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PILs and potential present overload

(26 Posts)
MissMeany Sat 22-Sep-12 20:54:18

I have namechanged just in case.

I have PILs who are lovely. But they are somehow trying... particularly when it comes to material things. They are very insistent about asking what we'd like for presents, then if what we've requested doesn't conform to something that is 'keepsakey' they get something else.

They wanted to buy DS1 his first shoes, first winter coat etc. Good grief... I am so lucky compared to so many other MNers, but it's just very in your face sometimes. MIL is a massive hoarder and memory preserver and I think expects us to be too with respect to the things they've bought (you know, rather than selling them at a Nearly New Sale or something). I will keep some things, obviously - just not everything.

So... I am already slightly dreading Christmas and would like to ask DGPs on both sides to limit presents to one big and one little. More so now we have DD (1yr) as well - I'm almost tempted to say get her nothing 'big' since she can have all her brother's things (such as ride ons... which he never really got on with but that she seems to like) and we are running out of space (!). I know though that PILs will want to get them both no end of little gifts besides the main one, that will just clutter and probably not be played with often. How do I go about asking them to hold it in without sounding an ungrateful cow (which, arguably, I am)? My folks I can be frank with and they won't be offended at all.

It can be special for the parents to do things like get the stocking presents; I think PILs still want that pleasure and forget that every time they do things like that, although it's very generous, that pleasure is taken away from DH and I. Arrrgh! I'm so horrible.

iloveholidays Sat 22-Sep-12 21:04:37

Ah you poor thing. My DSIL had this with her in-laws and I think she used to suggest practical items like coats, dressing gowns etc which were more expensive to buy but not useful.

Other option is to suggest asking for money. Emphasise how lovely it would be to be able to help them out when they turn 18 for example and that you'd love to be able to explain that people were generous over the years to help them with it.

This sounds obvious but you either need to be really abrupt or just give lots of suggestions of stuff which would be useful.

cocolepew Sat 22-Sep-12 21:14:10

Get your DH to tell them.

MissMeany Sat 22-Sep-12 21:32:47

Actually I feel a bit crap with guilt about this. I will bring them in as much as possible - it does give them so much pleasure and I don't want them to be denied really. I've thought of a few ways for us all to be happy, and if I explain my logic behind the 'not too many things please'/empathise as far as possible that's the best I can do.

If they do decide to ignore me and give the children a little something that's not going to be played with much, then I shall just give it to charity at the end of its life, so someone can benefit.

ilove - they do give the children money too; just MIL doesn't feel like it's been Christmas unless she's given a lot of stocking filler type things. Thanks though for your empathy!

coco - succinct but true.

jkklpu Sat 22-Sep-12 21:35:10

How about some toys to have at their house for when you visit them? That way, they can hold on to it all and your house doesn't get cluttered with stuff that won't be much used.

MissMeany Sat 22-Sep-12 22:14:37

Nice try jkklpu, but we have all DH/DSILs old toys at theirs and now DNs' too, so that isn't really an option.

pistachio Sat 22-Sep-12 22:38:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotALondoner Sat 22-Sep-12 22:45:26

What about gifts such as tickets for things, a good day out but nothing to store? Good memories.

starfishmummy Sat 22-Sep-12 22:52:54

My MIL turns up with the contents of a small toyshop for Ds at every birthday and xmas (not to mention all thenrandom gifts). I wish I could say its got better over the years but he's now 14.........

One year when i today her what he wanted (she had asked) she said that she couldn't just get one present!

adoremyfamily Sat 22-Sep-12 22:54:17

I understand your feelings, I have the same problem but in reverse IYSWIM my dd and dgs live with us and I always worry about stepping on her toes.

AWomanCalledHorse Sat 22-Sep-12 22:59:13

Our DS is the PIL first grandchild & I know they're itching to buy him loads, so I've set up an Amazon wishlist of everything we think he'd like at some point in the next year (we've got smaller stocking things up to £200 bits we'll be buying him), would that work for them?
If you tell them not to deviate from the list at all because of all the risks & recalls on kids toys there have been this past year, you're worried about choking hazards etc? Any little white lie like that?

