Author Topic: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas  (Read 1135 times)

Chesleygirl

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Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« on: October 08, 2017, 11:22:02 AM »
I'm going to stop buying toys, not that I bought many to begin with.

People give our kids stuff. Too much. There are toys with broken parts, puzzles with missing pieces, books they have ripped apart and lots of little game pieces from board games, all over the house. I've spent hours and days trying to sort it all out. What i can put together, i'm selling in consignment sales. What can't be put together or repaired is for the trash. The books are being collected and sold in consignment sales.

The fact is, my kids don't play with toys or read books. They do other things.  They have activities outside of the home or they play video games. The two younger ones can't  read yet and the older one plays video games. She doesn't read for leisure and I'm not going to force her to anymore.

They play with toys one time and then it gets tossed aside.  My kids have zero interest in toys, board games, dolls, etc. I don't know about other kids, but mine just don't use this stuff or they decide to destroy it. They have sadly destroyed many things that can not even be donated now.

So I'm thinking of an alternative for Christmas gifts, such as McDonald's gift cards or consumable items, like food, candy, etc. I want them to have something under the tree, but not stuff that will add to waste and clutter in our home.

GizmoTX

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2017, 12:06:45 PM »
I agree about getting rid of the damaged things. Your kids may appreciate the little that’s left if the clutter is gone. OTOH, junk is junk. Toys that don’t challenge the imagination deserve to be cast aside.

I grew up with few toys, & cherished what I asked for & received. I went to the library & bookmobile for books. My sibs & I did a wish list (aka the Sears catalog) every year — we knew we wouldn’t get much, so we needed to communicate what we were dreaming about. It mostly didn’t happen but our parents & grandparents tried to come close.

We could have given DS (now grown) everything but were careful to dole out toys over time & that allowed creativity. He especially enjoyed Legos & Playmobile (play people), science equipment, elementary circuit design, & crafts. Very little was ever broken, since he knew nothing would be automatically replaced. We read to him every night, even after he learned to read, until he could manage chapter books on his own — he still loves a good story. (Growing up, I read to my younger sibs.) Other gifts to him included various experiences over the years: rocket building & launching, chess camp, horsemanship camp, sailing camp, video game programming camp, film making camp, violin/fiddle camp, cooking camp, & scouting. Later on, family trips were also considered part of what was under the tree.

He & we would be bored with fast food or other consumables, & they’re not very healthy. Think about challenging your kids with creative materials & experiences; since they’re still too young to know yet what interests them, you should help them find out.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2017, 03:50:24 PM »
I agree about getting rid of the damaged things. Your kids may appreciate the little that’s left if the clutter is gone.

that's just it. I think they would appreciate a few things if they didn't have so much. With too many things, they lose interest.

calimom

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 06:43:25 PM »
My kids are past the toy stage but when they were very little I'd spirit away a lot of the smaller stuff after the unwrapping orgy (lots of gifts from loving grandparents/relatives/friends) and put it away, leaving the Thomas set or the dollhouse. Then, on maybe a rainy Sunday afternoon in February bring out some fresh markers, a cool little toy or read a fresh story some night when the old favorites weren't holding interest.  It can be overwhelming for children to have too many options in the playroom.

Before Christmas we'd go through old stuff together and anything in good shape that was outgrown, donate to a hospital waiting room I knew about that always needed something fresh and intact for those kids to play with or read.

MayDay

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 08:52:08 AM »
My kids are 7 and 10, so starting to outgrow toys.

They each have a few things in their room. We have Legos and magnatiles in the basement. We have some board games. That is about it.

I can't wait for them to stop believing in santa because that is the only toy we buy them.
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BAM

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 07:08:53 AM »
We've minimize our belongings considerably, esp toys. We now have 1 dresser of legos (everyone's preferred toy), a cedar chest with some little kid toys like a doll house that get rotated every Monday, a small box of car tracks, some games, puzzles and art supplies. They do play better now that they have limited things.
A great book that talks about this is Simplicity Parenting.

Last Christmas, we gave mostly experience gifts. Youngers (under 15) got a trip to a pizza place with a game room and a movie theater trip. Our two oldest who are in college got a membership to a rock climbing gym near their college. In the past we've also done memberships to the zoo, museum, aquarium. A swimming pool membership or YMCA membership or something would be great too. We've occasionally been able to convince grandparents to give these too as a whole family gift instead of individual gifts. For many years, my mom would give the kids a magazine subscription for Christmas. They loved that. My kids enjoyed their gifts more last year than they do when there are lots of toys, etc.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2017, 08:48:25 AM »
The legos drive me crazy. We kept a box of them and they get scattered everywhere.

