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Is this being ungrateful or do I have a point?

(35 Posts)
1978andallthat Thu 27-Dec-12 22:23:03

Not putting in aibu as don't like the flaming there. But would love some gentle opinions.

My parents go over the top. Not just at Christmas, all the time. They are very. very generous and we appreciate it - but there is never anything they don't buy. Dd's bday just been and Christmas and they got her so much I feel it diminishes what we get her but also spoils her. Given they are also always saying how much stuff we have for the small size of our house it also doesn't help with that.

But it's not just big stuff. For example, I got dd one of those magic flannels that expand in the bath. Cheap as chips and a great stocking filler. Except they got her two for her stocking. Sure, nothing wrong with having three flannels but I wanted to be able to get her something fun she'd think of as from mummy and daddy.

Or on Christmas morning it was as if our pile of presents all of which I'd thought about lots and which wasn't a small pile but also hadn't cost too much, was just eclipsed by sheer volume when we got to their house. This is all after a conversation about please not getting her too much or things that take too much room.

I know this all sounds ungrateful. It's not meant to. But I want, as dd's mummy, to be able to get her things sometimes that are not then repeated by my parents. Eg we went to the Olympics this summer and I spent ages in the shop looking for an affordable and long term souvenir for her and found a great £10 bus and taxi in a tin with Olympic logo set. Got home and my mum, who had been on another day, had got her the same tin and an Olympic jacket and another Olympic souvenir for Christmas. Well now it's as if the special Olympic souvenir from mummy and daddy is meaningless.

Am I being awful and ungrateful? Would it be reasonable to bring this up with my parents? I think it would upset them but dd is only 2 and I don't want this to carry on for years and years.

TeamSledward Thu 27-Dec-12 22:34:01

You are not being ungrateful, or you wouldn't be feeling this way!
We have had a very similar issue with our 2 DSs and both sets of grandparents. Our DC are 7 and 4 now, and the novelty of grandchildren is beginning to wear off! We found that suggesting gifts based on the DCs current likes helped, and one year we asked for a family pass to a local park/English Heritage membership/National Trust passes/cinema tickets/Day out at Legoland etc so we could have family days out or the GPs could take the DCs out for the day - perfect when you have no room for MORE toys!

EverybodysSnowyEyed Thu 27-Dec-12 22:34:51

is she the first grandchild?

my oldest is 5 and after opening all his presents struggles to remember who gave him what.

my friend has overgenerous grandparents and it saves her a fortune! It doesn't diminish anything you give though. My friend tends to take her kids out to a special how or something - they always remember the fun experiences!!

In your example, if your dd were older and went to the olympics with you, the souvenirs will stir those memories, not just a pleasure in having the object

Nodecentnickname Thu 27-Dec-12 22:37:02

I don't think you are being ungrateful. I think you need to talk directly to your parents and be honest how they are making you feel.

PoppyWearer Thu 27-Dec-12 22:37:47

My PILs are like this. We now ask for one toy, value around £10, then money towards days out/Merlin passes, which give us endless pleasure.

Nip it in the bud.

IloveChristmasandsodoesmydog Thu 27-Dec-12 22:38:42

Could you suggest that perhaps they keep all their presents at their house for when she visits? and see how they like all the clutter

dizzydixies Thu 27-Dec-12 22:47:29

My PIL visit once a year and when they ARE here they spend their entire time in the fecking town buying presents for the other grandkids before grabbing something from Tesco for my lot (who they see only once a year, did I mention that??)

How about you have a chat about how overwhelming it is? If this doesn't work the time to spin it to your advantage. Insist the stuff stays at theirs. Stop trying to buy stuff and save for her for when she DOES need stuff later in life. You are her MUM and always will be adored as such. She is her granny and should be spoiling her as such.

Tough call but not really worth wasting precious time worrying about.

1978andallthat Thu 27-Dec-12 23:04:46

Yes first grandchild though there has been another subsequently (and I am
overdue with no 2 so a bit hormonal and emotional at the moment).

EverybodysSnowyEyed Thu 27-Dec-12 23:07:03

my parents calmed down once the 2nd/3rd and 4th arrived so it may not be a problem

2anddone Fri 28-Dec-12 08:17:32

I used to have the same year I asked my parents to buy my dc a bike and safety helmet each. I asked them to please not buy anything else as they were expensive. When I went round to collect the gifts on Christmas eve as they were away not only did they have a bike each but a huge gift bag full of presents each too!! I remember crying the whole way home as I don't want my children to be spoilt!! When I asked dm why she replied look at how mmuch you had bought!! Once I explained my dc get 1 present from us, 1 from dog, 1 from each other, 1 from Santa and a stocking I think she realised she had gone Ott. This year they got 5 presents from her, expensive ones but far less to previous years!! You are not being ungreatful at all.

exoticfruits Fri 28-Dec-12 08:30:08

I don't think that you are ungrateful- I would be upset if people spoilt my DCs like that. I would sit them down when you are all calm and explain. Suggest that you start a savings scheme and that they put money in there and just buy one present for birthdays and Christmas. Explain that you want your DC to be keen to spend time with grandparents and not keen to see them to see what they have brought!

