Holiday presents from family

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Holiday presents from family

    I am curious as to how other families handle/will handle the whole Chrsitmas present situation for infants. Here's my background and why I am asking. I currently have a seven-week old baby. Everyone we know has been extraordinarily generous to us, both at showers before baby's arrival and since his birth. We have more clothes and stuffed toys than we know what to do with! Here's the rub. LO is the first grandchild on my side. My mom has passed away, so immediate family is just my father and brother. Brother is single, no kids. He is also the godfather. The godmother is my cousin, also single & no children. Brother and cousin LOVE LO to pieces, but really have no clue as to what is appropriate for an infant. Cases in point--brother bought a whole bunch of clothes for LO when he was born, all sorts of designer stuff he found in NYC. It's beautiful, but all sizes from 24 months to age 5! Cousin came to see LO over the weekend and brought a "Blow Me Kisses" Elmo. Super cute, but it says clearly on the package for age 18 months +. They (understandably) don't realize how little he is and what is developmentally appropriate at this age. Brother has already mentioned looking at drum sets for Christmas! LO just found his hands and the only thing he repeatedly grabs is my shirt or his burp cloth! DH & I live in a small space and worry about what to do with all these presents for "later". Brother & cousin also get disappointed when LO doesn't show any interest in what they've brought. (Dad just gives us cash to buy what we need because he hates shopping.)

    So, we've tried to gently explain where LO is developmentally, but they don't seem to listen. With Christmas approaching, we're worried about being innundated with well-meaning, but inappropriate gifts. Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas for handling it? DH & I were thinking of bringing it up at Thanksgiving and having a list of things LO needs (not as "fun" as designer clothes and a drum set), but we don't want to appear rude or ungrateful.
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    IMHO, you shouldn't address this.  If the gifts are too old for LO, put them away for the future.  The only way you can tactfully tell them what to get LO, is if they ask.
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    We have been overwhelmed at the generosity of our friends/family as well, but we are in a slightly different situation. (our DD just turned one) We have a lot of immediate family on both sides (both of us have divorced/remarried parents, siblings plus step-siblings), but most are pretty good about knowing what is a good baby gift for age at gift-giving occaison. What we did for her birthday was to try and spread the word that we were starting a college fund for her. It isn't as much fun as stuff, so we suggested getting a small gift and the rest of what they wanted to spend could go into her college fund. So far it has worked out pretty well. I'm not sure what will happen at Christmas, but since we are travelling to visit, I'm hoping to use the "only a little room in the car, please think small" line.
    Did you register for anything before LO was born? If so, remind your relatives of the registry, and anything still unpurchased. If you didn't register, now might be a good time. It is essentially the list of useful things, but (a) it can allow your dad to buy something online if he hates shopping (b) it provides hints to your baby-less relatives, and (c) it is a socially acceptable way of letting people know what you want to get.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from bgal8203. Show bgal8203's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    I have probably broken several "rules" of etiquette since my first daughter was born, but I've always been upfront about what both girls "needed" for Christmas.  Yes, I sent out Christmas lists.  We lived in a small apartment for our daughter's first 2 Christmases, and space was at a premium.

    I have also informed family in the past that they didn't need any more noisy toys or stuffed animals. 

    Our families do this, even the adults send out Christmas lists, so I don't believe anyone was offended.

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    Oh - a second thought, just because a toy says it is for an age, use common sense to see if it is really not appropriate. For example our DD loves the idea of telephones. She will try and grab the phone to play with, or if that is safely away from her, she will hold a block, her shoe, any other object, up to her ear and babble at it. So for her first birthday our daycare provider gave her a toy phone that says 18+ months. But it isn't a choking hazard, and she clearly knows what to do with it, so we are all happy.
    (And it is another example of getting presents from someone completely unexpectedly...)
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from culhasa. Show culhasa's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    We get way too much stuff for every holiday (my MIL buys the kids presents for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's day - it is nuts but she doesn't listen when I say not to buy them certain things)....we just pack the stuff in the basement and slowly take it out over time (or some times we regift it!) 
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    Seeing as these are your closest family members, I see no problem with addressing the issue at Thanksgiving. I routinely ask my family what they want for Christmas and set dollar limits, etc.  In fact, I have an email circulating now. We each let each other know what we would like, and the dollar amount we plan on spending on each person.  You could bring it up in a general way like that so that it covers everyone, not just LO.

