Author Topic: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?  (Read 9580 times)

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Outdoor Girl

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2012, 09:08:29 AM »
I like the number and size limitation as a way to control it.  If your parents want to give more, is it possible to steer them towards starting/contributing to a college fund?  Or is that not within the bounds of etiquette?
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siamesecat2965

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2012, 09:19:40 AM »
I would also stop comparing the gifts between the grandparents.  Ask both sets to run by each gift before they give it, and veto ones you aren't comfortable with.  Me, I always ask my parents and ils to get the more expensive gifts.   

POD. For me, growing up, my dad's parents lived 3000 miles away, AND between him and his two siblings, there were 8 grandkids. On my mom's side, there was just my grandmother, who lived about 30 mins away, so I saw her much more often. And I was her only grandchild.  So looking back, her presents were probably more expensive, and there were more of them then my other grandparents, but I can honestly say I never compared. As someone else pointed out, i was just happy for any present, whether it was one small one from my long-distance grandparents, or several from local grandma. And my cousins all lived within visiting distance of my dad's parents, so I'm sure they got more from them than I did, but again, didn't matter.

I'd say let each set know what you're comfortable with, rather than trying to compare who gives what, and how much.

MommyPenguin

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 09:25:38 AM »
They wouldn't really go for the college fund, because the issue with gifts is largely that my mom grew up without a lot (she was poor, and she was also Jewish so didn't celebrate Christmas).  For those reasons, she *loves* buying gifts at Christmas (giving gifts is also her love language), and those gifts pretty much must be toys, with maybe occasional books.

My mom did IM me the other day and say she was going shopping for the girls, so I took the opportunity to ask her to limit herself to *one* gift per girl.  She asked if she could do two if they were each like $15, and I said that was fine.  She seemed fine with it, and we even chatted a bit about what the gifts would be.  She actually mentioned looking at my Amazon wishlist (I maintain one for each girl; my in-laws request it) which was a first.

Mostly I just wanted to see if, in the opinion of others who are not my husband or myself, whether that limit was reasonable, and what most people thought of as reasonable for the grandparents to give to the children.  (For the record, my parents usually spend a good bit more than what my husband and I do for holidays, but we are also a) somewhat frugal and b) countering for the fact that we know they'll get more from my parents and so that means less from us so it doesn't get excessive.)

jmarvellous

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2012, 09:54:50 AM »
I had one set of grandparents who had just my family as grandkids (and my estranged aunt's 2, but I guess that doesn't count). My grandma would drive up her credit card debt every year to buy us gifts, no matter whether my parents begged her to cut back. Eventually, they did pull her down enough that we got fewer Hannukah presents apiece than there were nights in the holiday most years, but it was a struggle. Birthdays never got under control before they died.

My other grandparents are much more fiscally responsible, plus they had 7 kids, 1-7 spouses and 1-18 grandkids and 3 great-grandkids to buy for (admittedly, I was the first grandkid back when there were only 2 spouses around, so I used to be more spoiled). Everyone gets one gift for birthdays and Christmas, and it's often quite generous ($-wise), but we did notice the gap annually.

I think the thing my parents did right was to teach us early on that more gifts do not equal more love. We could draw our own conclusions about why grandma was such a buyer and our own parents were more frugal, but under no circumstances were we to compare gifts aloud.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2012, 10:03:16 AM »
Maybe suggest your parents consider giving an experience gift, like membership to childrens museum, something like that, so they can take girls there.
My mil has been widowed and frankly living in poverty since before I met dh. Over the years we have paid for her car, her insurance, to get her house painted, etc along with the other kids. Mil had lots of grandkids. So her giving the kids $5 for Christmas was a big deal. Often dhs sister would ship and give gifts from mil and her. Mil has helped us with babysitting, etc. and I told the kids when they were old enough to notice that mil doesn't have money to buy you presents, but she loves you.
My parents had a good planned retirement and spent lots of time with my girls, plus my kids were the only grandchildren on that side. my mom tended to buy more adorable outfits for the kids, which they loved, so we did not get inundated with toys from them. Maybe ask for clothes so you don't have to buy them? Maybe  start a college fund they could contribute to?
I think its good for kids to understand realities of finance early. Not everyone has the same income, for various reasons, and people should be treated nicely because it is the right thing to do, not because they give you cool stuff.

