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Does anyone else just want to ask everyone they know NOT to buy their children anything for Christmas?

(26 Posts)
Flightattendant4 Wed 29-Oct-08 07:21:21

I'm not being mean, really I'm not - it's not a kind of punishment but they just have SO MUCH STUFF and it is actually quite upsetting to see it all - lots gets forgotten, broken, left lying around etc and they just have too much.

I don't want to make a big deal of it and yes, they will be having a couple of small things from me (and my incorrigible parents, who cannot seem to understand the words 'No, thankyou, please don't buy them any more' angry)

But I am starting to say to friends, 'Actually, perhaps we could not do gifts this year - they already have way too many toys'.

Please tell me I'm doing the right thing. I'm really afraid they'll be spoilt - well, ds1 already is a bit. Everything he wants, Grandma and Grandad just try their hardest to get it for him and he seems to have assumed that's normal. Arggghhhhhh

LadyLaGore Wed 29-Oct-08 07:30:24

think you might be better off 'capping' £-value rather than asking to skip altogether. specially for GP's etc.
getting spoiled a bit now and then as a kid wont harm them too much imo. snot like it'll happen too much when they get older and theyre a long time adult!

throckenholt Wed 29-Oct-08 07:34:02

yep - I heartily agree - especially as my twins have their birthday in mid January (one of the reasons I am reluctant to have a party is I can't face all the extra presents).

I would much rather they give them money they can save up for something big - but somehow people think that is mercenary - whereas wasting money on stuff they don't need or want, and will break or lose within days is fine.

<rant over !>

slackrunner Wed 29-Oct-08 07:34:42

Why not ask the GPs to put money in a Childrens Trust Fund, or to buy them stocks and shares? If you're prepared to sit on the shares for X years (say until the dcs are 21), the shares will be worth a fair bit, especially of bought now at a real market low. I suspect that your dcs will be far more grateful for help with Uni fees, money towards first car etc. than some plastic shoite this year.

Obv you can't ask non-family to do that!

ShePeeTeePee Wed 29-Oct-08 07:35:36

I think I know what you mean. For the last few years there have been obvious presents that sort of relate to the DC's development. A bike, a scooter, some play cooking things, a train set... you get the picture. But this year, it's become more lego, more train track, more plastic tat. I'd really like to ask for money for days out, swimming lessons, toddler gym class etc, and although relatives may be okay with that, the DC will also want something to unwrap on Christmas day. I guess I made this bed.

slackrunner Wed 29-Oct-08 07:35:45

BTW - my grandfather did this for me, I got about £2K when I was 21 for which I was very grateful for (I was in my third year of a four year degree).

Flightattendant4 Wed 29-Oct-08 07:36:35

You're right - I suppose I just hate all the clutter, and it seems quite wasteful - he really takes it all for granted.

I wouldn't stop them giving him anything altogether, but they do it all the time - yesterday we went round all the charity shops trying to find something for him so he would stop complaining that we didn't get him anything in Woolies hmm

Grandma would have caved in but I have had words lately and I think she knew I'd be cross. He ended up being quite happy with a little toy from one of the charity shops, it was 50p.

I can't bear the way he expects a toy every time we go into town especially if my mum's around.

Bubble99 Wed 29-Oct-08 07:40:45

How about asking family and friends to club together to buy an annual family pass to a theme park? We're getting a pass for Chessington from my mum and brother this year.

I totally understand how you feel and, the thing is -if they were only spoilt once a year it would be OK but they seem to get so much stuff throughout the year as it is.

LadyLaGore Wed 29-Oct-08 07:44:39

i do know what you mean, i have the same worry. they seem to expect something every time you even see a shop.
i am telling myself that it may not be so bad to expect that you might get things you want once in a while... rather than growing up to beleive that most stuff is way out of your reach and unlikely ever to be attainable... iyswim [rationalising]

mrsgboring Wed 29-Oct-08 07:45:05

Well we're not quite at that stage yet, (and I can't seem to say no to more Lego blush) but I know what you mean.

What about consumable stuff such as colouring books, felt pens, pencils etc. which could be small things to unwrap? We also always got pyjamas and pants and socks at Xmas time too. There must be books they are due to grow into too.

