Author Topic: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?  (Read 9959 times)

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violinp

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #45 on: November 17, 2012, 07:54:46 AM »
Christmas has always been a "let's give the kids lots of stuff" to my parents and maternal grandparents. My paternal grandmother gave far fewer gifts that had less expense, but they were as well - chosen and thoughtful as the gifts Mom, Dad, and the maternal grandparents gave. I cherish every gift I was given, and I never saw one level of gift - giving as "bad" and the other as "good." It was what each could afford, and the thought was what mattered.

However, it seems like MommyPenguin's kids are...not necessarily greedy, but unthinking about their responses to the gifts they're given, which is a bit normal for younger kids - they don't really have a brain to mouth filter as older kids do. Also, I think 16 presents per child, unless they're mostly little things like drawing pads, pencil sets, etc. is a bit much. I think I got 16 presents one year...from my parents, both sets of grandparents, and two of my mom's brothers combined.

I think MommyPenguin and her DH need to work this situation on both fronts. They need to speak with MommyPenguin's parents about the amount of gifts, because, while it certainly is generous and nice, it's not really good in the long term. Then, they need to speak with their kids and tell them that it's not nice to value Grammy and Grandpap's gifts over everyone else's - all gifts were given with love, and should be treated equally.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


SPuck

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #46 on: November 17, 2012, 08:36:00 AM »
I think when it gets to the point where your kids are more excited to see there grandparents presents than their grandparents you probably want to speak up.

taffywduck

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #47 on: November 17, 2012, 09:00:41 AM »
We have a similar issue with my parents and DH's parents over gift giving. My parents are comfortable, while his struggle. My mom always goes way overboard with gifts and it's to the point where we have asked that they scale back because WE end up with nothing to gift our own kids and then all the junk piles up in the kids room and it's ridiculous.

Of course my mom was very offended that I dare try to control her gift giving and refused to make any adjustments what so ever. It is to the point where she'll have a bag of gift for each kids each time they come over and DSS (7yo) will now great her with: "Where are my gifts? You didn't get me candy I hope, cuz I prefer toys!". It grates on my nerves so terribly because I end up scolding DSS for his greedy attitude and she just won't stop with the dollar store junk. :(

I've taken to just discard the stuff as soon as it breaks/runs out of batteries or donating what could still be good.

This year I'm even skipping on my favorite part of Christmas because my mother won't back down and let ME fill my kids' stockings! Sigh.

However, it is really tricky to try and dictate what others can/cannot gift your kids especially if there is no malicious intentions (actively try to one-up the other set of grand-parents or even the parents themselves). You can try and stir them towards college funds or something, but you have to accept that unless there's malice you can't really do anything about it.

Your only real resort is to talk to your kids about their inappropriate reactions in front of everyone. Then you can discard older/barely used toys to make room. Perhaps when the grand-parents start to notice that stuff disappears they'll naturally scale back!

AmethystAnne

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2012, 09:10:32 AM »
<snip>
My mom always goes way overboard with gifts and it's to the point where we have asked that they scale back because WE end up with nothing to gift our own kids
<snip>
Of course my mom was very offended that I dare try to control......
<snip>
This year I'm even skipping on my favorite part of Christmas because my mother won't back down and let ME fill my kids' stockings!
<snip>

AUGGH!!!

 I'm so angry on your behalf.

I would dump her gifts out of MY kids stockings after she had left for the evening. If she wants to do stockings, why can't she do them at her house.

 AUGGH!!!

webhill

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2012, 09:16:15 AM »
This is for me an interesting discussion.

Our situation is that my kids have one set of extremely well-off grandparents (my in-laws) and one comfortable but not extremely well-off set of grandparents (my parents). They also have one surviving great-grandparent from each side - my grandma is not well-off and is somewhat unwell and unable to participate in much, though we visit her frequently (weekly) and she is very interactive when we visit; my grandma-in-law is very active & participates in all family events and is also ridiculously well-off.

Shortly after our first child was born, my parents asked me to restrict the other grandparents/great-grandparents from giving too much to our kid because then our kid would love the other grandparents more. I flipped out and told my parents I was completely offended by the suggestion that I would not be able to teach my children that money and expensive gifts are not the most important things a person can give you! My parents backed down.