Advantage being on Amazon you can set up a wishlist across every website in the universe & rank presents in priority <I do not work for Amazon>

fuzzpig Sun 23-Sep-12 08:22:52

I can see why that's so annoying although a part of me is a bit jealous (my parents aren't exactly thoughtful when it comes to Xmas - they get us to choose/order/wrap... Also last year mum turned up with the contents of her work's lost property box as an extra present confused)

I agree with the ticket idea - as your mil is so keen on keepsakes and memories you could stress the idea that your DCs will remember and appreciate a wonderful trip somewhere (pantomime etc?) long after they forget what toys they got. Or maybe they could pay for a sports club or something?

LucyBorgia Sun 23-Sep-12 08:33:16

The panto/special show is a great idea my friend does it her house. It can become a tradition and they could even be the ones to take the kids and make it a really special day for them all? Btw you are lucky you know

Mibby Sun 23-Sep-12 08:38:27

You have my sympathy too. My PiLs are fab but buy too many toys. Its DDs birthday in November so they bought her a bike last week 'just because we saw it ' A lovely bike but would have been so much better if theyd hung on to it for a few weeks. And now theyll get another big present for her birthday too

cupcake78 Sun 23-Sep-12 08:43:00

Have a similar issue, it drives me crackers. We've got a better hold on it at the moment by directing them towards coats, shoes, good clothes and asking for monetary contributions towards bigger gifts, ie a playhouse, or more expensive stuff like Lego and playmobile.

It's taken many hints and a lot of 'where am I going to put it all' conversations. Why not say some of the stocking fillers can be from Santa or just re gift. I've returned things in the past that either have been inappropriate or not fit him.

If there insistent ask for help with storage solutions for bedrooms!

MyDingaling Sun 23-Sep-12 08:52:52

My DM did this and it got ridiculous. I didn't want to appear ungrateful but a lot of the things didn't get looked at after opening them. In the end I told her that I didn't want her to waste her money on things my DD's didn't play with.

She now buys them one toy each, an outfit (including tights, bobbles, cardigans etc to match, and then she gets them useful things like detangle spray, bubble bath, socks, knickers. This works out really well and DM is still very happy.

DFIL always buys us an annual family pass to a local attraction. He usually buys DD's a selection box so that they have something to open from him on Christmas day.

WantAnOrange Sun 23-Sep-12 10:37:57

I could have written that OP! It's very hard to say anything when it comes from a place a generosity and kindness. I know my PILs just want DS to have the world! But you hit the the nail on the head when you said that it takes away from what the parents get to do. He's my baby! I'd like to do the stocking. They had their chance, and raised their babies (and did a great job!) but now it's my turn to raise my babies.

This will be the first year I'm doing christmas all day at home. I'm hoping that will change things a little. It won't lessen how much they buy, that's for sure! But the stocking will be the one I made, hung on my fireplace!

I will have a newborn baby this year and I'm hoping MIL doesn't use it as a reason to try and do everything for me. I find they assume I need a lot of help and advice, and it's a bit insulting, if unintentional, (am a registered childminder, babies are one thing I can handle!) that they think DH and I are that incapble and poor. We are quite able to provide everything our DC's need. All they need from their GP is their time and love, and they have that in abundance. They don't need loads of stuff too!

procrastinor Sun 23-Sep-12 11:25:04

Oh I know it's really trying. There's that thing for presents isn't there
Something they need
Something to read
Something they want
Something to wear.

Ask them to get one from each. Say that you want your dc to appreciate his gifts from his GPs and that this way he can look after and treasure each item because he knows it's special, rather than one of many.

Some0ne Sun 23-Sep-12 11:41:20

Thankfully my PILs have 14 grandchildren now and have stopped buying for them! But my parents only have 2, and every year, despite my requests not to, they've bought more stuff than we have. Thankfully the kids are too small to notice it yet but I'm going to have to put a stop to it before next year; I don't think it's fair for grandparents to knowingly outdo Santa!

Before DD's first Christmas I had to explain to them that no, presents in their house aren't from Santa, Santa only comes to our house.