And if you don't disapprove of sweet treats there is always food, I suppose.

One of our local toddler groups is organising a post-Xmas toy sale, which I think is a brilliant idea, if you can persuade them to sell anything off.

noonki Wed 29-Oct-08 07:47:52

Flightattendant - Do it, we have we all of our good friends. All of the ones with children agreed instantly we a look of relief at the less crap they were getting.

When we were kids I thought xmas was amazing and was astounded at the amount of pressies I got, which was apart from my mum and Dad (who didnt get us that much comparatively to my friends) was a few pressies from relatives.

My kids have a older brother too so they have so many toys they dont know what to do with them.

My sister and I have scrapped presents for each others children and insteed do a day trip somewhere (alton towers etc). Though probably more expensive is a really nice day together and the kidsdon't notice at all.

And it DOES spoil them, my DSS, a lovely boy, turned into a little brat around xmas and christmas when he was around 5. Asking everyone what did you get me, and not playing with half the stuff he got.

Also a complete waste of money /resources and effort for those buying.

Bubble99 Wed 29-Oct-08 07:48:10

I'm doing stockings and one big present (bikes) this year. I also hate the pile of discarded, broken toys straight after Christmas.

My inlaws give Hannukka presents, which is often just before Christmas - so my DCs are given way too much stuff in December. We can't keep both sets of presents to give on one day, either -as the ILs want the DCs to have Hannuka presents as a separate thing and I want the DCs to do whole Christmas tree stockings/presents thing, too.

mrsgboring Wed 29-Oct-08 07:48:14

By the way, I was brought up with lavish amounts of stuff and was regularly bought treats (probably every time I went to the shops, can't remember) for years and years, but my parents still managed to teach me the real value of money as I grew old enough to manage my own pocket money and clothes allowance. I grew up to be a very frugal teenager who saved much of my own University money out of pocket money, so it's not necessarily setting them on a path of consumerism for life.

Fillyjonk Wed 29-Oct-08 08:03:29

We made a decision some years ago to separate Christmas from presents. We do exchange presents at Christmas but they are not the focus of the day and the kids know they will not be getting a huge suprise.

We don't buy them much at all at Christmas. Total spend per child will be about £20 for the older two and £5 for dd2, plus about £20 between all of them on books. They will also have stockings but these are very low value and consumerable-stuff like seeds, tangerines, beads etc.

We DO spend money on making Christmas special, so we buy craft stuff and knitting wool and spend on ice skating and so forth. We buy family stuff in the run up to Christmas, like a nice game.

We do buy the bigger stuff. They really don't have many big toys, but they have good bikes (they do a LOT of cycling, like about 1-2 hours a day), good quality cooking equipment, child sized gardening toys, stuff like that. They get these as and when they are needed.

GPs spoil them a bit, but they open these presents with them, and tbh I think that is between GP and GC. We have also encouraged GPs to keep any big presents at their house, which they seem to like, but which also seems to reduce their tendancy to buy up every huge plastic item on special offer at woolworths. On the whole though I am really glad that I have a family that loves to buy stuff for my kids, it could be quite a lot worse grin

<waves at FA btw>

LadyLaGore Wed 29-Oct-08 08:06:57

"By mrsgboring on Wed 29-Oct-08 07:48:14
By the way, I was brought up with lavish amounts of stuff and was regularly bought treats (probably every time I went to the shops, can't remember) for years and years, but my parents still managed to teach me the real value of money as I grew old enough to manage my own pocket money and clothes allowance. I grew up to be a very frugal teenager who saved much of my own University money out of pocket money, so it's not necessarily setting them on a path of consumerism for life."

goes back to chilling out about it. ta! grin

confusedmamma Wed 29-Oct-08 08:08:22

I completely agree with you. I can't bear the waste of it all. I convinced my child that Santa can only carry 3 toys per child so that's all he's ever expected. He's 7 this year so that ploy's probably reached the end of its shelflife now, but pretty soon he'll stop beleiving in Santa anyway. Hold to your guns, dig in and be absolutely convinced that you are right.Good luck

Fillyjonk Wed 29-Oct-08 08:33:51

also-FA-your ds is about 5 1/2, yes?