So, in the past 12 years, the grandparents have all given to my three children gifts according to their desire and ability. I will say that everyone does always check with us to ask if something is ok, but we have never said something was not ok unless it was something we'd already bought, or really wanted to give personally, or it took way too much room, or whatever. This has meant that one side of the family showers the kids with expensive computers, iDevices, clothes that cost more than I even imagined possible, etc; while the other side gives books, crafting supplies, normally priced clothing, etc.

I am pleased to report that my children love all of their grandparents & great-grandparents equally. Everyone is thanked equally, too. The kids understand that not everyone can afford the same level of generosity, and that what really matters is the love which prompts the gift-giving.

gramma dishes

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2012, 11:58:03 AM »
As a parent whose children received gifts from Grandparents, and now as a Grandparent myself, I wouldn't worry too much about this unless one set of Grandparents is definitely overstepping boundaries -- as in knowing that you and your husband intended to buy little Seth his first bicycle for Christmas and then jumping in ahead of you and giving him one for his birthday the month before.

Children don't usually know the monetary value of gifts and they don't care.  And I can assure you that they won't necessarily love one set of grandparents more than the other because of the differences in the number or cost of the gifts. 

The one thing that I think IS important is that each given set of Grandparents keep the approximate cost/number of gifts the same for EVERY grandchild.  Children are quite capable of figuring out that if Grandma gave brother Johnny an XBox and that same Grandma gave me a pair of socks it isn't quite equitable and therefore she must love Johnny more than she loves me.

jaxsue

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #51 on: November 17, 2012, 12:14:05 PM »
I think when it gets to the point where your kids are more excited to see there grandparents presents than their grandparents you probably want to speak up.


This. I have 16 n/n just on my side of the family. I remember my oldest niece, when she was about 5 y/o, instead of being happy just to see her grandparents, asked, "What do you have for me?" When this became the norm, something had to be done. Not blaming my niece - she was just a child.

Yvaine

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #52 on: November 17, 2012, 12:44:19 PM »
The one thing that I think IS important is that each given set of Grandparents keep the approximate cost/number of gifts the same for EVERY grandchild.  Children are quite capable of figuring out that if Grandma gave brother Johnny an XBox and that same Grandma gave me a pair of socks it isn't quite equitable and therefore she must love Johnny more than she loves me.

Yup, this is what I was trying to say, but you've put it better. IMO it's more important for each grandparent to be consistent from one kid to another (unless the kids never see each other) than for each grandparent to be consistent with the other side's grandparent/s.

MommyPenguin

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #53 on: November 18, 2012, 03:08:43 PM »
At their ages, yeah, my kids definitely wouldn't be able to judge comparative value between presents.  What they do notice is how many presents and also how exciting they are.  A whole set of everything Stella Squeak, including little houses and furniture and characters, rates higher than a book from the other set of grandparents.  Etc.

I don't think they love my parents more because of the gifts, though.  It's sort of like a bonus.  They go *crazy* when they see them, and gifts are definitely not the first thing they think of.  But at some point they will think of it, and I have to really stay on them to keep them from the attitude of, "What presents did you bring us?" because my mom *always* brings presents.

We have spent a lot of time on gratitude (they write their own thank-you notes to the extent that they can) and on realizing other kids have less (everybody in our family made a shoebox for Samaritan's Purse, and we'll be going to pick out toys for Toys for Tots next week).  And we try to focus on the real meaning of holidays (well, aside from birthdays, which don't really have much real meaning aside from "yay, I survived another year!").  But it just seems like the excessive presents are constantly undermining everything we're trying to teach them.

Anyway.  Mom has definitely improved a lot.  She has stuck (so far) with the present limit I set of 1-2 per kid, and seems to have made good choices for each kid (she loves to tell me what she got).  The main thing to watch for now will be adding more presents, which she's done in the past (told me what she was getting, gotten approval, and then added another several presents because they're "just" this or "just" that).  She also got a toy set for herself to keep at her place, which I don't really object to because it's her house and her toys, so obviously I have no say.

