So… many… toys…

#1:  we still need to do a bunch of stuff before the party tomorrow… like get plates and cups and forks and make cupcakes… and candles
DH is like… can’t we just reuse the ones from hir real birthday? (They came in a pack of 4)
Um.  NO.

Oh lord, we’re going to get so many gifts… argle.  DC doesn’t need any more toys.  I understand why parents love the books

#2:  keep a running list of who gives what and regift to anyone except that kid!

#1 : yes
so much effort though.  If only Toys for Tots was sooner!  There’s always the Goodwill closet.

#2:   YES.  And who knows, maybe someone will move to your neighborhood or department with kids that need toys.

#1:  there are a lot of kids, but I don’t think anybody needs toys.  I think we all have too many (in terms of the neighborhood and department) (not in general)

#2:  maybe you can make a blog post calling for an end to the madness in children’s gift giving.

Next year: Convince DC (s)he wants a book-themed party.  Then probably (s)he’ll get a lot of books.

#1:  we have all the books ever written

#2:  if teen relatives get pregnant, send them the extra kids’ books.

#1: we’re good at regifting books
but you can’t do “no gifts” because most people bring gifts anyway, and then the few people who don’t bring gifts feel like crap (speaking from experience as a rules follower) (we did bring a food item)
and you can have a book exchange or something but that’s pressure on the parents to buy a specific thing that may not be easy for them to obtain on short notice

#2:  try some sort of wording like “DC is really into art supplies so please bring a related gift and help hir use them all at the party!”  Then they take the art projects HOME with them afterward.

#1:  yeah, the problem with that kind of thing (miss manners doesn’t approve) is that folks can’t use their own regift closets, they have to go to a store etc.
We decided no restrictions was the most polite thing.

#2:  “DC is really into helping in the kitchen.  For your gift, please bring your favorite recipe for hir to make later and a story about why you love it.”

#1:  that doesn’t work because they bring a recipe AND something (AND it’s a lot of work for the parents).  Except the people who just bring recipes– they then feel like crap.

#2:  I suck at this game.  People suck.

#1: I sucked too.  You have to experience these alternatives to understand why they don’t work first hand.

#2:  sigh.  sometimes I hate this culture.

#1: yes. I don’t think IBTP for this one though.  I blame mass consumerism or something.  And it isn’t like we don’t like gifts.  We love gifts.  But there’s just so much stuff, it’s overwhelming.  If the in-laws weren’t so generous this wouldn’t be so much of a problem.  This is such an upper middle class problem to have.  I hope that DC is super generous and gives unopened things away when (s)he’s older to people who don’t have so much stuff.

#2:  Yeah.

#1:  UPDATE:  The Toys are AWESOME.  (S)He is going to get to keep them all because I want to play with them!

Gentle readers:  Do your children get inundated with presents?  Have you figured out a polite non-intrusive way to stop the madness without hurting anyone’s feelings?  Or do you just give in and play with the cool stuff yourself?

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10 Responses to “So… many… toys…”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    I find that by not buying my kids toys the rest of the year, all the toys they get at Christmas and their birthdays are not too overwhelming in terms of space and quantity. After a year of playing with the same toys, they are also ready to donate the old ones to make way for the new ones.

  2. Becky Says:

    We’ve only had Christmas to deal with so far (our LO will be 1 at the end of February), but so far it’s worked telling people (that we are close to that ask about gifts) that we have a small apartment, so not much room for toys. That excuse won’t work for everyone, but you could do a similar thing where you say “We only have (this small amount of) space for toys, so please keep that in mind.”

  3. bogart Says:

    Honestly this has not been a huge problem for us. I tuck toys away (meaning when they come out again on the next rainy day they are “exciting” again) and make selective use of regifting, hand-me-downing, and Goodwill.

    Don’t get me wrong, our house is full of childclutter, but not intolerably so.

    Though this reminds me, behind our shed sits a spring-mounted horse that needs to go the way of the dinosaur but that I am reluctant to actually get rid of because DS was so, so very fond of it at a younger age (and may yet be again). And that’s got to go in the trash, because only duct tape (on its overused, fractured plastic body) is keeping it operational at all — definitely not re-usable, and marginal even on the usable.

  4. Lindy Mint Says:

    I think it’s an unavoidable evil. Unless you are comfortable with people looking sideways at you.

    I always pray for small, unobtrusive toys. And then I clean out the toy box when the kids aren’t looking and take a big pile to Goodwill. Or for the older child, I tell him that Santa sent us an email saying he can’t bring more toys because there is no room in his closet.

  5. Everyday Tips Says:

    We always got a ton of toys. We always put some away and would pull them out months later and then donate some.

  6. First Gen American Says:

    This is truly a tough one. My kids have a lot of toys. When I was growing up, I literally had none, so when I did get a toy from a relative, I was overjoyed. Now that same relative gets disappointed when my own children aren’t as giddy with joy at the gifts they get. Now they are labeled as spoiled and ungrateful. My kids have many more generous people in their lives than I did so the quantity of stuff can almost be overwhelming sometimes. I try to be thankful that my kids have it better than I did, but I worry about them having too much.

    We mainly put most of the toys in the attic. My kids love the attic because they always discover things that are a novelty that would have been too much to enjoy or appreciate on Dec 25th and 26th. Rotating things in and out of the attic has worked well and kept the living room clutter to a dull roar.

  7. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    I always feel guilty when I confiscate hir toys… I feel like they were given to hir, not to me, so I shouldn’t. I still do put new things ze’s grown out of or that aren’t parent-approved into the regifting pile, but not as much as we would if I didn’t feel guilty!

    We honestly don’t buy any toys. DH’s parents are incredibly generous (even when we were living in a too-small space). They didn’t have much when DH was little and I think they’re making up for it now.

  8. Lola Says:

    I know some families that have picked a charity for the gifts, for instance, having a pet themed party that asked guests to bring a donation of pet food or toys for the local animal shelter that will be given in the birthday kid’s name. I think our Humane Society has even developed a kit for giving a donation party, and it also has a recognition wall to post photos of the birthday child bringing in the donations (with various pups/kitties in the photo, as allergies allow, I guess!), etc.

    It sounds like your child and party guests might be a little young for this concept, but maybe in the future…

    We had a period of lots and lots of toys from parties, holidays, etc. As with a lot of stages of parenthood, it will eventually run its course.

  9. Money Reasons Says:

    What Everyday Tips and Thoughts said :)

    My 10 year old son wants a ipod touch for his birthday… :(

  10. MutantSupermodel Says:

    It’s always too much. I hate the toys. I’m such a pouty McScroogy face. I only give books as gifts now because of how much I hate toys. I have to clear out their giant playroom and am dreading it. I always freak out about whether or not I’m getting rid of some really prized toy I know nothing about. Then again, if it IS so really prized, wouldn’t I know? I asked my daughter the other day to help me clean up a bit and if she found any toys she didn’t want anymore that I could give to kids who don’t have any, to put them on the sofa. Well she did and *I* freaked out about what she chose. Blegh. So brainwashed.


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