savings accounts.



They overspend on my husband and I though, imo. They give us each $250 to buy clothes or whatever we want. As well as buy us one big gift. Last year it was a sweet digital camera. My hubby is a little mad because they use to give the full $500 to him before we started dating. ;) They even gave me that amount the first year we were dating before we even had kids together.



My mom usually spends anywhere from $60-$100 per child.



I think the spending on the children is all very reasonable.

Nikki - posted on 12/04/2011

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My daughter is the only grand child on my side of the family, so she gets disgustingly spoiled by my family on her Birthday and Christmas. It doesn't bother me in the slightest, I personally don't buy her a great deal but I don't have a problem with my mum and dad, sister and brothers buying her lots of presents. They enjoy buying her nice things, it obviously makes them feel good, they never buy anything unsafe so I have no issues.

I was the only grandchild on my mum's side of the family until I was 6 years old, I was so spoilt by my grandparents and my 10 aunties and uncles, I remember the Christmas tree used to have about 50 presents under it just for me! It was wonderful! lol, I am certainly not a spoiled or self entitled person, I am quite the opposite really.

Kimberly - posted on 12/04/2011

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We dont have a gift amount we have a dollar amount. Its up to them what they can or want to spend. Our daughter gets heaps and she is only two so they said they would rather put money into her account then buy her presents and I think that is great. It will be a great gift for when she is older and can have money to go towards a car or house deposit. Any gifts they do give are always within reason and usually checked with us as to if we think its good or not ( which we always do)

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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vicki i saw that on pinterest today. something to wear, something to read, something they want, something they need.

Sally - posted on 12/04/2011

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I am big gift giver. I love giving presents and I love Christmas. I don't care how many gifts the Grandparents give. I don't see how giving Christmas gifts is spoiling? To me spoiling is less about stuff and more about attitude.

Vicki - posted on 12/04/2011

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My Mum has the theory that she buys each or her grandkids something to wear, something to read and a toy. Works for me :)

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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in my family too we aren't big on christmas gifts. anytime we go to mums she has something for us same with grandma when we were kids she had always bought something for us for no reason but sometimes didn't send a gift at birthdays and christmas.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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To be honest I don't really care how many my parents give the kids.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2011

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1 lol I am not a big gift giver to my kids, so they're getting about 4 each and not expensive or big things and some are joint presents. They just get stuff all year round when they need it like new clothes and toys because they are bored or too old for their toys. A lot of their toys have been given to us from kids that are too old for them too so I haven't really had to buy a lot of things.

Amie - posted on 12/03/2011

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So I read the rest of the replies - Does no one else recycle toys? Does no one give to Goodwill (or some other charity) with their kids? Does no one recycle the clothes, toys, etc.?



My children are spoiled with "stuff" but they also are good kids. The "stuff" does not depict what kind of child they are or person they may grow up to be. Our parenting does that. They get a lot because they deserve it, they earn it and we can afford it. The idea that things will spoil a child is rather absurd.

It's not things that make children "bad" kids (nor does it make the good kids, entitled kids, etc.) it does come back to the parenting (or lack thereof) every time.

Amie - posted on 12/03/2011

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Grandparents to ours give whatever they want. The only thing they ask for is the list each of the kids make - after we're done with it. As the parents we always have first dibs. Then they go nuts. Sometimes they go off the list (and that's fine - we do too) but the list helps give them ideas of what to buy for each child, as it does us.

It doesn't bother us how much they spend or what they buy.

Becky - posted on 12/03/2011

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My parents get have an approximate dollar amount they spend on each of their grand-kids. Right now, my niece tends to receive more gifts then the other kids, but she's also 2 years old and the items that she wants are much less expensive then the items my nephews want or my daughter wants. No one ever seems to walk away unhappy or feeling as if things were unfair!

Carolee - posted on 12/03/2011

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Have her sign 2 or 3 of the gifts from herself, and the rest had been dropped off by Santa because he knew they'd see her (works best if you go to her house to open gifts).

Tam - posted on 12/03/2011

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That's a fantastic strategy right there, Sharon. As long as the givers of the gifts are on board with it, I say that's the way to go if there is no middle ground to be had. Too bad my kids birthdays are RIGHT before Christmas. Probably wouldnt work for me.

Jennifer - posted on 12/03/2011

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A few years ago I told my dad to stop buying 20 gifts apeice. If he would tell me what he wanted to spend, I'd give him ideas for one or 2 gifts that they REALLY want, in that price range. He didn't want to, but did. My neices and nephews had the same 15 to 20 gifts, and my kids got 1. He was not too pleased with me. Then the kids opened eveerything. The cousins open everything and threw it away to get the next. My kids opened their one gift and were blown away. My daughter did not put down her guitar all day! My son's 'Air Jordan" tennis shoes literally were worn till they fell off! My little girls STILL have their Barbie house, 3 years later. I was so happy to not have all the junk, my dad and step=mom were thrilled to have made the kids that happy, and my kids actually got something they wouldn't have otherwise. We've never gone back! Now, every other year, instead of individual gifts, we get a 'family' gift. We LOVE our pop-up pool, and the tent he's getting us this year is amazing. Hard to get upset about a lavish gift it helps us be closer!

