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Susan Adcox

How to Handle Holiday Gift-Giving

By November 8, 2012

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One mom is thinking out of the (toy) box. One of Mary Fischer's hints for keeping grandparents from buying too many toys is to have them clean the playroom. She thinks that when grandparents see how many toys their grandchildren have, they will dial back the gifting.

I'm not sure if Fischer's strategy would work, but it's worth a try. Some grandparents, however, believe that they have an inalienable right to spoil the grandchildren.

I'm not a super-indulgent grandparent in the first place, but I do try to be considerate of the parents, who have to find  places to put all the toys the grandparents buy. One of my strategies is shared gifting. Every year at Christmas the grandchildren get some toys that stay at my house. The label says, "To all the grandchildren," and the grands know that they don't get to take those gifts home. Blocks, games, art supplies and outdoor play equipment make great shared gifts.

Do your gift-giving habits cause strain in your family? How does your family handle holiday gift-giving?

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November 8, 2012 at 8:31 am
(1) granny annie says:

I take total recommendations from parents. My daughter will often purchase a gift for our youngest grandchild and put our names on it then I will send her the money. I cannot bear to purchase something the children won’t need or use. Now that most of our grandchildren are older, we send money. They do love that.

November 8, 2012 at 8:48 am
(2) NSGill says:

When my stepdaughters were little and didn’t stay with us all the time, we sometimes gave them gifts that were meant to stay with us, so they would have something to play with on our weekends. I don’t think they liked it, but it made sense, and would probably cause less friction with grandkids.

November 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm
(3) Lydia (Mai) says:

It is amazing how my grandson’s room can be at overflow capacity after Christmas and Birthdays since he has so many grandparents! I think that I am going to get him a savings bond and a zoo or museum membership. Well…maybe one toy ;-)

November 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm
(4) Grandma Kc says:

Because Amara visits so often many of the gifts we get her are to keep here, not all but most. I often use holidays as an excuse to get Amara new sheets and stuff for her room — she is usually very happy with that especially if she gets to help pick them out. I do make her clean out her old toys just before Christmas and Birthday. We used to donate them but now she has younger cousins and some of them go to them or to the other Grandma’s for all of them to play with.

November 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm
(5) Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs says:

I like your idea of shared gift giving and the gift staying at grandma’s. I’ll have to remember that for when I have more grandchildren. This is the first year I’m considering a shared gift for my grandsons. May be giving one each plus one to share. They have SO much already, they’d surely be okay with nothing from me, though that wouldn’t sit well with me.

November 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm
(6) Grammy Sandy says:

My grandchildren live about an hour away and I stay with them one day a week. So I buy most presents to stay at my house and also add to their college funds. Then I take a toy or two with me to their house just for the day I’m with them. Occasionally they’ll ask to keep something for the week and that’s fun, too. It’s great to have those “occasional” toys. And I really watch garage sales, too, so I don’t feel bad about spending lots of money.

November 13, 2012 at 6:40 am
(7) Joyce says:

One thing I wish my daughters would stop doing is buying toys all year round so there is nothing left for us (grandpa and grandma) to buy at Christmas or birthdays. However, I have learned from this site that it is really none of my business what they do with their own money! I just ordered more trucks for the boys because that’s what they picked out of a toy catalog and mommy approved (I always get approval). I need to deliver wrapped gifts for Christmas more than they need to get them! And yes, the materialism does bother me, but at the moment I can’t come up with a solution when 4 year olds are involved.

November 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm
(8) Ellen Zimmerman says:

Interesting timing of this post! My husband and I were looking at toys today. While our older grandson will learn to share with his baby brother, we think that the little guy needs some things of his own. Yet, on the other hand, he doesn’t really “need” toys. He needs practical things, like socks. So, as others here have said, we were thinking that we’d get a thing or two to keep here for visits. I can see from the responses that this dilemma gets more complicated as kids get older. Thanks for the forum to help teach us newbie grand-rents!

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