I love that they're so interested and involved but they can't grasp the fact that some things are for us to do, not them; they've already had their go.

i must try and remember all this stuff when I'm a grandparent. I'd say it'll be hard!

WantAnOrange Sun 23-Sep-12 11:57:45

Agree having a big family helps. The first year I was with DH I remember being asked "have you got auntie so and so and birthday present?" WTF? I have never in my life, bought birthday presents for relatives, other than my parents, who are in their forties! In my family, birthday presents are for children. We'd all need to win the lottery if we were expected to buy gifts for everyone and each occasion. Once you're 18 in my family, you're outta here....

I got asked last year what I wanted for christmas. I'm 24! It's ok, I'm in on the whole Santa thing wink.

Then of course I feel AWFUL for feeling that way because at the same time I'm touched that they still think of me and want to buy me gifts, and I would love to be able to afford to buy all my relatives something for christmas, it's just such a stark contrast to my own family, where christmas is for kids, and even then, you are one child among a hundred cousins. TBH, I think I had much more gratitude as a child than DS does. I feel sad that he's a bit spoiled, and it's not even me that spoiled him!

Sorry for hijack blush, prehaps I ought to bring this up with therapist next week blush.

RandallPinkFloyd Sun 23-Sep-12 12:13:00

I'm in exactly the same boat and now that h and I are separated he's on their side too.

Tbh it just makes me angry. It's wasteful and thoughtless. It's buying affection.

I know that makes me sound heartless but they still do it with h and he's 42!

There's just hardly any thought going into it, they see something, they buy it. I don't want him surrounded by hundreds of toys. I want him to have toys he loves.

Every time he goes there he comes back with things. Generally clothes. So far this month they've bought him 3 winter coats. Why? It's so bloody wasteful.

Thankfully they keep most of the thousands of toys they buy at their house. Although sadly that's more because they want their house to be the best than being considerate about how small my house is.

I understand exactly how you feel because I now feel like i'm competing with them. That there's no point in my buying anything because they'll have bought so much my presents will seem insignificant.

I know it sounds childish but i'm his mum. I really value the thought that goes into presents and want ds to do the same. It's a really important value to me.

This year is his second Xmas. Last year was shit because h and I had separated 2 weeks before. Thankfully ds was too young to notice but the amount of things they bought was seriously obscene. They kept most of it there but he still came home with a giant sack-full.

I spent a lot of time deciding what to buy because I wanted to get something he'd really love. I want him to grow up genuinely appreciating what he has. Sadly I can see their materialistic-ness overruling that.

What makes it worse is that there's no way to say this to anyone because it always eventually descends into "you're lucky he has grandparents, you should appreciate them and stop being such a cow".

It understand op. Yanbu at all. It's a horrible feeling and not one you can understand from the outside. I wish I could give you a solution but if you do find one can you share it with me!

RandallPinkFloyd Sun 23-Sep-12 12:15:55

Crikey, this had turned into a bit if a mutual therapy session.

Maybe we should keep it as a support thread!

ByTheWay1 Sun 23-Sep-12 13:01:13

We have similar, but just said they need new bedding etc- something with moshi monsters etc - so every year this is "their" thing - only they buy the new bed set/duvet stuff - matching bin/lampshade - whatever -kids room gets a mini-makeover without us having to spend anything.... they also buy a toy and some clothes/PJs/dressing gowns .....

MissMeany Sun 23-Sep-12 19:52:55

Thanks everyone for not laying into me and being understanding! I am going to name change back after this post for the last time, so don't think I'm being aloof if you post subsequently to no response...

procrastinator - that's a good little rhyme! I like it and will probably suggest along those lines. We've (DH and I) have had a few ideas for things that will work and be something they are likely to be happy getting.

ByTheWay - also good, but we aren't quite into themes yet. Will hold in reserve! They are always wanting to buy dressing gowns so I might suggest that as something although I've always seen them as a bit pointless.

hophophippidtyhop Mon 24-Sep-12 11:04:02

awomancalledhorse - be wary of putting too much on your list - I put several things so that the various people looking could have a choice. Mil then went and bought about 2/3's of it, leaving not a lot for anyone else in the way of main presents.

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