I’ve mentioned before that we don’t buy Christmas presents for our children other than stocking stuffers. This year is no exception– I still need to buy candy and I picked up some fun smaller items to stick in the stocking, but other than that we’re done with shopping for the children.
Why don’t we buy Christmas presents? Because my in-laws are insanely generous and they seem to be able to pick out stuff that DC1, at least, loves. (DC2 hasn’t been around long enough to know how ze feels about the in-laws’ taste.) They buy tons and tons of presents and if we added more it would be even more overwhelming.
Some people get upset at grandparent generosity. They resent the buying etc. I mentioned my in-laws’ habit the other day on a blog and someone said they had the same first-world problem and it made her angry.
It doesn’t make me angry, because the in-laws are getting joy out of picking presents and they live far enough away that we don’t actually have to show them the gifts. And some of the gifts are pretty spectacular– the kinds of things I dreamed of growing up (train sets, a giant wooden castle, a bicycle, a real microscope, a wii, etc.). But some portion of the presents end up unopened in our gift closet for other kids’ birthday parties because there’s only so much space and only so much a child can play with over the course of a year.
It’s weird because they give more to my kids each Christmas than I got from my entire extended family and Santa combined growing up. My own grandma would give one really nice present to each of us (like a porcelain doll) at Christmas when we were kids.
My FIL is stuck in a job he hates where he has to work a lot of unpaid overtime. I can’t help but think that if they were a little less generous with the grandkids, that they would have more financial freedom now. But it isn’t my place to say anything, and if they cut back it would also affect the other grandkids whose families have different values about Christmas and presents. They are scrupulously fair about these things and each grandkid gets exactly the same dollar amount.
So we make up for it by not doing any Christmas gifts ourselves. Except the stockings. We save what we would have spent and it will be there in the future should the in-laws need it. (Though they probably won’t given that they’re in the last generation of generous pensions.)
Did you get a lot of stuff for Christmas as a kid? Are things different today?