SPuck

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2012, 10:06:08 AM »
If your mother is so interested in spoiling your daughters could you focus her energy/expenses on taking your children to some kind of event around Christmas each year. That was what I used to do with one of my grandmothers each year, and it became less about receiving the gift and more about seeing something amazing and doing something I wouldn't normally do. Example, if you live in Boston (or another city) could grandma plan a day trip to a different museum each year.

MommyPenguin

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2012, 10:50:43 AM »
Well, as far as experience gifts go, we live in different states.  When I was speaking of doing things with the girls, those were during visits.  But my parents already plan experiences constantly (they're going to take the oldest two to a theater production when we visit over Thanksgiving), and when we do visit they take them to the mall, the park, and stuff like that all the time, plus to a kids' amusement park on occasion, the carnival, the occasional museum, the movies, etc.  Honestly, I don't really "count" stuff like that, or clothes given not at holidays, as gifts, because otherwise my mom would go insane with wanting to get the kids stuff and being limited so much.  His parents aren't so much able to do these things because they work daylight hours and don't have as much money for admissions, so it tends to widen the gap.  They see my parents a lot more and do a lot more with them.  We won't be with them for Christmas.  However, we are moving a bit closer to my parents' in the spring, and we'll be in the neighboring state about 2 hours away.

I am trying to encourage my parents towards LEGOs, at least.  My husband and I both love LEGOs, and since my husband is an engineer, he likes the girls spending a lot of time with a building toy.  So he's less likely to object to LEGOs than other toys.  And they can all go together in a bin and don't take up a *lot* of room, so there's less of a storage issue.  Now if I could just convince her to go with LEGO Robotics...

Betelnut

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 11:07:25 AM »
Wow, 16 presents each does sound excessive no matter what the cost of each individual present.  I would approach it that way rather than how much they are spending.  16 is just too much!
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his
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mbbored

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2012, 11:09:31 AM »
My parents dealt with a similar issue while I was growing up, with my dad's parents being very wealthy while my mom's parents were just trying to get by. I honestly don't remember being more excited by one set of gifts than another. However, my dad's parents agreed to contribute to college funds and offered to anonymously pay for a week of the camp of our choice every summer. To them seeing us having a lot of fun and getting to make our own decision about it was worth more than getting credit for it.

I know your parents wouldn't be interested in contributing to college funds, but would they be interested in help paying for an experience for the kids, whether or not they could be there?

Betelnut

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2012, 12:10:01 PM »
My parents dealt with a similar issue while I was growing up, with my dad's parents being very wealthy while my mom's parents were just trying to get by. I honestly don't remember being more excited by one set of gifts than another. However, my dad's parents agreed to contribute to college funds and offered to anonymously pay for a week of the camp of our choice every summer. To them seeing us having a lot of fun and getting to make our own decision about it was worth more than getting credit for it.

I know your parents wouldn't be interested in contributing to college funds, but would they be interested in help paying for an experience for the kids, whether or not they could be there?

I guess their wishes weren't kept...?
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his
revenges." -- Feste, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Native Texan, Marylander currently

MaryMy

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2012, 12:14:06 PM »
I've never really thought about this subject. Growing up we never received any presents from my mom's side of the family. We knew there were 10 siblings and 50 grandchildren. Presents just weren't party of the holiday with them. My dad only had a sister and there were 8 grandchildren. We did receive gifts from that side. It all just seemed normal. I never thought one side was better then the other.

My children always received very nice gifts from my parents. My mom was a true bargin shopper. She did buy expensive dresses for all the granddaughters but usually found them at 75% off or more. My husbands parents got the kids gifts when they knew we would be able to visit during the holidays, but not every year. Again I thought that was normal.

We have had just one grandchild for the last 6 years. I admit to spoiling her. She and my daughter lived with us for Em's first 4 1/2 years. Now our first grandson is coming (due in December) and we know we will have to scale back and take the Christmas money we spend and split it in two. So for now we have been the grandparents who have bought the large expensive presents, take her on vacations and take her out to eat where she likes. I never thought what the 'otherside' might feel about all we do.

