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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Patriots native living in Raven country
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    ITA w/this
    leave what the grandparents do up to them.
    DS and DD are the only grandchildren MIL has and she waited and prayed a long time for them. (She was the last of her 4 siblings to have grandchildren and most of them had been a grandparent 20 years before her.) So far be it for me to tell her what to buy her only grandchildren. She is kind enough to occasionally ask what they need. But most of the time she will just buy them what she thinks is "adorable" or "cute" or something she loves and knows they will play with. I am not about to destroy her fun. (She leaves the tags on stuff and I have been known to return it to the store in exchange for something else if I need to. She is none the wiser about it. Works for me! ) The majority of the stuff she buys though is quite nice and I have no problem with. But I can't control that...so I focus on controlling what DH and I spend. Well, DH does better with "control". I tend to be the one that needs reigning in. I will admit that I was a spoiled child and my tree sounded like Katie's at Christmas. It was always overflowing, but then again I was the only child my mother had to buy for (my siblings were teenagers by the time I was born...so when I was a toddler they were nearing or in adulthood which meant all the focus was on me and between my Dad giving me money at Christmas to buy what I wanted rather than buy me gifts and my Godmother getting me whatever the newest electronic game or gadget was that I asked for...I pretty much got everything I'd write on the list that I gave my mom every year.) In a way I want my kids to have that experience but a small part of me doesn't because really what's the point of a bunch of stuff? I don't want to create materialistic kids.

    So I think it's all about budgeting. Set a monetary limit maybe or a present limit and that's that. DS's first Christmas was easy...he got nothing. He was 19 days old. Last year he got mostly gifts from other people...and even that was only 4 or 5 things. Nothing major because he didn't "get it" anyway. Not only that...the beauty of having a December baby is that the house was already overrun with toys from his birthday party 3 weeks prior. So he really didn't need us to give him anything (I can't remember if we even did...probably not because I was pregnant and we had just moved the month before.) This year he will "get it" more. So we made an Amazon wish list for him (which I already jumped the gun and bought 2 things from...one last month and one this month and he already got them thanks to the "Gifts for a 2 year old" or whatever the thread is called here on CC where I picked up a few good ideas). We have a couple things on the wish list for DD (one of which I bought last month with DS's stuff). So she will probably get the other thing put under the tree by Santa and that will be it for her. (At 8 months old I think that's plenty.) There are probably 13 or 14 items on the wish list for DS of which we may buy 1-2 for his birthday and another 3 (since I like that idea someone mentioned in here about the 3 gifts for Jesus and think I'll steal it) for Christmas. The others will be for family and friends when they ask us what he wants/needs and we can direct them there. If no one asks...they will remain there until probably next summer when we tend to buy him a couple new toys because it's so far 'til his birthday comes (this would be the bad part of having a December baby) that he gets all the new stuff in one month and nothing else throughout the year. So halfway through we like to get a few things for him...
    Last edited by pocahontas; 11-07-2011 at 11:06 AM.
    At 24w 4d my little boy...became an angel 11/7/07
    Rainbow baby arrived 12/6/09!

    Added a dash of PINK 4/9/11

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Southern CA
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    I also go completely overboard, just like my mom did/does. I think it's genetic! I too love tons and tons of gifts under the tree.

    I think it's really hard not to since I shop little by little, and I don't realize how much I've purchased by Christmas.

    I do think it is a bit out of control since DD is the only child and only grandchild for my parents. Hopefully next year we will tone down a bit.
    T + G = ER & EC

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ohio
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    1,512

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    I don't think I go overboard, but some might say I do. The kids get about 5 gifts each plus a stocking. Stockings contain small stuff like toothbrush, candy cane, etc. We also do St. Nick's day and they get an ornament and Christmas pj's in their stocking for that. Asides from birthdays, I don't buy any toys the rest of the year.

    I would say going overboard would be buying things you can't afford and going into debt over Christmas.
    K & B ~ 04.05.03
    O.R. ~~ 12.12.05, J.V.~~ 06.02.08, F.J. ~~ 01.12.10

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    17,419

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    I'm probably somewhere in the middle of what people are posting, although for now when DD is so small, I'm trying to keep it under control. My husband is of the mentality that we can buy things throughout the year if we need to and it doesn't need to be all about Christmas, but if/when we do buy things other times of the year, he also complains then so there is no winning w/ him. DD has a December bday, too. Last year we got her 2 things for her bday and 2 things for Christmas plus her stocking. I don't really do clothes for Christmas, usually by that point DD has way too many clothes in her current size. We travel for Christmas so we didn't even open 'our' gifts last year and I just put DD's things from us away until later in the year. I'm not sure how I'm going to manage that this year. She gets a TON of stuff from my in laws - she's their only grandchild - and also from my parents and some of our friends.

    Question for those of you who have your kids participate in gifts for donation: at what age did you begin this, and at what age do you think your kids really 'got' the message that the things weren't for them, giving to less fortunate, etc? My husband and I usually do a big Toys R Us run and buy a ton of stuff to donate. On that scale I know it would be too overwhelming for DD right now, but I'm wondering at what point we can/should start including her.

