Christmas Gifts and Overzealous Grandparents

What to do about grandparents who give too many Christmas gifts

Is there such a thing as too many Christmas gifts? You bet there is. Read the story of our first child's first Christmas and how we handled overzealous, but well-meaning grandparents.

Too Many Gifts!

I'll always remember the very first Christmas of my very first child. My husband and I (on a very limited income) had a great time choosing a few toys that we knew our 9-month-old son would especially like.

We decorated our little apartment with the few Christmas decorations we had. The tree had just a few gifts under it, but each carefully chosen and would be appreciated by the recipient. Everything was peaceful, uncluttered and calm.

Enter the grandparents...

We hear a knock on the door. There stood two piles of presents. Behind the presents were a well-meaning grandma and grandpa. We were shocked. They came in, deposited the presents in front of our little Christmas tree... and went out and got more!

They brought in a second load.

They brought in a third load.

No joke. By this time, we didn't think it was a joke either. Our living room -- literally filled with wrapped gifts was no longer peaceful. And this, all for one 9-month-old baby boy who had no idea what Christmas was or what a present was.

Handling the Situation

The best way to avoid the above situation is to prevent it in the first place. But before you even begin to prevent it, you have to understand the grandparent's line of thinking. What causes well-meaning grandparents to go berserk on a gift-buying frenzy? Here are a few reasons:

1. They are excited
2. Christmas gifts for children are cheap, cheap, cheap - easily bought in HUGE quantities without spending a lot of money.
3. They want to make an impression and be the "good" grandparents
4. They have a set amount to spend on each grandchild and they spent it all on inexpensive, plastic toys.

Before the holiday season begins, sit the grandparents down and have a talk. Explain that you don't want your child's Christmas being too commercialized. Tell them you understand how fun it is to buy the toys, but you really don't have room to store them.

With our grandparent "situation", the problem was they had decided ahead of time the amount they would spend on each grandchild and stick to it. They wanted to be fair and treat all the grandchildren equally - a noble intention gone wrong.

We just had to point out that it was too many toys. Instead of spending all the child's money on plastic toys, suggest they buy just a few special Christmas gifts and deposit the rest in a savings account for the child for college or a first car.

If you take the time to figure out why the grandparents are buying too many Christmas gifts for the grandchildren, you will have a better luck combating the problem. If not, grin and bear it. You'll get your revenge when the Christmas gifts your children choose get increasingly expensive with each passing Christmas.

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