Thoughts on the children’s Xmas haul this year

  • Our brothers and sisters in law spent less on our kids this year than in previous years.  This is a good thing.  Maybe next year we’ll also spend less on them (we spent about $50/kid, mostly on books), but probably not because I love picking out and buying books.
  • We spent Christmas at the in-laws’ this year, which means we opened presents there.  MIL is going to end up spending a ton to send the presents home.  I don’t really know of any way to suggest just letting amazon send the bigger stuff directly to us so she doesn’t have to do that.  But also she probably likes watching everybody open gifts.  And presumably she doesn’t want cousins to feel like they’re being treated differently.  But there are so many gifts that I’m not sure anybody notices.
  • DC1 got a Nintendo DS.  And since DH had mentioned earlier that it was probably too expensive for hir to take to school given the number of times DC1 has lost hir cheap flip-phone (that thankfully nobody wants to steal, so it has been recovered each time thus far), DC1 also got a Kindle Fire.
  • The problem of DC2 getting the same gifts as hir slightly older same-gendered cousin is getting worse.  And we couldn’t just confiscate those gifts either (for the most part) because DC2 saw them at Christmas and MIL is planning on taking them out of the packaging before sending.  Putting on the wish list what DC2 was into in general terms didn’t help much.  Zie got some stuff related to that, but still got lots of stuff zie isn’t interested in that hir cousin likes.  Nor did it help to say explicitly on the amazon list that DC2 wants what DC1 gets (though my mom paid attention to that and got both of them rubix cubes!)  One of the items was so bad that I actually did take it to MIL and tell her we couldn’t accept it– it had crossed a line (I didn’t say it like that though, it was more like could you give this to hir cousin, we don’t really approve of this show).  I know it’s easier to keep things even across grandkids if she’s getting the same stuff for them, but maybe she could match hir up with the opposite-gendered kid who is about the same age instead of the older same-gendered kid?
  • So we’re still struggling with what to do about our in-laws bounty, particularly for DC2.  They still get DC1 really cool stuff even if they’re over-generous (mostly things that hir somewhat younger cousin already owns and loves).  They did get some of the things off the amazon list for the children, but in the end my mom ended up buying most of it just before Christmas.  And that stuff, along with the stuff we got hir, has gotten a lot more playtime out of it.  DC2 just really isn’t into the same things hir same-gender older cousin is into.
  • One thing that did happen that I’m embarrassed about… I was talking to BIL about presents, I can’t remember what about exactly, as we were going up the stairs, but I mentioned that DC2 seemed to get the same stuff as his kid, and he said, “that’s good because they like the same stuff” and I was all, “well, not really, DC2 is really into what DC1 is into.”  At which point we turned the corner and saw my MIL.  So, uh, maybe this will resolve itself?
  • Why can’t the cousin be as into Bubble Guppies (and other gender-neutral stuff) as DC2 is?
  • Sometimes getting the same gendered stuff for both cousins works… DH’s sister got them both a gendered-craft kit that they both loved and spent many hours working on.
  • DC1 may have gotten all the cousins addicted to Batman.
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20 Responses to “Thoughts on the children’s Xmas haul this year”

  1. Sarah Says:

    lurker here: one way we’ve gotten around bullet point #2 in our extended family is that the large things are shipped directly via Amazon, but the giver prints out a picture of the gift, folds it into a little paper packet, and wraps the packet to put with the other presents under the tree. That way, there’s still the experience of present-opening, but less hassle of shipping. Maybe your MIL would be receptive to that?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s a good idea. I don’t know if it will work in our specific instance if the other 4 kids are getting actual presents because they’ll be driving home. (If DH loses his job, we’ll be driving next year too and the problem will be moot.)

  2. Rosa Says:

    I’m glad it got some better! Can you take on the shipping yourself in future? You can actually take stuff straight to the post office and buy boxes there if you just disregard cost – they’ll even let you use their tape.

    We actually had a great low-key Christmas and everyone got exactly what they asked for, for the first time ever. Even though some of the asks were for very practical, non-present stuff. Learning happens!

  3. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Today’s action item: Ignore the Meryl Streep distraction and start making calls about the upcoming cabinet hearings that are happening before all candidates have gone through ethics review.