    In case anyone missed it, kiwigal said she has limited space, so putting age inappropriate gifts in storage isn't an option.  My suggestion, assuming you can't redirect your family into giving LO gifts that he can use, is craigslist or ebay.  Take whatever money you make and either buy what LO needs or put it in his college fund.  Good luck. 
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    My only suggestion is that when people suggest things--like a drum set for a newborn--that you direct a comment towards baby and playfully say in baby talk something like "Mommy thinks you're too young for a drum just found your hands and can't even sit up yet.  How about (insert better idea here) instead?!  And maybe NEXT year, Uncle can get you a drum set?"  It's indirect, and there's no guarantee the gift-giver will catch on, but it has the benefit of planting another idea in gift-giver's head while letting him/her know that when the gift THEY want to get you will be age-appropriate.  And hopefully you won't be risking offending good-hearted, yet clueless, people.

    Another alternative is that when you receive gifts you can't use right now and don't have room to store, that you ask the gift-giver (a day or two after receiving the gift) if they still have the receipt (assuming they didn't include it in the package).  Phrase it like:  "That (insert useless gift here) you got for LO is SO cute, but LO is just too young for it right now and we don't have anywhere to put it until LO is ready for it.  I was thinking that LO might really enjoy (insert appropriate gift here) right now (or in the very near future) and I was hoping to exchange it and get that instead.  If they DID include the receipt, just exchange it for what you want, and then, if they ask about it later, offer the above explanation when they ask (otherwise, don't mention it).

    It's not easy when people have no clue!

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from scottb1212. Show scottb1212's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    I think that no matter what you tell people, you will always get gifts that are unwanted or not age appropriate. I have found that there are some websites that you can go to to make a wish list to show to family and friends. I just joined this site: and you can post a list for what you child already has, and what they want. The list is private, unless you invite others. So you can invite friends/family to see what your kid(s) want then they can mark off if they want to get that item. You can add prices and links too.

    I invited my family, and it should make all the gift giving situation easier for both birthdays and holidays.
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from culhasa. Show culhasa's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    Sorry - missed the part about limited storage.  If your family is like mine or my husbands, regardless what you say they will get what they want.  I second asking for the receipt or selling on ebay.  Good luck.  It only gets worse as they get older!
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from whatawagSBNy. Show whatawagSBNy's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

         I got a kick out of a coworker the other day, sitting with a kind of bemused expression, looking at a blank cement wall.  I made the usual chit chat, waiting -

          She said her mother had asked what her year old boy would like for his Dec birthday, and she had snapped and said-  a  place to put the fifty things he has gotten since he was 3 weeks old (last Christmas)  and every time anyone visits, that he won't use until he is 3, 5, 8, or in grad school.  Plus a place for the 10 more he is going to get for his birthday and the 30 more he will get this Christmas!  Meanwhile, he does not have bibs or 1 yr old size sleepers, and I can't afford to buy them! 

           Her Mom just tut-tutted and went off to play with the baby.   But she came over unexpectedly the next day with Rubbermaid Tubs she had used to keep her teen (now grown) kids out of season clothes in and said- 
         Your Dad and I grant you the use of your old playroom closets and shelves for 8 years, for storage.  Sort the nice- for- later things by age into these tubs.  By the time baby is 3 and your little ones (Mom pg with twins)  are taking all your money just for basics, you will be glad to have a storeroom to browse through every month or 2 for new toys and books and clothes.   But we will probably sell the house before grad school, so I only brought 10 Totes.
        The gift of storage space, 15 miles away!

         One of our most unexpected wedding gifts, given 3 months before the wedding, was a large self-storage unit in a secure, indoor heated facility.  We were living in a rented place with a 2 yr lease.  We thought it would expire in a few months when  we would have to start paying the monthly fee, but they spread the word, to anyone not sure what to give them for a gift...We ended up with 16 months fees paid in advance from a bunch of people who gave us things like a cedar chest - and 1 month storage.  Sets of sheets - and a month's storage.  Ten large re-useable Totes- and 2 months storage.

