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Am I a grinch?
Old 10-18-2007, 03:43 PM   #1
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Am I a grinch?

So my sweet daughter is about to turn 5 and I am in the midst of planning her party. We requested her guests (fellow kinderkids) bring a new wrapped book for an exchange in lieu of gifts.

My daughter has a room FULL of toys and does not need one more stuffed anything. Also, I find the cheap stuff people tend to buy for these things annoying and adding to the clutter.

We have a new rule that when/if she gets a new stuffed toy, she has to decide one to give away, so the volume is at least not increased - this policy is for the surprise/impulse gifts throughout the year from relatives. (who I already tried to ask to resist these moments).

Also, for the holidays, I try to coordinate with my siblings and parents so they don't go nuts and get her a zillion things, but one or two nice things and maybe some clothes, which she actually needs since she is always growing.

I feel good about these choices, but sometimes I feel like a grinch (or am made to feel that way by my sisters!)

Also, for the holidays, I've stopped giving gifts and donate in their name (family and friends) to a nonprofit (this year will be kiva). Sure I feel good about this, but do others perceive this as grinchy? I do try and give a nice gift for everyone's bday, so everyone gets something at least once a year form me...:confused:
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Old 10-18-2007, 03:58 PM   #2
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I think more parents should do this. I'm sure it will result in your daughter truly treasuring the toys she does have.

We also went the donation route with family. The only thing I didn't like about it was if the relatives chose a charity they liked but which didn't appeal to me.
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:09 PM   #3
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Put yourself in your daughter's position.

I would call you a grinch.

I bet you are the favourite aunt...........NOT!
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:10 PM   #4
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We do the same with our kid, and she still has way too many toys. Almost as many as I do.

As for the grinch thing, we still gift to other kids and let their parents deal with the repercussions.
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:34 PM   #5
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Put yourself in your daughter's position.

I would call you a grinch.

I bet you are the favourite aunt...........NOT!
My daughter's position is what i've been thinking about and I actually loosened up a little. One year i only asked for books at christmas and realized what a dumb move that was. So i make sure to get her at least one nice gift from me (big bow, nice wrap) and whatever she gets from relatives.

The rest of the year we have a "hug and leave" policy of toys at Target and toystores and she get's to fantasize about what gift she wants for her bday and xmas from me and my family...she usually fixates on 2 or 3 and gets them...she's older now and realizes that means one from me, one from each aunt, one from my best friend and has starting telling them what that one thing is per person...

yeah, i'm the unfun one w/ the savings bonds! i do gift to other kids, but for my close friends kids, i've started to reconsider...especially when i know they are overflowing with crap too!
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:51 PM   #6
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BE, have you ever checked out Montessori schools or her educational philosophy?

I'm not an expert, but part of the philosophy is to give kids real stuff rather than fluffy fantasy stuff. Kids take as much pleasure from completing tasks and building things as adults do.

The Montessori environment does include toys, but they tend to be very cleverly designed and well crafted. The clever designs means that they are educational in a way that encourages exploration, and they're self-correcting, so you don't have to show the kid how they work or use praise/punishment as a "training" method.

The "well crafted" bit is supposed to encourage kids to appreciate beautiful and well-made stuff.

Personally, I like the philosophy, but our kid prefers Polly Pocket.
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Old 10-18-2007, 05:56 PM   #7
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BE, have you ever checked out Montessori schools or her educational philosophy?

I'm not an expert, but part of the philosophy is to give kids real stuff rather than fluffy fantasy stuff. Kids take as much pleasure from completing tasks and building things as adults do.
Personally, I like the philosophy, but our kid prefers Polly Pocket.
He he, she went to montessori for 2 years ...helped teach her how to put her zillion toys back in their place neatly. their activities were very cool and interesting - mostly wood, different types of puzzles, counting, and real life activities. the kids used to get to "clean" the tables as a reward!

She likes the littlest pet shop toys w/ the teeeny tiny little animals and parts...i think mostly because her cousin likes them.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:07 PM   #8
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bright eyed, you don't sound like a grinch to me. You've got reasonable rules that provide opportunities for DD to both give and receive. If she gets somewhat fewer gifts than the average affluent kid, she'll still get plenty.

And I think your Christmas gift to charity is a very nice idea, especially since you give birthday gifts. They may think it grinchy, but hey, worst case, they do the same back

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Old 10-18-2007, 07:43 PM   #9
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for years, family and friends have given my kids gift cards from book stores for gifts.
I guess my guys get these b/c no one knows what to get - and they want to give something redeeming and we are all voracious readers. But we use the library - public and school, and since we go through them so fast, it doesn't make sense to spend so much for a few hours of entertainment. So, sometimes we get a book for them them, but mostly I end up using the gift cards to buy books for other kids' gifts.

My kids do not lack for anything, however.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post
So my sweet daughter is about to turn 5 and I am in the midst of planning her party. We requested her guests (fellow kinderkids) bring a new wrapped book for an exchange in lieu of gifts.

My daughter has a room FULL of toys and does not need one more stuffed anything. Also, I find the cheap stuff people tend to buy for these things annoying and adding to the clutter.

We have a new rule that when/if she gets a new stuffed toy, she has to decide one to give away, so the volume is at least not increased - this policy is for the surprise/impulse gifts throughout the year from relatives. (who I already tried to ask to resist these moments).

Also, for the holidays, I try to coordinate with my siblings and parents so they don't go nuts and get her a zillion things, but one or two nice things and maybe some clothes, which she actually needs since she is always growing.

