Author Topic: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics  (Read 13400 times)

Making Cookies

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #50 on: August 23, 2016, 12:25:46 PM »
I feel the same way with the things kids do these days with social media and youtube, etc. Its little short doses of fun that have to be endlessly consumed to have "fun".

Back when we played with cardboard boxes, bikes, Erector sets, Legos, etc. A project made from Erector set might take hours and you'd be proud of it. Legos were the same. Now nobody seems to have the patience to do anything like that.

Geez, I feel so old... ;)

Tjat

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #51 on: August 23, 2016, 12:28:44 PM »
No time for Legos. Too busy texting to their friends about how bored they are

LeRainDrop

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #52 on: August 23, 2016, 01:01:09 PM »
I feel the same way with the things kids do these days with social media and youtube, etc. Its little short doses of fun that have to be endlessly consumed to have "fun".

Back when we played with cardboard boxes, bikes, Erector sets, Legos, etc. A project made from Erector set might take hours and you'd be proud of it. Legos were the same. Now nobody seems to have the patience to do anything like that.

Geez, I feel so old... ;)

I know, right?  We'd built all these cool, creative things and then take pictures of them so we could "remember" them, since we then had to take the structures apart to reuse the parts next time.

NESailor

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #53 on: August 23, 2016, 03:01:08 PM »

I don't understand why you would be rude just to be rude ("blow up on the entire family in public").  Doing so will not change their minds and it will knowingly hurt your wife.  That's extremely immature.  If you can't be bothered to donate items to children who would love to have the crap sitting in your barn, well, I guess there's not much left to say.

Hold your fire.  I'm not saying I'll be rude just to be rude.  I'm saying that I'll blow up after family ignores my wishes after years of being told not to continue with wasteful "gift" giving.  Is it rude of me to say I'd prefer not to get anything (Year 2 of gift giving)?  Is it rude of me to say "I'd prefer you didn't buy presents for the adults because we have too much crap" (Year 3 of gift giving)? 

You're right, it may be rude when in Year 4 I say "I really don't want this stuff" but what's it say about my family when they ignore my wishes after being continuously reminded that I have real reasons for NOT wanting more things.  We've offered up the 529 idea as well as donating directly to charities in our name.  Got the usual "it's not the same" reaction.  Right, it isn't.  This makes sense.  What you're doing doesn't.

The problem with donations is completely separate from this.  Sure, I can give the stuff away but that's after they're offended my family by not respecting our wishes, created unreasonable expectations in our children, cluttered our house for a while, and created extra work for us in trying to get rid of it all.  It seems that the reasonable solution isn't to donate the stuff...it's to not give it in the first place.

Also, donating toys ain't what it used to be.  Some places only accept unopened toys (Toys4Tots, Xmas charities, hospitals, etc.).  Some places don't really accept them at all - wife's a school teacher and they ALREADY have too many toys, won't take more.  Same with daycare.  I can give it away on Craigslist for free but once again, what is the point? Am I really helping a child in need? I don't know.  I'd rather just send the money directly to a charity and eliminate all this transactional friction.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #54 on: August 23, 2016, 04:15:02 PM »
"...it won't get worn before he would outgrow it."

It baffles me that people still give newborns 000s and 00s.

Every mum I know was inundated with 00s. They dutifully cut off tags, washed and folded everything, put the 'obligatory' pic of baby's wardrobe on Facebook, and baby wore less than half before outgrowing it all.

If you want to give clothes, give 1s.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #55 on: August 24, 2016, 07:18:49 AM »
One of the reasons gift exchange is so touchy is that so many cultures see it as a way of developing or strengthening an emotional or social bond, especially when the giver and recipient live far apart. Refusing, exchanging, or not wanting a gift can be seen as a sign of not wanting a connection with the giver. Similarly, the "wrong" kind of gift can be interpreted as reflecting a lack of love or caring, since it's deemed impersonal or even insulting based on the family culture.

The tradition in my family when I was growing up, for example, is that all birthday cakes must be homemade and hand decorated by at least two members of the family, working together. Scratch cakes are preferred but mixes are acceptable. Fugly cakes are also OK. But a store-bought cake was emotionally devastating to the recipient because it reflected a lack of willingness to put time and effort in to create something special. Odd? Yep. But every family develops its own traditions that way, and there are emotions attached.

So I don't think there's any good way to avoid making people uncomfortable if for some reason we have to go against the grain.

charis

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #56 on: August 24, 2016, 08:11:29 AM »

I don't understand why you would be rude just to be rude ("blow up on the entire family in public").  Doing so will not change their minds and it will knowingly hurt your wife.  That's extremely immature.  If you can't be bothered to donate items to children who would love to have the crap sitting in your barn, well, I guess there's not much left to say.

Hold your fire.  I'm not saying I'll be rude just to be rude.  I'm saying that I'll blow up after family ignores my wishes after years of being told not to continue with wasteful "gift" giving.  Is it rude of me to say I'd prefer not to get anything (Year 2 of gift giving)?  Is it rude of me to say "I'd prefer you didn't buy presents for the adults because we have too much crap" (Year 3 of gift giving)? 