I think that that is probably old enough to sit him down and just explain how you feel about it all, and why

there is a good video somewhere, the story of stuff, that I used to help explain about things to my kids. I put it in environmental terms to them. This seems to work.

I do think gps seem very afraid at times of kids being upset or disapointed.

Buda Wed 29-Oct-08 08:41:53

Hi FA!

I agree that you need to get GPs on side and then sit your DS down and explain that he can't get something everytime you go shopping. He is old enough to understand.

My sis buys her DCs toys for any occasion and as a result they are pretty spoilt and totally unappreciative at Xmas.

My Dad likes to treat the grandchildren so he buys them all a comic and a bar of chocolate every Friday. You could suggest that to your parents so they still feel that they are treating your DCs but it is much less than a toy. I know 50p from the charity shop is v cheap but it is still a toy.

Or you could suggest pocket money from you and your parents and then he can see how much stuff costs if he has to buy it himself.

I was fed up with my sister's DCs attitude to presents and seeing them with so much so now I buy them clothes and a book. My other sis buys them PJs and a selection box.

The other issue with DCs having so much is that you really struggle with ideas for what to get them! Having that problem here with DS!

cheekysealion Wed 29-Oct-08 08:44:17

i have no room for anymore stuff, so have asked my dad for tickets to do something, bowling , cinema,etc etc...

ninedragons Wed 29-Oct-08 08:54:07

We have delicately hinted to both sets of GPs that things like season tickets to the zoo or toddler group memberships would be much better than toys. We have a small flat and while I am sure they would like nothing more than to go nuts in Hamleys, we just don't have the space for it.

Fillyjonk Wed 29-Oct-08 08:55:01

Actually my kids are unaware of the value of money. They are still at the age-the oldest is 5- where a cardboard box is as exciting as a scalextrix (possibly more so).

I don't mind my kids not caring about stuff, or not knowing that I have spent a lot on them. What I'd mind is the want-want-want mentality w/o appreciation of the effects of that.

Flightattendant4 Wed 29-Oct-08 08:59:13

Thanks for all the great ideas here, it's really helping me.

Buda - yes, they do give him pocket money as from about 3 weeks ago. It was Dad's idea and in theory is a good one, but they still go and buy him comics and stuff every weekend! Which kind of misses the point...grin
He always wants new transformers, which is Ok for Christmas but I really don't think ds2 needs anything new at all. I have not really needed to get him anything this year - might be like that for a while to come!

<Waves back at Filly> there are some brilliant tactics in your posts. I particularly like the bit about ice skating and making it a special time in other ways - I can relate to that.

I've had a few little talks with ds1 about it and he seems to understand, in a way - but I think he is just focusing on 'stuff' as a substitute for security in other ways - I've been ill all summer and very worried (better now) and he's been feeling quite wobbly I think about all that. Also it's meant I've not had the energy to play so much and he needs things to do, otherwise it all ends up about toys and being bored and needing something new.

I think at this point school is going to help - just in the sense that it provides stuff to think about and do, also other children to muck about with instead of needing so many 'bought' things. Sad but true. One day I hope he will just grow out of it.

shhhh Wed 29-Oct-08 15:25:53

we have the same issues...last year esp with gp's it was shocking...

So last year and its been repeated this year..we asked gp's to get ds & dd ONE gift only and either get them something big iykiwm OR the extra pennies save or pass to us to save and get ds&dd something else later on in the year iykiwm....Spread the gifts out iykiwm....

Friends..hmmm...not sure how to approach them...

Fillyjonk Wed 29-Oct-08 15:43:43

FA re your ds2, both my younger children usually have "recycled" presents at birthdays/xmas. This seems to work up to about 3, IME...

GoodGravytrain Wed 29-Oct-08 18:17:06

Thanks Filly. I am glad you do it as I felt a bit mean for thinking it!! Lol. So I will now tell my mother, 'Well, people on Mumsnet suggested it, they all do it, so it must be Ok' smile

She will tell me I am coldhearted and cruel...wink

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