FivesGoldNorks Fri 28-Dec-12 08:37:21

Yanbu op. My parents used to buy the dc a present every week. When I eventually voiced my concerns they replaced it with pocket moneey instead which was great, but then the presents started creeping in again, as well as the money. My dc are spoilt and we have no room for all the stuff. We had a lovely Christmas with them and this will sound really ungrateful but I almost cried when we emptied the car at this end of all the stuff they'd bought.

havingastress Fri 28-Dec-12 08:43:07

YANBU. My inlaws are exactly like this.

What's wrong with people remembering it's quality not quantity?! if you're guilty of doing this yourself please take heed!!!

Whistlingwaves Fri 28-Dec-12 08:45:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chottie Fri 28-Dec-12 08:47:37

I love the idea of family Nat Trust or English Heritage passes.

Mockingcurl Fri 28-Dec-12 09:09:49

My DC have 3 sets of grandparents due to divorce and re marriage. When it came to birthdays and Xmas they all used to compete with each other over the size, value and quantity of presents. It got to be a real problem. We talked to them about it and agreed that they would each buy one present of £20, they would then put whatever they liked into a savings account for each of my boys.
My boys are all now if university age and have a decent lump sum to help with fees etc. it was the best thing we ever did and made the GPs feel like they were being very helpful.

ggirl Fri 28-Dec-12 09:26:07

yy ask them to save for her
my dd got a lump sum on her 18th which she used to go travelling with...very much appreciated!

spababe Fri 28-Dec-12 09:46:40

Sounds like the presents may be linked to love ie your parents are trying to show your DC how much they love her. If you ask them to stop then it might feel to them even subconsciously that they must not show the love. my solution would be to make it NON PERSONAL by saying the house is small and I'm trying to manage the clutter etc so it would really help if present wise you could buy National Trust or premium bonds etc (whatever you think) or clothes maybe? and perhaps something to mark the milestones eg first pair of school shoes when she starts school.
Maybe next Christmas they could take DD on an outing eg to see santa (she can go twice) and a Christmas tea out as part of her present?

DontmindifIdo Fri 28-Dec-12 09:53:05

Watching for ideas- my parents have gone totally OTT compared to PILs, they don't see DS that often (they don't live close and spend months at a time at their holiday home) but they have never come here empty handed. From October onwards I asked them not to bring gifts for DS to try to keep christmas special, so they bought books on their next 3 visits as they aren't toys...

The sheer volume of stuff they gave was silly and totally eclipsed what DH and I and PIL bought. It looks like they are trying to 'buy' DS's affections.

I've tried saying something yesterday, saying how I was going to have to throw out some toys as we didn't have space for everything. They told me to "oh, just put some away and bring out thorugh the year" when I said I had nowhere to put htem away too, they said that I just need to sort out my storage.

Any ideas how to tackle? (They already give me money to put in his savings account)

SHoHoHodan Fri 28-Dec-12 09:58:55

We had to have this conversation with PIL. Trouble is, ds2 is their only grandchild and always will be so it's hard. MIL was trying to get ds2 some stickers three days before Xmas- not much I know but it's like she can't help herself.

However DH was quite firm with them (as am I, actually) and they now contribute to savings account or add to Premium Bonds for him, which is great (although he's going to be a very well off young man at this rate grin ).

EverybodySnowyEyed is right though- kids remember the fun experiences, not the fifteenth present in the pile of thirty. (From all the presents that ds1 got when he was younger, he remembers one- a cheap radio/cassette player I got him. That was his 'best Christmas present ever'). Do the days out with dd- that's what she'll remember most.

JessBrodysTits Fri 28-Dec-12 12:21:12

Gosh you lucky buggers.

I would love some help towards kitting out three children with all they desire/need/want.


bamboostalks Fri 28-Dec-12 12:27:06

Do you remember what your parents bought for you? Probably not, so do not worry about it at all. They will remember time spent playing games together. Etc use it to your advantage.

dizzydixies Fri 28-Dec-12 19:03:33

JessBrodysTits - I agree grin My lot are absent AND hopeless. My Dad just doesn't 'do' presents and the inlaws turn up, buy a token set of pyjamas and disappear for another 12 months <sigh> The DCs will soon learn.

DontmindifIdo Fri 28-Dec-12 19:19:06

Jess - the issue I have is my parents have basically bought an entire wardrobe of aged 3-4 stuff for DS already because I said he had enough 2-3 stuff to keep him going, he's just turned 3 and hasn't grown out of his 2-3 things. (Which includes some t-shirts and shorts we just never got round to putting him in, because they went crazy over the summer and turned up with tonnes of stuff). They are most put out that I've told them to stop buying clothes, they said I should 'find room' - well buy me a bigger house and I'll have more room.

It's getting to the stage I'd have to throw out clothes that he still fits into and are perfectly fine just to make space for the new ones. It's obsence, and annoying that we and MIL don't get to get him anything. I have to dress him in their choices of clothes.

Well, except I don't, I've now stopped caring if it's ungrateful - when it comes to clothes, I return everything I can and buy my choices.

Toys, however, are a different matter, I can't seem to get them to show any restraint.

1978andallthat Fri 28-Dec-12 19:27:22


Yes that's why I worry about appearing ungrateful. I know we are very lucky.


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