You're right, it may be rude when in Year 4 I say "I really don't want this stuff" but what's it say about my family when they ignore my wishes after being continuously reminded that I have real reasons for NOT wanting more things.  We've offered up the 529 idea as well as donating directly to charities in our name.  Got the usual "it's not the same" reaction.  Right, it isn't.  This makes sense.  What you're doing doesn't.

The problem with donations is completely separate from this.  Sure, I can give the stuff away but that's after they're offended my family by not respecting our wishes, created unreasonable expectations in our children, cluttered our house for a while, and created extra work for us in trying to get rid of it all.  It seems that the reasonable solution isn't to donate the stuff...it's to not give it in the first place.

Also, donating toys ain't what it used to be.  Some places only accept unopened toys (Toys4Tots, Xmas charities, hospitals, etc.).  Some places don't really accept them at all - wife's a school teacher and they ALREADY have too many toys, won't take more.  Same with daycare.  I can give it away on Craigslist for free but once again, what is the point? Am I really helping a child in need? I don't know.  I'd rather just send the money directly to a charity and eliminate all this transactional friction.

You can justify your behavior anyway that you want (they don't listen to me..., etc).   There is at least one Goodwill, or similar, in most towns.  Certainly an internet stranger is not going to change your mind.  But "blowing up" on people publicly is called having a tantrum, something that children do because they don't get their way.  If you don't want the stuff, refuse to accept it.  Rinse and repeat as needed.   And try to stop getting so offended by loving family members attempting to give things to your children.

Kitsune

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #57 on: August 24, 2016, 08:30:17 AM »
The tradition in my family when I was growing up, for example, is that all birthday cakes must be homemade and hand decorated by at least two members of the family, working together. Scratch cakes are preferred but mixes are acceptable. Fugly cakes are also OK. But a store-bought cake was emotionally devastating to the recipient because it reflected a lack of willingness to put time and effort in to create something special. Odd? Yep. But every family develops its own traditions that way, and there are emotions attached.

... And you just pinpointed why, at my daughter's birthday party, I actually felt guilty that I hadn't made her cake. (For the record: my sister, who loves baking and makes excellent cakes, made the cake in my kitchen while I made a lunch for 20 people for the party. Like. No actual real reason for guilt there. But family traditions are powerful strings for guilt-tugging).

Things that work for my family in terms of channeling the gift-giving:
1) Start by accepting that my mother expresses affection via material contribution. Telling her 'no gifts' is, to her, saying 'you can't express love for your granddaughter. It's hurtful.
2) Express what we actually need. For example: "Daughter is wearing X size now, so should be good for Y size for winter and Z for next spring/summer. If you want to get clothing, those are the seasonally-appropriate sizes to get." And then we wind up with good-quality clothing that holds up to more than 1 kid and actually fits her during the appropriate seasons.
3) Work in a family hobby. For us... well, we read. I'm clocking in 70 books so far this year, and that's on top of a job and a kid and a husband and a life. We started reading to our daughter when she was 3 weeks old; she now requests specific books and will sit and be read to for 45 minutes straight. You wanna know what to get our kid? Books. Bonus is that they're easy to store. For my in-laws, when my husband was a kid, it was cross-country skiing (so outdoor clothing, mittens, extra mittens, contributions to boots and skis, etc). Work in what you guys do with the kid. 
4) If people MUST buy large items, suggest things that are useful and have a longer life. Bicycle. Wheelbarrow. Contributions to a swingset or play structure. Sports equipment. Good-quality school backpack for a kid starting school. Lessons (sports? music? whatever the kid is into) for older kids (bonus: you don't have to store those!)
5) Make family values clear upfront. For example: violence, toy guns, gender-essentialist bullcrap, TV shows that include significant amounts of passive-aggressive social nonsense or a lot of whining (Arthur and Caillou are no-go, for my own sanity)... Also make clear storage/play issues: "We literally have no yard space for a play structure. We cannot have one. If we get one, it will be donated from lack of space. Instead, could you consider X, Y, Z thing that is actually useful to our family interests?", etc. Or, as I told my mom last year, "Daughter has 2 dolls that she loves, but you can't love lots of things all the time. Instead of another doll, what about some doll clothing, or a bath for her doll, or a doll carriage?" And, voila, doll stroller and toy bath arrived, and get LOADS of play time.

And, then, acknowledge that you can't control what people actually do, and have a large donation basket. In our case: my kid loves 4 stuffed animals and is indifferent to her other ones; new ones go straight out (non-played-with dust catchers I have to deal with, ugh).

Oh, and we rotate out toys, so only some of them are out at any given time. Looks less like clutter, and a toy they haven't seen in a month is way more exciting than the one in the corner they see every day (which then goes into the closet for a month and becomes exciting again).

Making Cookies

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Re: Another ridiculous gift thread/family dynamics
« Reply #58 on: August 24, 2016, 10:16:36 AM »
Good post! Those "forgotten" toys can really delay a Sat clean out. It's like Christmas in another month sometimes when they are little.