        If the gifts are nice, maybe you need to let someone know you have a storage issue.  Even if someone installs closet maid shelves in the upper 3 feet of an underutilized closet, or gives you a capacious chest with a seat cushion on top for the baby's room, a savings plan for toys, you benefit.
           And awareness of the problem they are causing might just make them think twice about the next gift.

         Meanwhile - gift suggestions-  cloth, paperback and hard cover books are getting so very expensive,  suggest - any 5 books you loved as a child, from the pre-school storybook section.  Or an  Anthology work -  Stories, poems and fables,  or some other "read to " collections that will be good from 2 to 8.  The one DH just bought a niece for Christmas cost  $88 with the sturdy binding, illustrated, about 10 inches tall and containing things from itsy bitsy spider to Robert Frost's Walking Through the Woods on a Snowy Evening,  ee cummings on fog and cat's feet,  Kipling stories-  wonderful, and something worth the price.  If the book is unused for a while, it's time will come.
        Also suggest CDs of the Wee Sing series (timeless rhymes, finger play, ballads that tell stories, camp fire songs )  a nice series that can be added to year after year, very compact to store.
          A rarely thought of gift that seems to appeal to givers- small Helium tanks, for home parties, and bags of   big, shaped and regular balloons.  So you can blow up one or 2 balloons at a time to put over a birthday table, or play with, practical for in the house if you blow up balloons with half regular air first (so they hover just above baby and don't drift to the ceiling.)  If you have a supply on hand, you can dispose of them when they begin to deflate, so you do not keep hazards around,  then blow up more in a few days.  Kids love balloons, always.
         As for stuffed animals-  you may see them as a 1 at a time toy, but kids of 2-6 have tea-parties with 8 animals sitting round the Lego's Tub (table), make rows of animals and throw balls to knock them over, and hold them like puppets for fantasy play.  Hang on to them.  Later, youncan encourage son to give one to any gust child to play with and take when they leave, his first real (something of his) gift giving, but less painful because he can choose one of the lots he rarely plays with.

         Get your family into the frame of mind of things that last and are good for many years, not novelties and electronics.  Anything the Children's Museum or Museum of Science sells in their toy shops is a good gift at some point, and worth starting a collection now for later, whether storybooks and blocks or a kid's microscope or mirror kit.

    Also - the top Tote had 2 packages of bibs and a week of footed sleepers, sized for 12 to 15 months.  Mom's do understand!
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from amunro. Show amunro's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    For the items you already have:
    What about donating the toys that are inappropriate? If your space is at a premium and you cannot store for later use, give the toys to an organization that can get it into the hands of someone who can use it now. They will especially appreciate brand new and unused items still in their packaging!

    Here is one organization that could benefit from your generosity:

    For future items:
    "DH & I were thinking of bringing it up at Thanksgiving and having a list of things LO needs (not as "fun" as designer clothes and a drum set), but we don't want to appear rude or ungrateful."

    I think being honest and upfront about what LO would appreciate is a great idea and does not make you appear rude or ungrateful. This is your BROTHER and your cousin, not random strangers. They should in theory be open to your feedback about what your family needs.

    "So, we've tried to gently explain where LO is developmentally, but they don't seem to listen." 

    Perhaps this is more a case of ignorance than not listening. Actually giving a list of suggestions would benefit you all around! Shopping for a newborn is actually harder (especially for childless individuals) than one would imagine. Most people don't realize that children can't physically do a whole lot for the first 3 months. It's also possible that the family members don't know about your storage concerns or haven't considered them.

    I would also suggest that anything you need in the next year should go on the list. I liked the suggestion from another person about checking out the baby registry.
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from rysmom. Show rysmom's posts

    Re: Holiday presents from family

    Kiwi - I haven't read all of the post but I would be honest with your family especially if they ask what to get.  Maybe a discussion for your brother would be "a drum set sounds like an awesome gift but maybe you could wait until he is (insert age you want to have him have a drum set) to do that.  Then he can use it."  For my son's first Christmas we asked for and got diapers and formula.  We were so appreciative of that.  Money was extremely tight and it helped a lot. As you know, the baby isn't going to know what he got.  It's just getting the family on board that is difficult.  Good luck!