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Over the top Grandparent

(42 Posts)
UnpreparedMum Fri 18-Dec-15 13:39:02

My Mum has spent a fortune on my children for Christmas and as she starts Xmas shopping in July has 'taken' a lot of the stuff I know my dd (3) will like best. She has always tried to buy my affections throughout my life and I see her doing the same with dd (not so much ds). I feel like she's going to take the shine off Father Christmas and the whole magic of it by wading in an hour or two later with another massive, expensive batch of presents from Nanny.
She is always hammering home the toys / clothes bought by her so much so that whenever dd refers to particular items that my mum has bought she refers to them as 'my xxxxx that nanny bought me'.
I want my children to have an amazing Christmas and I know they will but it's not just about the most expensive present and who bought it, but the magic of the build up and day surely?!?
She's not offered them to come from Santa so clearly wants the glory as much as she wants to give the gift.
AIBU to be a bit peeved at this?!?

G1veMeStrength Fri 18-Dec-15 13:43:52

Don't be peeved. Just accept the stuff. Christmas is not all about presents anyway.

Your DC will get older and older and more and more expensive, and having a generous grandparent will be a great help.

Says the parent of DC with all the latest gadgets, super duper football boots, etc etc. All thanks to kind MIL.

I focus on the wierd and wonderful things that I notice that DC will love, like making them a specific personalised thing, or wrapping a bag of pork scratchings or whatever. MIL is happy, DC are happy, I'm happy.

InternationalHouseofToast Fri 18-Dec-15 13:44:29

I would be more peeved at the line she's setting up between your DD and DS but yes, feel free to be annoyed at this. Can you only see her on Boxing day so you get to have presents from Santa on Christmas Day and from grandma the next day?

theycallmemellojello Fri 18-Dec-15 13:47:54

Sorry, I think YABU. You're right about this though: "it's not just about the most expensive present and who bought it." So I think that getting jealous that your mum has 'taken' presents that you would have liked to get, and being annoyed that your DD remembers that her Nanny bought her a particular thing is a bit petty I'm afraid, and makes it seem like you are the one who is worrying about who is buying what. I think that if there is something in particular you are planning to buy, you can obviously tell you mum not to get it. And maybe you can ask her to keep to a certain budget (you can't force her though). But beyond that I'd just be glad that she is so keen to engage with your kids, and try not to make it a present competition between you/santa and your mum.

theycallmemellojello Fri 18-Dec-15 13:48:55

Oh and yes, I agree with international, definitely ask her to treat DD and DS the same! that does indeed sound like the most worrying aspect of this.

ColdWhiteWinePlease Fri 18-Dec-15 13:52:04

I can see your frustration. I know a Nanna like this - she waded in with 2 full bin bags of presents at my neice's birthday. It's just too much and over shadows what everyone else buys.

Could you say that they have enough toys, and it would be much better if she could open an account for them and put money in to it? Or if they already have an account, could she buy one small thing and give them a cheque.

UnpreparedMum Fri 18-Dec-15 14:26:58

Crikey I'm not 'jealous' - how could I be when none of the presents I've bought are from me, they're from Santa? That's my point. I don't want glory or competition, I want them to have a magical day based on the fairytale we all work so hard to provide. If she was interested in purely giving them the world then why not offer them from Santa?
The off balance between ds/dd is purely because ds is so small (1) he doesn't yet care for 'stuff' or who bought it for him.

theycallmemellojello Fri 18-Dec-15 14:32:17

I'm not saying she doesn't care who gives them. She clearly likes giving them herself! But it sounds like you also care who gives them - ie you think it should be Santa and not her.

G1veMeStrength Fri 18-Dec-15 14:34:24

Ahh.... just wriggle round how the presents work. They don't ALL have to be from Santa.

We've always managed to have a Magical Day, with a stocking from Father Christmas filled with little bits and bobs and one present they've asked him for. Then under the tree presents from Mummy, Daddy, friends, relatives etc. And when we visit people or they visit us we exchange gifts.

It is honestly just as lovely as thinking they are all from Santa. Until the pain of Writing Thank you Letters a few days later of course.

ollieplimsoles Fri 18-Dec-15 14:41:10

I don't like people who show affection through buying things..

My mil hasn't bothered with dd since she has been born but she buys all this crap for her and ' worlds best grandma' things but can't be bothered to come see her..

What is she like with them when she's not buying stuff?

UnpreparedMum Fri 18-Dec-15 14:41:50

You're totally right - I do think it should be Santa when it's so much. Why detract from something so wonderful? It's the first year she has fully understood.
(Birthdays - different kettle of fish entirely BTW, wouldn't be bothered in the slightest at expense/volume of gifts, welcome it)

UnpreparedMum Fri 18-Dec-15 14:45:57

I know it sounds ungrateful to people whose families don't bother with their kids, that's not my intention. She's great with them ollie - that's why I wouldn't dream of actually saying anything to her, just interested in other opinions.