I like the idea of experience gifts, like gift cards for movie theaters.

Cwadda

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2017, 09:06:07 AM »
My nieces and nephews are in a household with extreme consumerism.  They receive garbage bags filled with gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  Yes, 40-gallon garbage bags full. It is a pissing match between grandparents who can get them more.

Nowadays I just stretch my imagination to think of gifts that are truly meaningful. Taking them to the movies, hanging out for a sleepover, making brownies and watching a movie with a warm blanket.  They won't care about all the toys when they get older. 

Chesleygirl

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2017, 09:28:21 PM »
My nieces and nephews are in a household with extreme consumerism.  They receive garbage bags filled with gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  Yes, 40-gallon garbage bags full. It is a pissing match between grandparents who can get them more.

Nowadays I just stretch my imagination to think of gifts that are truly meaningful. Taking them to the movies, hanging out for a sleepover, making brownies and watching a movie with a warm blanket.  They won't care about all the toys when they get older.

Sometimes I wonder if people who are older, didn't get a lot of toys when they were kids, so they think it is a big deal for kids nowadays to get them. 

Polaria

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 12:35:46 AM »
No kids in close family, but two of my best friends have 2 and soon 5 kids (ages from -5 months to 7 years). Stuff everywhere though they are careful.

I am really keeping in mind that the last thing they want is more stuff added to an already gigantic pile. In the past I have given some items when I was sure my friends would appreciate them (once it was two foldable boxes in space and dinosaur themes to store toys, my friend was elated).

My plan from now on is not to give them anything at Xmas etc (except consumables) but to give each kid a small sum of money at the start of the summer holidays (I am giving the money to the parents; I let them sort the spending/saving discussion with their kids).

Logistically it is easier for me and I remember cracking the piggy bank for the summer holidays as a kid, so I feel it is the right time to give the kids a little windfall.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 12:39:30 AM by Polaria »

Linda_Norway

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2017, 12:53:12 AM »
The legos drive me crazy. We kept a box of them and they get scattered everywhere.

I like the idea of experience gifts, like gift cards for movie theaters.

Lego, at least the original with blocks in all sizes, is a toy that stimulates the building genes in a child. Nowadays Lego often comes in complete cars or other stuff and that is not as good as the old simple blocks. My brother and I loves playing with Lego together. We kept it up in our rooms, so it was not all over the living room.

I also notice that children get a lot of stupid gifts. When I buy Christmas presents I try to buy gifts that are going to be used and not just a small car to add to the other 100 that my nephew already has. I also ask the parents if there is anything their child needs, like a bicycle or a winter play suit. My brothers sons are getting very greedy around Christmas and that is not nice to watch from the sideline.

Cwadda

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 07:24:50 AM »
My nieces and nephews are in a household with extreme consumerism.  They receive garbage bags filled with gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  Yes, 40-gallon garbage bags full. It is a pissing match between grandparents who can get them more.

Nowadays I just stretch my imagination to think of gifts that are truly meaningful. Taking them to the movies, hanging out for a sleepover, making brownies and watching a movie with a warm blanket.  They won't care about all the toys when they get older.

Sometimes I wonder if people who are older, didn't get a lot of toys when they were kids, so they think it is a big deal for kids nowadays to get them.

It very well could be.  For me, it's kinda the opposite.  I'm a younger person (23) and got few toys when I was a moppet. My sibling and I were taught the value of being able to do a lot with only a few toys, and to treat them special.

engineermom21

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 08:01:33 AM »
My husband and I may go the route of not buying any toys this year for our kids at Christmas.  At 1 and 4, they won't remember that we didn't get them anything, or even care, and I know both grandmas will get them more than they possibly need (we've tried asking them to do experience gifts, but it falls on deaf ears.  If it makes them happy to buy for their grandkids, it's not my place to stop them.)  I'll do stockings for them (which is my favorite part of Christmas morning anyway) and that's it.  I've gone through their toy room every few weeks over the past 6 months and removed things they no longer play with or thrown out things that have been broken.  We've gotten their toys down to a really reasonable amount, and I feel like they play a lot more with them now, versus before when it was just chaos all the time. 

I like the idea of sticking to 4 things as well: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.  I'll probably go this route as they get older, then just do total experience gifts or one large gift as they get into late middle school/high school ages. 