I feel good about these choices, but sometimes I feel like a grinch (or am made to feel that way by my sisters!)

Also, for the holidays, I've stopped giving gifts and donate in their name (family and friends) to a nonprofit (this year will be kiva). Sure I feel good about this, but do others perceive this as grinchy? I do try and give a nice gift for everyone's bday, so everyone gets something at least once a year form me...:confused:
How much crap does one have to give (or get) to not be a grinch?
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:34 PM   #11
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I think part of it is because i feel like I have to say no so much...I remind myself to say yes once in a while just for the heck of it, not just toys, but food/treats etc...
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:50 PM   #12
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How much crap does one have to give (or get) to not be a grinch?
Our friends at the National Association of Toy Peddlers have an answer. Much like buying a wedding ring, a good rule of thumb is to spend two months salary on the little ones material needs to avoid being classified as a grinch. Discounts are available for families with 3 or more children.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:31 AM   #13
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You're doing the right thing. My 5 year old has a lot of toys, but every night he sleeps with "Froggy", a stuffed frog his uncle gave him when he turned 1..........
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:41 AM   #14
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I don't think you are a grinch....I think you are being reasonable and fair. Our society has set the standards that we need to spend loads of money for the people we love, which is a bunch of crap.
I think your daughter will appreciate your love, your time with her, and the memories over time rather than what she got for christmas when she was 4 years old.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:08 AM   #15
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I usually just give money to my nephews. It's easier that way, and they can pool it with their other savings and buy something bigger and nicer than the usual $10 cheap plastic crap from Walmart that I would otherwise get them. They usually get plenty of other $10 cheap plastic crap from walmart from other folks. I've never heard any complaints about receiving a nice crisp $10 or $20... Maybe my relatives think this is a thoughtless gift, but who cares. It isn't any less thoughtful than buying cheap plastic crap.

I have the same problem as you do, Bright eyed. Too many toys as it is, yet we get more and more every christmas and Bday. Not sure what the elegant solution is though.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:55 AM   #16
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I have the same problem as you do, Bright eyed. Too many toys as it is, yet we get more and more every christmas and Bday. Not sure what the elegant solution is though.
Part of the reason for my current grinchiness is because of previous over indulgance - leading to the accumulation we have now. it was first time mom, combined with first time grand parents, aunts etc! we were all spoiling her at the same time!

then, when we moved closer to the family, it took a series of impassioned plees from me to get my dad in particular, to stop indulging every desire of his first ever grand kid...he was her child care after pre-k, so it wasn't just like he saw her once per week or month which i might over look. it was almost daily some toy or junk food entering my house or her body. my daughter actually cried very hard the first time my dad said no to her because she started getting used to him saying yes. but she got the message, mostly! he he

Slowly, one by one, they started to "get it" and have learned to say no. but we still have a lot of the stuff we accumulated in her first 3 or so years (silliest part was that she was too young to really appreciate most of those things). we've purged all the junky stuff, so most of what we have are things she really enjoys and will play with for a while. the main problem is that she really enjoys a lot of her stuffed animals (rotates which one she plays with pretty evenly!) so there is still a little too much in that category, but finally down to somewhat of a manageable load.

so i'm a reformed spoiler... and it's great for her to learn how to prioritize her wants, i just am trying to balance with being too restrictive.

my sister asked her what she wanted for her bday today and guess what she asked for?

1) french fries 2) some doll from disney...
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:16 AM   #17
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It's hard not to spoil the first child but you did the right thing to rein it in .I was guilty of spoiling my SO's granchildren but I finally had to put limits on it as more grandchildren appeared . Now I'm going to have my first grandchild so all bets are off !
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:48 PM   #18
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Well, today was her actual bday and she got:
+a p*lly pocket cruise ship doll house (uggh!) w/ a zillion tiny plastic pieces, luckily it folds up
+ a littlest p*t shop set with 3 little pets and some accessories
+ a tr*nsformer mask, you put on and it warps your voice (it's actually kind of funny).

this from the 2 aunts. she was very happy and enjoyed it all very much! i just know at least 80% of those pieces are going to end up under the bed, couch etc. and disbursed in other random places - mostly by her younger toddler sister or the dog!

but thank goodness, that should be the end of the toys! she'll get a book from her party, and some clothes from other relatives, instead of a dozen more glorious plastic things...

my friend's daughter ended up with about 3 different doll house sets, and 10 different barby-esque dolls from her mega party a few months ago, and they live in a tiny condo which is already full to the max too (they've gotten this much stuff every year)! their living room was flooded with the stuff till they figured out what to do with it (basically flood the kids room, with no walking space in it and piles and piles and piles of stuff) and they kept offering to give some stuff to my daughter! i kindly said we had no room...

now i just have to get through the rest of the holidays!
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:41 AM   #19
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One thing that helped us was involving our kid in a garage sale when she was 3. She was the greeter and in charge of selling cookies, but she got hooked on the idea of selling our old stuff to people.

So, now she identifies some of her stuff that she'd like to sell at the next garage sale. She's also scheming about various upselling opportunities. We've created a capitalistic monster, but it should help thin out the toy herd.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:49 PM   #20
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I generally agree with the comments so far, except about the Christmas gifts/donations - I think if you're going to give a gift to someone, it should be something they want. That's the whole idea of giving a gift - showing you care about someone and you were thinking of them. So although Christmas makes me crazy sometimes, I don't give donations instead of gifts unless I know the person thinks like me
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