    ETA: we are not religious.
    Last edited by laura; 11-07-2011 at 11:05 AM.
    isabella noelle :: 12.7.09

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ohio
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    Laura - We start involving the kids with donating gifts about 2.5-3 years. At that age they picked out a couple toys and then hats, scarves and gloves to donate. This year will be DS1's (6) first year he uses his money that he saved from his allowance (some goes into long term saving, short term, than charity) to buy items.
    K & B ~ 04.05.03
    O.R. ~~ 12.12.05, J.V.~~ 06.02.08, F.J. ~~ 01.12.10

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    For us the whole reason of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus birth and enjoy time with our family. We don't focus on the gift giving. We give gifts but we dont go overboard. My parents never went overboard but we always got great, meaningful gifts. Our kids know about Santa but we dont really focus on 'this is your Santa gift' we get them something they ask for (well DS does cos he's 5 but DD is only 2) and something they need and we do stocking stuffers.

    My friend does 4 gifts - something they need, something they will use (like clothes), something to read and something they ask for - i like that idea. it keeps from going overboard. I dont follow that strictly but i know our budget and we never go into debt buying stuff. To me it just goes back to the whole reason why we celebrate this season. I think a PP posted about focusing on all the activities throughout the month and we do that too. We make it fun so every day is like a little present for them.

    as far as grandparents giving gifts, they are my parents only grand kids and even if i tell them not to get them something they will so i leave it up to them. my grandparents did that for us and i think thats part of the joy of being a grandparent so i won't begrudge them that! when they are able to visit us during the season (we live in different continents!) the kids get all sorts of treats. my kids are not spoiled though. My DS understands that if he wants something, he needs to save his money and thats how we get what we want. And like many of you, we also take them to shop for another family or child.

    whether you go overboard or not in your gift giving ... make sure you take time to really enjoy the whole season with your family and kids and share the meaning of Christmas with them
    v&j: jan 2004
    ds: 5 june 2006
    dd: 1 may 2009

  7. #27
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    Jul 2006
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    Southern CA
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    I'm sure that everyone that goes overboard with gifts on that one day still teaches their children the true meaning of Christmas, values and enjoys the entire season and do not go into debt buying gifts. I think for most people that tend to go overboard, it's just the joy of Christmas morning and the fun of opening gifts no matter how small they are. We try to make Christmas day last as long as possible!
    T + G = ER & EC

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
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    Laura- DD was three the first Christmas I involved her in giving to the less fortunate, and she got it pretty easily and wanted to give all her old toys to the "poor kids." We got a solicitation from Oxfam and I explained what it was, later that day I caught her stuffing the Oxfam envelope full of nickels and putting it back in the mailbox. She is totally into it and just yesterday she told me (unprompted) that her favorite part of Christmas is giving to others. I probably could have started involving her at age two as she was understanding a lot at that age, but I don't think it occurred to me.

    DS is a totally different kid and this year he is three, so the same age that DD was when she started to participate. I seriously doubt he would get what is going on. He is your typical self-centered preschooler, wants everything for himself. We have not yet brooched the subject with him that there are people who don't have as much as we do. I am going to try with him this year but I seriously doubt the results will be the same as with DD. So obviously I guess my point is that each kid is different.

    I will say that I think the best way to start is by having them go through some of their own toys to donate. Even though I know that most of those toys will be going to the Goodwill thrift shop, the kids think that they are actually going straight to needy kids. I still buy brand-new toys to donate but I don't think I got DD involved in that part of it til later.

  9. #29
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    Jul 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by looch View Post
    My ILs are seeming to insist on a gift, but I told her the most appreciated thing is cash.
    One wonderful way around this is to ask for them to purchase an *experience*. My ILs get all the older grandkids season passes to an amusement park every year for Christmas. When they are smaller, it's aquarium passes or children's museum memberships. They also take the kids--without parents!!--so it's a gift that keeps on giving. My mom buys sports or music lessons or a summer camp for my niece and nephew each year. It seems to the giver as though they are giving SOMETHING, and it still allows you to sock away the cash you would have spent or enjoy an experience you otherwise may have foregone.

    Age for "giving" participation--The first year we shopped as a family, DD1 was 2.5 and DD2 was 11m. I know that DD1 and I shopped together the year before. At 3.5, DD1 started to really get interested in participating.
    Us ~2005 * #1~2006 * #2~2008 * #3~-2010 * #4 due 9/19/12

  10. #30
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    Jul 2005
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    11,416

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    Laura - we have had ODD help with picking out gifts for donation since she was about 3 (will likely start with YDD this year). Last year, her preschool class did a food drive, and she used her allowance money (from the "give" piggy bank) to buy a meal for a family. We talked about nutrition and what would make a good dinner for someone who might not have a lot of food. We had to make things very black and white for her. She picked out some mac and cheese, applesauce, canned pease and a box of brownie mix. She was very happy with her selections - we also had that exact meal for dinner that night.

    This year I'm going to have her help me pick out clothes for families we have at work. YDD will help too, but at 2.5 I don't thinks she's 100% there yet. I may have her select between two options.
    Kidlet 1 - 8/06
    Kidlet 2 - 7/09
    Kidlet 3 - 12/12

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