LiveLean

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2017, 11:32:39 AM »
Don't worry. Soon your kids will reach a point where they won't want or need any toys. Just a phone.
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Sibley

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 11:48:19 AM »
We always got practical things. Clothes, etc. Also, more general use/household stuff for us or the cat that had picked us - cat toys, catnip, cat beds, sheets, pillows, computer games, etc. I was a huge reader, so books were big for me. But a ton of stuff that got used.

Now, I get a mix of practical stuff and junk that I return or donate. Wish I could get my mom to cool it, but not much luck thus far.

elaine amj

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2017, 12:27:40 PM »
Not sure what to do this year - my two are in their teens now but still like something to open for Christmas. As they have gotten older, they have received way less "things" so now I struggle to have a small handful of things for them to open on Christmas morning. I don't spend much on them myself - maybe $20-30 each and I also do the shopping for 3 grandparents. My SIL also stays with us for Christmas so they'll have a bunch of little gifts from her. So maybe 5 gifts each to open. REALLY not sure what to get for them this year. Neither needs anything much.

I usually try for practical gifts - last year, my DS14 got various things to redecorate his room with. So, one grandparent got him a comforter, another wall stickers, cushions, etc. Stuff like that. Maybe we'll do something similar as we have to redecorate his room yet again (my fault - I'm taking the daybed out of his room to use elsewhere) and he said he'd like a nice area rug.

Clueless for my DD16.

Other non-toy things we've gotten them in the past - experience gifts (zoo memberships, etc), winter coats, new running shoes, school backpacks, new water bottles, art supplies, etc etc.

This year, I would like to get them a few things they can actively enjoy on Christmas morning. We're keeping it very simple and low-budget this year.

acroy

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2017, 12:46:03 PM »
We have a decent but limited stock of inside toys. Toys stay in their rooms and are put away when not in use. If I have to clean them up -they go in the trash can. Treat it like trash, it's trash.
My 2 oldest have a ton of Legos but they are confined to their 'Lego Lab' - converted closet. Pretty cool actually. Legos outside the Lego Lab are trash.

We limit screen time to performance-based Minecraft time on the Kindle Fire.
90%+ grade that day = 30 min
80%+ grade = 15min
under 80 = no screen time.

They would play 12 hrs a day if we let them.

Good stock of outside toys: cars, nerf guns, tons of skates and bikes and scooters and such. It all gets put away when not in use.

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galliver

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2017, 03:28:59 PM »
Maybe I shouldn't speak to these things as a non-parent, but...

When it comes to kids, "toys" doesn't mean optional or wasteful things. Toys are the tools kids use for learning before we're willing to trust them with real tools. Doing crafts or building freeform with legos or tinkertoys or anything teaches creativity and spatial awareness. Dolls and stuffed animals encourage nurturing behaviors. Dress up and action figures and dolls, through make-believe play, let kids explore and experiment with interpersonal interactions and roles in society, and engages their imagination. Models or complex lego/construction sets teach kids to follow directions...a critical skill for adults assembling Ikea furniture or fixing their washing machine or filling out paperwork or formatting reports for their professor/boss/client/etc. Matchbox cars, on a large, flat surface, lend themselves to early physics experiments (as well as make-believe).

Toys are also some of the first things a kid calls their own, so they are an early way to introduce "taking care of our things" ideas. Of course there will be some stumbles along the way; we all learn best from mistakes. Dolly will have to live with her sharpie tattoo for the rest of her dolly life...which will be shortened as a result by being made unacceptable to donate. When the truck breaks from being sat on, kiddo learns that plastic stuff like the truck isn't very strong. When not cleaning up a game results in irretrievably lost pieces and makes the game unplayable, the kids eventually figure out why you insist they put the game away immediately after playing. This is the cost of doing business; I've lost numerous dishes, nonstick pans, flashlights, tape measures, etc. with time and use. Many tools wear out eventually, or we outgrow their usefulness; it's only to be expected the same happens with toys.

Of course, these lessons may stick better if the kid doesn't have 10 dolls and 20 trucks, and actually cares about them to some degree...so I'm by no means arguing against keeping the toy collection curated down to a reasonable size. I just think most kids would only be better off by exposure to and availability of at least a few toys from each category. That said, obviously each kid has independent preferences, for specific types of play that may involve more or fewer toys. Some might do more dancing or tumbling, or play with the family pet, or build blanket forts, or drum on pots and pans. What's "right" definitely varies, not arguing that. Just that there seemed to be an undertone of toys being useless or wasteful in responses and that's pretty far from true.