Tinker1987 - posted on 12/03/2011

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I think grandparents can give as much as they want.if it takes the load off your spending why not? and you cant really complain if its poor taste,my MIL buys the stupidest things but we accept it with grattitude anyway.

[deleted account]

My perspective on this is: if I was buying gifts for someone and had the money and desire to "spend big", and then I was told to cut back I think I'd be a little hurt that my generosity was being thrown back in my face.

Medic - posted on 12/03/2011

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I don't think it matters. My dad and step mom ARE santa for my kids. We get to give them a few things they really want, my parents take over santa duties and then the gifts they need are from grandma and papaw. I do not think kids get spoiled from one day a year, they should be taught to be thankful for everything and that they are very lucky to have so much. Kids getting a lot will not spoil them, it is the attitudes they are allowed to have about it. I do think it is in poor taste to tell others how to give, it comes across as unappreciative. Throwing a fit over it comes off as spoiled about not getting your way. If it's too much stuff then get rid of old stuff, donate, resell. I appreciate that my parents want my kids to have the same christmases and birthdays that we had growing up and I am lucky that they are able to do so. Just accept that it is what it is and teach your kids how to appreciate what they get, and move on. There are more pressing issues when it comes to raising kids than who gives them what amount for christmas.

Mrs. - posted on 12/03/2011

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I think it is actually disrespectful for them to continue to over gift when asked not to. Every family has their own rules and limitations. When a grandparent steps out of that, especially when they've been asked, no matter what it is — it merits a good long talk.

Personally,we save up and can only afford a few items. I've run into the problem with my MIL where my husband will accidentally mention that we are getting our daughter something and she will try to out-gift it by getting that item, but a bigger, more expensive one. I think this is stepping over the line, much like your situation.

Time for a nice long chat about house rules with the grandparents. A kind one in which you explain that there are things you are working on with your children that you don't want undermined.

[deleted account]

My dad and stepmom only give one (sometimes 2 if they go together) gift to each of my kids. Same w/ my mom if she's here... otherwise she mails a check for us.



Sometimes I wish they had grandparents that 'spoiled' them, but we don't have room in our house for much anyway.



If anyone were to try and 'spoil' my kids w/ material possessions on a regular basis (and yes, I consider once a year to be regular)... I would not allow it. My best friend's kids pretty much get anything they want from Grandma and I don't agree w/ it. Not my family, not my business, but when it IS my family... it very much IS my business.

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2011

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She didn't say you had no right, not sure where you got that from.......

Hope - posted on 12/03/2011

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Sherri I would say it was poor taste if I was tell her to buy more presents but can not see the poor taste in limiting the present giving

Hope - posted on 12/03/2011

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Sherri So you are saying that I as a parent do not have the right to stop someone from spoiling my child.

Tam - posted on 12/03/2011

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My dad and step-mother like to get the kids stuff. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff...and like all of us know, its fantastic to have stuff, especially on Christmas day. It's exciting and the kids love seeing all the shiny wrapping and new stuff under the tree.

We also probably know that eventually, all that 'stuff' that was so awesome ends up blending in with all the other 'stuff' that was given by well-meaning relatives, played with for a few hours when they got them. A few days at most.

I'm not disparaging the giving. In fact, in lean years it helps a bit. However, I, as a parent, do NOT need all the pileup that is inevitable to happen.

I'd say you're lucky to have parents/inlaws that like to spend on your kids, but I totally understand the exasperation you are feeling. My tactic is to direct their efforts, rather than try to stifle them. For example, this year they asked what my husband and I wanted for the holidays and the answer was 'Diapers! Clothes for the kids/twins we are expecting!" What we were informed that we were getting were two cribs and lots of onsies and diapers. As for the kids, I told them that they didn't need much, but small and inexpensive gifts were fine. Also told them what sorts of characters we don't really like in the house (I detest Spongebob and Barney).

My reasoning when I speak with the grandparents on this is usually something along the lines of, "We really appreciate what you do for the kids. But we also want to emphasize the giving part of the holidays more than the receiving, and that sometimes the things you need are better to get than the things you want, like nice new clothes rather than the newest piece of molded plastic with buttons."

Hope that helps.

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2011

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I think it is their choice. If I knew they were going to give loads of stuff, I'd cut back on what I buy for them. But I wouldn't try to dictate how much they are allowed to buy for them. Getting lots of gifts at Christmas isn't going to spoil a child - a combination of things spoil a child, and as long as they appreciate what they are being given, they won't become spoiled.

Maybe you could involve them in cleaning out their old toys before Christmas each year to give some to charity, and also involve them in buying a gift each for a Giving Tree or something, just to give them greater appreciation for the fact that some children do go without unless we help them, and how lucky we are.

Amanda - posted on 12/03/2011

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I think thats up to the grandparents. I always tell my family and my in laws that the kids don't need lots of gifts at xmas and birthdays, but they always go nuts.
When they ask I always tell them clothes go down well, luckily my mum listens. Because she's in the UK and I'm in Australia I always ask for winter clothes, and between mum, my step dad, sisters and step brother they end up buying them a whole winters wardrobe between them. I try and be smart about it and my kids are only 2 and 3 so they really don't care too much at the moment.

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