Every year, I find myself banging my head against the wall when it comes to the grandparents and holiday gift shopping for my kids. Without fail, they end up buying all of them tons of crappy toys which usually my kids didn't ask for. And of course, they are battery operated and don't seem to have an "off" button.
As grateful as I am that they want to spend money on my kids, I feel terrible that these toys usually end up getting donated or tossed in the trash. Plus, we like to play "Santa" for our own kids, which means they end up with way too many gifts. Talk about spoiled!
So, this year, I've employed a few strategies that I think might have actually worked. And if you've got grandparents like my kids do, I bet they'll work for you too!
- 1. Send a list, from the kids. I've tried sending them ideas that I've come up with on my own, but that never seems to work for whatever reason. However, if you have the list come from the kids, in their own handwriting if possible, this really helps them stick to it.
- 2. Give them ideas, rather than specific items. For my little one who really has no clue what she wants, I give them some ideas of her specific interests. This could actually work with older kids too if you find the grandparents really hate being limited by a wish list. If you tell them that she's really into playing with dolls and already has a crib and a stroller, or that he really loves Spiderman, then you're letting them choose something on their own but will hopefully still be appreciated and liked.
- 3. Set some parameters, nicely. Every year, I ask my in-laws to please not send anything that takes batteries or anything with lots of pieces, mostly because they drive us nuts. Of course, we don't say that, but we do tell them that generally the batteries run out and the pieces get lost and we really want them to be able to play with the toys as much as possible.
- 4. Ask for experiences, then send photos. My in-laws are super averse to giving gifts like a museum trip or a membership to the zoo, however, last year after I convinced them and took tons of photos of the kids enjoying their gift, they really understood how great it was and were much more inclined to do it again.
- 5. Cut them some slack. When it comes down to it, sending gifts is how my in-laws show their love for the kids, so I've learned over the years to just let it go. Yes, I still roll my eyes a little, but in the end, it is the season for giving. Plus, how long do they really play with the skeeball machine and talking caterpillar? Not very long, especially when the batteries magically disappear.
How do you deal with crazy gift giving grandparents at the holidays?
Photo via Flickr/ptc24