A final note on reading..."My kid only wants to play video games so I won't make her read" reads similarly to me as "My kid only likes McDonald's hamburgers so I won't make her eat vegetables." There is nothing wrong with video games necessarily (I hear they're great training for future pilots and possibly surgeons), but reading is crucial--it grows vocabulary, develops empathy, trains comprehension skills. They'll need it for school, college (if they go), work, life. Giving up on it entirely seems as ill advised as giving up on a kid's hygiene habits or manners. "He doesn't like brushing his teeth or saying thank you, so we aren't going to make him anymore." Really?

Linda_Norway

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 07:25:42 AM »
Maybe I shouldn't speak to these things as a non-parent, but...

When it comes to kids, "toys" doesn't mean optional or wasteful things. Toys are the tools kids use for learning before we're willing to trust them with real tools. Doing crafts or building freeform with legos or tinkertoys or anything teaches creativity and spatial awareness. Dolls and stuffed animals encourage nurturing behaviors. Dress up and action figures and dolls, through make-believe play, let kids explore and experiment with interpersonal interactions and roles in society, and engages their imagination. Models or complex lego/construction sets teach kids to follow directions...a critical skill for adults assembling Ikea furniture or fixing their washing machine or filling out paperwork or formatting reports for their professor/boss/client/etc. Matchbox cars, on a large, flat surface, lend themselves to early physics experiments (as well as make-believe).

Toys are also some of the first things a kid calls their own, so they are an early way to introduce "taking care of our things" ideas. Of course there will be some stumbles along the way; we all learn best from mistakes. Dolly will have to live with her sharpie tattoo for the rest of her dolly life...which will be shortened as a result by being made unacceptable to donate. When the truck breaks from being sat on, kiddo learns that plastic stuff like the truck isn't very strong. When not cleaning up a game results in irretrievably lost pieces and makes the game unplayable, the kids eventually figure out why you insist they put the game away immediately after playing. This is the cost of doing business; I've lost numerous dishes, nonstick pans, flashlights, tape measures, etc. with time and use. Many tools wear out eventually, or we outgrow their usefulness; it's only to be expected the same happens with toys.

Of course, these lessons may stick better if the kid doesn't have 10 dolls and 20 trucks, and actually cares about them to some degree...so I'm by no means arguing against keeping the toy collection curated down to a reasonable size. I just think most kids would only be better off by exposure to and availability of at least a few toys from each category. That said, obviously each kid has independent preferences, for specific types of play that may involve more or fewer toys. Some might do more dancing or tumbling, or play with the family pet, or build blanket forts, or drum on pots and pans. What's "right" definitely varies, not arguing that. Just that there seemed to be an undertone of toys being useless or wasteful in responses and that's pretty far from true.

A final note on reading..."My kid only wants to play video games so I won't make her read" reads similarly to me as "My kid only likes McDonald's hamburgers so I won't make her eat vegetables." There is nothing wrong with video games necessarily (I hear they're great training for future pilots and possibly surgeons), but reading is crucial--it grows vocabulary, develops empathy, trains comprehension skills. They'll need it for school, college (if they go), work, life. Giving up on it entirely seems as ill advised as giving up on a kid's hygiene habits or manners. "He doesn't like brushing his teeth or saying thank you, so we aren't going to make him anymore." Really?

These are some great arguments for giving children certain toys. I like to give them toys that teach them to use a hammer or so. But having like 100 small cars, is in my eyes unnecessary.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2017, 01:27:08 PM »
Sure. I think kids should have a few toys, at least. I just don't like too many.  I have friends whose house is filled to the brim with all kinds of toys. I trip over stuff every time I go over there. They are more fascinated with the toys than their own kids are. They'll start showing me all these toys and showing me what they can do. I often think they buy the toys for themselves. Their kids want to play video games or go outdoors. Like my kids, they have almost zero interest in toys.

LadyMustache

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Re: Will stop buying toys even for Christmas
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2017, 05:00:54 PM »
I bought my son a slack line on Amazon for his last birthday, which has been a big hit:

1. It's physical - good for core, gymnastics skills, etc.
2. It's outside so healthier and quiet for me :)
3. Nothing to tidy inside
4. Pretty cheap for a b'day present
5. Friends think it's cool to play on too.

I don't mind presents as long as they will be used and don't create work.