Now I wonder will I be considered the poorer grandma. Future grandson will be the only grandchild on DI L's side. I guess I really don't care if they can do more for him then we can. He will know how much he is loved by us and that, I know, is the best gift I can give.

Thuringwethyl

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2012, 01:10:19 PM »
Honestly?

I wouldn't worry about it too much. My Grandma's were in different financial brackets but we still loved them both (both Grandpa's died before any of the grandkids were born).
My Dad's mother was a force unto herself (I've heard the boundary-setting struggles with my parents were epic). She had some money and LOVED shopping/gifts in general. Every year everyone was herded into her kitchen and required to pore through catalogs, earmarking things we liked. It sounds great (and it was, as a kid) but these were marathon sessions requiring a lot of time and mental stamina. Every time a selection was made the words "Are you sure?" was uttered over and over until ears started to ring. That woman could outshop anyone else, hands down. Everyone got at least 25 gifts each and was regularly spoiled rotten.
BUT we still loved and appreciated my Mom's stepmother! She was much more relaxed with the grandkids and loved us all equally; she never treated us any different from her son's kids. We understood that circumstances were different for her and were appreciative.

Note: now that I think about it, I dimly remember my parents pounding into our heads to not mention the gift disparity or make a fuss. What I'm trying to say is that the gift-giving in and of itself is not a problem BUT as you're uncomfortable with the volume it's not right for YOUR family. 

Peregrine

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2012, 01:27:00 PM »
Having had a child and now dealing with all of his stuff....I am sympathetic.  But I think the position of other posters about two items no bigger than shoe-box is quite extreme and may potentially back fire on you.

My parents are also the primary gift givers in my little family.  My husbands parents live 1000 miles away, but are genuinely indifferent to their grandkids.  My MIL is absolutely toxic and abusive, and uses what few gifts she does give to try to control her kids and grandkids, if she is having a tiff with her kids her grandkids are not given anything....Of course she still expects gifts for herself since she went to all the work to raise the kids (considers it her due).   So not quite your situation, but still similar in terms of the disparity.

Out of curiousity, how much of the issue is your husband feeling upset on his parent's behalf.  I'm not saying he shouldn't feel bad that his daughters seem to favor your parent's more at this stage based on the gift giving thing and frequency of visits, but is it his feelings that are driving this?

Could you give your mom and dad a boundary using the little rhyme.  "Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read."  LEGO's are great, my hubby and I already have a couple of sets that will someday become our son's.  Is there any other educational toy that you could steer her towards that would double duty as a homeschool thing, microscope, digital camera, etc? 

As far as a budget for your parent's gift giving, I would tread extremely carefully.  Try to limit the volume, and I think the amount of stuff coming in will start naturally limiting itself as your girls get older and their interests change.  I think I recall in one of your posts mentioning that you were relocating soon?  Would your Mom like to contribute to some new bedroom goodies for your daughters?  Maybe a vanity or something for the older one?  Would she like to contribute towards the cost of a swingset or sandbox for the backyard, what about a bocce ball or croquet set for the family to enjoy together?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2012, 01:47:26 PM »
"Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read."

Love this!  I'll have to pass it on to my friends' to use with their parents.

Kind of like my Dad's current rules:  If I can't eat it, drink it or wear it, don't give it to me.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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Shea

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2012, 02:28:21 PM »
I had a similar situation with my grandparents growing up. One set, while not wealthy, were comfortable, and I was their only grandchild, so I got a lot of presents from them at birthdays and Christmas. My other grandmother was living off her Social Security and had three grandchildren, so I would usually get a single small present from her. Honestly, I don't remember the difference in gifts making any impact on my relationships with my grandparents. I mean, I knew that I got fewer presents from Grandma than I did from Nana and Grandad, but it didn't make much of a difference to me.

However, I do think the situation with your parents sounds a bit excessive. I think the little rhyme Kestrels Nemesis posted is an excellent guideline. I guess how well you'll be able to enforce it depends on your relationship with your parents. But I think wanting the grandparents to tone it down is completely reasonable.


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