She's definitely not interested in anything like contributing to a college fund or anything like that.  She didn't have many toys growing up, so she's obsessed with maximizing everybody else's childhood by providing toys up the wazoo.  It's too bad, because I'd be perfectly happy for her to buy homeschool books or activity sets.  :)

emwithme

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #54 on: November 18, 2012, 03:37:15 PM »
I think when it gets to the point where your kids are more excited to see there grandparents presents than their grandparents you probably want to speak up.


This. I have 16 n/n just on my side of the family. I remember my oldest niece, when she was about 5 y/o, instead of being happy just to see her grandparents, asked, "What do you have for me?" When this became the norm, something had to be done. Not blaming my niece - she was just a child.

My littlest niece was like this with me when she was about three or four (she's now seven).  We lived about two hours away, but would see her every couple of months, always with a little present - never much in terms of , but something (a couple of books, a new dress, craft stuff).  Until one time, her first words weren't "Hello Aunty Emwithme" but "What have you got me?"

The present stayed in the bag and I winged it - I said "Hmmm...a hug and a kiss?"

She looked at me quizzically and finally realised that I was serious.  And a hug and a kiss we had. 

The present stayed in my bag the whole visit (and I actually posted it to her when we got home).  Since then, she doesn't get a present *every* visit, but she does occasionally get letters and packages in the post.  I don't (yet) have my own children and enjoy buying her things)

GratefulMaria

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2012, 07:42:30 PM »
I think when it gets to the point where your kids are more excited to see there grandparents presents than their grandparents you probably want to speak up.


This. I have 16 n/n just on my side of the family. I remember my oldest niece, when she was about 5 y/o, instead of being happy just to see her grandparents, asked, "What do you have for me?" When this became the norm, something had to be done. Not blaming my niece - she was just a child.


My littlest niece was like this with me when she was about three or four (she's now seven).  We lived about two hours away, but would see her every couple of months, always with a little present - never much in terms of , but something (a couple of books, a new dress, craft stuff).  Until one time, her first words weren't "Hello Aunty Emwithme" but "What have you got me?"

The present stayed in the bag and I winged it - I said "Hmmm...a hug and a kiss?"

She looked at me quizzically and finally realised that I was serious.  And a hug and a kiss we had. 

The present stayed in my bag the whole visit (and I actually posted it to her when we got home).  Since then, she doesn't get a present *every* visit, but she does occasionally get letters and packages in the post.  I don't (yet) have my own children and enjoy buying her things)

^^^  This is really sweet!  Nice shifting of focus, loving, and nonjudgmental to boot.

My grown sons had the gift disparity throughout their childhoods.  MIL came with piles of things, my parents were more along the lines of a pair of cute socks and $200 in savings bonds.  But we didn't make a big deal of it because my in-laws lived far away at the time; my parents had more day-to-day contact, my mother was always baking for them, etc.  It kind of evened out, and nobody's feelings were hurt.

Your kid/s will figure it out, too.  If it's a case of being loved and supported from people with different resources, everyone will deal.  If there are toxic elements, that's something else entirely.  MIL offered to pay tuition for both my sons (only grandchildren on both sides), but by their high school years they realized she treated people in a really condescending and controlling way.  They thanked her for the generous offer and went their own way.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 07:13:23 AM by GratefulMaria »

blarg314

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #56 on: November 18, 2012, 09:17:37 PM »
I don't judge kids too badly for the "What did you bring me!" routine. 

If every time X happens Y happens, then anticipating Y when X shows up is actually pretty logical.   And for kids, getting excited about upcoming presents is pretty normal (think of the anticipation before Christmas or birthdays).