    List of senator contact info: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

    Item 1: Call your senator: Say, “Hi. I’m calling to request that Senator ______ call for a delay in cabinet nominee hearings to allow for a proper review by the Office of Government Ethics and time for relevant committees to review their reports.”

    Item 2: Jeff Sessions for Attorney General (hearings Tues/Wed)
    Call: Chair Chuck Grassley 202-224-3744
    Call: Incoming ranking member Dianne Feinstein 202-224-3841
    Call: As many other members of the Judiciary Committee as you can if you feel as strongly as I do that Sessions is unfit to be AG Senate Judiciary Committee Members
    Call: Your own senator

    Say, “I am calling to oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General because I believe in the rights of gays and lesbians and people of color.”

    It’s ok if you have already called about Jeff Sessions. Call again.

    Item 3: If you’ve gotten to Item 3, then click here for more: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/actions-for-americans/awO3zwHTxRU

  4. Becca Says:

    Tiny rant: why are craft kits so dang gendered?

  5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I was JUST thinking that I now have to make a note for JuggerBaby’s Christmas and birthday gifting now because ze is apparently old enough to start getting many electronic toys and I hate being flooded with new toys that creep closer and closer to gendered because ze has more same-gendered cousins than not.

    Plus ze doesn’t need all these THINGS. It’s making my “reduce all the things” soul shiver.

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Just got the packages. She added more stuff! Oh well…

    With most of the new stuff I remember her trying to send it home with BIL. That must have failed.

  7. crazy grad mama Says:

    Each family group in my extended-family-in-law gives a round of cheap toys to all the cousins, and of course the boy cousins always get trucks, trains, and Hot Wheels. Although Little Boy likes vehicles, he’s not passionate about them; him getting a truck is lovely, but him getting *only trucks* is aggravating. Have some creativity in gift-giving, people!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We give books and we call the parents before purchasing so they don’t get duplicates.

      Back when dc1 was in preschool they still did present opening at parties and the little girls opened Barbie after Barbie after Barbie. Little boys got lego kit after lego kit. (Except from us…we give books and a random toy from our gift closet.)

  8. SHU Says:

    Interesting about the generalizing to gender (and the matching-to-older-same-gendered-cousin gifts, ugh!). I also prefer to give books at parties (it generally just seems so much less wasteful than a box of throwaway plastic . . .) but I do need to start calling / emailing to make sure ppl don’t have what want to order for them, because I always worry I’m just creating a duplicate, especially with popular titles.

  9. First Gen American Says:

    There was a fair amount of drama about over giving this year that caused much heartache and tears with certain family members. I called it stupid rich people problems. I try not to stress over quality or quantity of presents anymore even if it is wasteful. People still usually buy stuff based on their own values and hang ups, not necessarily to those of the recipients. I did the same myself. It was very hard to give more stuff to a hoarder even though more stuff is what the person wanted most.

    MIL just moved into a tiny apt and got a bunch of “decorations” that she immediately had to get rid of because she had no room for. I was very happy to find new stuff at goodwill when I was younger and poorer so now it’s best to just see it as charity and not get too hung up about it. I do hate those presents that break before Xmas day is over though.

  10. Emily Jividen Says:

    My sister in law gives my daughter tons of gendered toys, and while she’s loved it in the past now we have “I don’t like princesses…or pink…or (name your conventional girl choice.)” This is an abrupt change from Little Bit’s previous outlook. I don’t know if she’s gotten oversaturated in pink or if she’s just maturing to where she is less concerned with what others think of the things she likes (this has been a major topic she brings up.) But she’s been home 3 of the last 4 weeks due to holidays and icy roads, and, basically, she’s just played Minecraft or gone outside. Her toys (other than the new sled) sit untouched.

  11. Rented Life Says:

    Gift limits were an issue here too. Mom got way too many things. Other than some really yuck clothes she did get some things I suggested/approved. The one thing they got that I explicitly said no to (not age appropriate, not approved, and not a good fit) ended up disappearing after kiddo went to bed. Zie hasn’t noticed. In fact the favorite toys are the ones that I suggested or bought. Its gonna be a long road-zie isn’t following strict gender norms jr my parents are all about that BS. Birthday just before the holiday had all decorations normally deemed for opposite gender. It clearly made them uncomfortable but given that all I heard about for two weeks was wanting those decorations….I’m gonna make my kid happy.


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