Bupcake Fri 18-Dec-15 14:52:57

My MIL is like this - had to buy everyone the biggest pile of presents, and refuses to give vouchers or cash - it has to be plastic tat. She must spend £1000s each year. Problem is, it's more about quantity than quality - she'll buy the DCs a load of stuff that breaks really easily or just doesn't work. I also don't want them thinking that Christmas is all about presents, but it's hard when you're trying to explain that a £5 in an envelope from Great Aunt shows that she really cares, but at the same time they just want to chuck it into the pile and get to Gran's house for the heap of stuff. It's not even magical, really: there's so much that they're a bit overwhelmed. My DCs are quite good about not wanting loads of stuff, but we have to work at it and MIL makes it a lot harder than it needs to be, just because she wants to be seen to buy stuff.

I don't want to be ungrateful, but it's so much about MIL wanting to be the favourite Gran that I can't be as pleased about it as I'd like.

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. Not sure what you can do, other than encourage your mum to spend time with your DD and then showing her that that's what DD really appreciate.

Tinofsardines Fri 18-Dec-15 15:01:36

I don't think you are unreasonable at all!! My mum is the same- always overdoing it with gifts, and it's mostly plastic crap that won't last 5 minutes.

When we were growing up we got Santa presents then just the one gift of relatives and grandparents and tbh, as ungrateful as it sounds I think that's the way it should be.

We're not materialistic in the slightest and the fact father Christmas is bringing 8or so presents plus a stocking and grandma is effectively out doing him, gives me the rage!!!

It's not jealousy

Tinofsardines Fri 18-Dec-15 15:03:19

Posted too soon hmm

....its more the fact all the shite she buys is so overwhelming for my kids that it takes the fun out of the day and I want to tell her to back the fuck off!!

hedgehogsdontbite Fri 18-Dec-15 15:42:46


<wonders if OP is my sister>

UnpreparedMum Fri 18-Dec-15 18:39:14

Totally agree bupcake love the point about the fiver in a card still meaning something. And the favourite grandparent title is very much a bone of contention with her too confused.
tinof - totally the same when I was small - loads of gifts from Santa then one from other relatives?!? When did it become OK to try to trump poor Santa ?!?
Haha hedgehogs are you a 31 year old bearded man? If so then YES I'm your sister grin
It's a toughie & I've been feeling guilty this afternoon for even starting this thread but essentially I feel better after a whinge & some empathy. X

arethereanyleftatall Fri 18-Dec-15 18:41:01

My mother does this for my dc.
It has, not once, crossed my mind to be upset about it. Never given it a second thought.

abbsismyhero Fri 18-Dec-15 20:22:54

it irritates me that ex mil did this during my marriage it infuriates me that she has continued it after we have split to the degree that ds 1 & 2 have three main gifts one (or two) from them one from dad and one from me then they buy more more more and they tried last year to put it all in my house i said no they can bring a little bit home the rest stays with you in YOUR house im hoping that encourages them to buy less this year if not i will simply do the same hand the shit back and repeat till they get it my house is not a fucking toy shop!

it wouldn't be so bad but i have gifts here that have never been played with and i might have to give to charity because it's not being used it's too big for a start i am not the beckhams i do not have a big home i actually have not bought a lot for ds1 this year ive spent money on him but they are small gifts that he will enjoy not big and flashy you can show off on facebook

DisappointedOne Fri 18-Dec-15 20:32:56

Why detract from something so wonderful? It's the first year she has fully understood.


Bupcake Fri 18-Dec-15 20:55:35

arethere, the problem I have with it is that the DCs get totally overwhelmed. They enjoy opening a few presents, but when they go to MIL's they're handed a load of stuff and encouraged to rip it open. There's so much that they get really hyped up (with MIL egging them on). They don't even look at half of it, and then they get so excited that it all ends in tears.

In fact, she hypes them up so much in advance that the day is bound to be a let-down. I feel like I have to spend the whole build-up trying to calm them down, rather than being able to enjoy little things.

arethereanyleftatall Fri 18-Dec-15 20:58:45

Fair enough bupcake. I guess my dc do too a little bit. BUT, this makes my mum happy. She lives for Christmas. I think my dc getting a little bored of unwrapping presents for one day, is worth it fir the months of happiness my mum has planning.

Susiesue61 Fri 18-Dec-15 21:30:12

My Mum brings my 3 a load of stuff, 1 big thing I've suggested and the loads of tat! They absolutely love it, and it shows so much more time invested than MIL who buys one thing I decide on. There is more joy in things that someone has picked up because DD might be tickled by it! It doesn't bother me at all.
As an aside, when they were little, all our presents were from Father Christmas and they never asked why we didn't buy them anything grin

UnpreparedMum Fri 18-Dec-15 22:57:38

why detract from something so wonderful (Santa). It's the first Christmas she's (dd, 3) fully understood (the magic of it all)

DisappointedOne Fri 18-Dec-15 23:01:31

Ah yes. The magic of lying to your kids. I'll move along.

(Our xmases are magical without needing to create some elaborate lie and attempt to out consumerise everyone else. As you were.)

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