Understanding that, yes, Grandma always brings you a present every time you see her, but you aren't allowed to get excited about it, or say anything about it until she brings it up, because you aren't supposed to expect presents, is a fairly sophisticated etiquette concept (up there with "Lying is really bad, don't lie, except for all the little social lies that spare people's feelings")


Peregrine

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #57 on: November 19, 2012, 03:23:14 PM »
Mommy Penguin, it does sound like your Mom is improving somewhat in terms of her over-gifting.  At this point, I think if you continue to reinforce your wishes in terms of less "stuff."  Unfortunately, I do think it would be overstepping on your part if you tried to dictate to your parents that they can't buy their grandkids "nice" toys because their other grandparents can only afford to give them each a book.  You might however try steering your parents to consumable "toys", play dough, markers, crayons, construction paper, stuff for baking etc.

I think the best way to combat the influx of stuff is to make sure you have a couple of annual clean-out and donation days each year to make sure that your kiddos get to donate extra toys to worthy causes.  It might be a bit harder in your case just because your girls are spread from baby to school age, so the stuff the older ones are growing out of isn't actually leaving the house.  If you don't care to donate toys you might try working the consignment/resale concept into some of your homeschool lessons.  You can teach your older ones that their stuff still has value and if they don't love it, they can resell some stuff to get cash for college, vacation funds etc.

ellasaunt

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #58 on: November 21, 2012, 05:59:21 AM »
We (DH and I) are going through the same thing, but with a little twist. We live on the other side of the world from my parents, and as a result, see them only once every two years or so. (Going home for Christmas this year - can't wait!!!) My parents have only met my youngest once, when he was three months old, and yet, have spent more time with him than DH's parents who live about 10 minutes away. My parents go over board at gift giving times - last Christmas we had to buy two new toy boxes to accomodate the gifts for the children. Their reasoning is that they can't see the kids, so want to spoil them. Last year, my in-laws gave my children coat hangers. Seriously. Oh, and I can't forget the dog chew toy that was given to the baby, and a book my oldest has left at their house about 2 years previously, with his name inscribed inside it. In my writing.

My oldest has noticed the difference, and has asked why my parents love him more. I have tried to explain that different people show their love in different ways, but that dosen't appear to fly. I have also spoken to my parents about the sheer amount of stuff - my mother is a true bargin hunter (hey Ellasaunt, I bought the boys *very expensive item* for 95% off - they wont be able to use it for X amount of years, but WHAT a bargin  ::)). I don't think I will ever get through to them....

Both DH and I have realised that we are never going to change either set of parents, no matter what we say and do. I have told my mother that we will have to donate some of the presents fi they go as overboard as they did last year, and I *think* I got my point across. Only time will tell though.

CakeEater

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Re: What do you think is a reasonable gift from grandparents?
« Reply #59 on: November 21, 2012, 06:48:08 AM »
We (DH and I) are going through the same thing, but with a little twist. We live on the other side of the world from my parents, and as a result, see them only once every two years or so. (Going home for Christmas this year - can't wait!!!) My parents have only met my youngest once, when he was three months old, and yet, have spent more time with him than DH's parents who live about 10 minutes away. My parents go over board at gift giving times - last Christmas we had to buy two new toy boxes to accomodate the gifts for the children. Their reasoning is that they can't see the kids, so want to spoil them. Last year, my in-laws gave my children coat hangers. Seriously. Oh, and I can't forget the dog chew toy that was given to the baby, and a book my oldest has left at their house about 2 years previously, with his name inscribed inside it. In my writing.

My oldest has noticed the difference, and has asked why my parents love him more. I have tried to explain that different people show their love in different ways, but that dosen't appear to fly. I have also spoken to my parents about the sheer amount of stuff - my mother is a true bargin hunter (hey Ellasaunt, I bought the boys *very expensive item* for 95% off - they wont be able to use it for X amount of years, but WHAT a bargin  ::)). I don't think I will ever get through to them....

Both DH and I have realised that we are never going to change either set of parents, no matter what we say and do. I have told my mother that we will have to donate some of the presents fi they go as overboard as they did last year, and I *think* I got my point across. Only time will tell though.

Perhaps your oldest isn't noticing the difference in the amount of gifts, so much as the type of gifts. Coathangers? There's a difference between receiving smaller, fewer or less expensive gifts, and being given inappropriate gifts. I am a big fan of practical gifts, and to be honest, I would probably like receiving coathangers, but I doubt any child ever would appreciate a gift like that from their grandparents for christmas.