How To Keep Gift Giving Under Control
With the holidays just beginning, my husband and I have been thinking about how to address guidelines we’d like to set around gift-giving for our daughter (mainly, how to we keep gift giving under control). Because she’s the first grandchild on his side, and the first local grandchild on mine, we have a hunch that the holidays are going to be filled to the brim with gifts for her. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful by any means, as I know it’s all done through love and consideration for her, but at the end of the day, she’ll be just nine months old and we are anticipating a lot of, well, STUFF.
There’s a fine line between letting grandparents be grandparents, to love and spoil their grandchildren to their heart’s content, and letting parents be parents, trying to raise a child aware of the world we live in and who is grateful for what they have. How do you keep gift giving under control? More specifically, how do you find that balance without stepping on toes or offending anyone? And how do you get them to respect your parenting choices?
WAYS TO KEEP GIFT GIVING UNDER CONTROL & MANAGE THE OVERFLOW OF “STUFF”
While we haven’t yet found a solution for our family yet, there are a couple of traditions my husband and I have learned from our friends with older children that we would like to adopt once our daughter is old enough. We hope these will help manage the overflow of “STUFF”, expand her lens of the world around her, and teach her to appreciate what she has, as well as the gift of giving.
For each new toy she receives, we’ll ask her to donate one toy. And by donate, I mean more than just setting it aside for mommy or daddy to drop off for donation. We want her to be involved in the actual donation, by either physically bringing it and putting it into the donation bin, or better yet, visiting the organization to learn more about how her donation will impact others. We hope that this gives her an opportunity to be more involved and learn how she can help others.
I recently spent some time with some of my colleagues volunteering at Cradles to Crayons, a wonderful organization providing the essentials to children in need. We helped sort and pack clothing, winter gear and toys for children in need, and I have to say that being in that warehouse seeing all the donations and learning about the number of children the organization helps each year really brings a different perspective to the act of donating. I hope this is an activity we can do as a family when our daughter is older.
Cycling toys in and out. What was once new becomes old, which means a child will often lose interest. But take it away and hide it for a month or two and it suddenly it becomes a “new” toy when it’s revealed once again. It’ll also help us begin to seed values around appreciating what you already have as opposed to the constant need for the latest and greatest new toy. It definitely works for me when I rediscover old clothes (that fit) in the back of my closet. It’s like I went shopping without having to spend a dime!
Back to the holidays, which, I don’t know about you, quickly snuck up on me this year! I’d really like to set a limit on gifts, be it a number of gifts, types of gifts, or a maximum price tag to help ensure we don’t end up swimming in piles of stuff that our daughter will outgrow before she can really appreciate them. I have been given Amazon Wish Lists in the past for various children’s birthdays and holidays. As the gift giver, I actually found this super helpful, but I always like to add a little something on top of the gifts they’ve chosen to put some thought and personalization into the gift. But I have yet to do this on the receiving end. What do you think, is this practice viewed as tacky?
Have you set any gift-giving guidelines for the grandparents or other family members? I’d love to hear your advice!
- Family Room blog: Simple Ways to Teach Children to be Grateful
- Family Room blog: Baby’s First Birthday – How to Celebrate
- Family Matters parenting webinar: Growing Givers: Raising Socially Responsible Children
I’m a first-time mom, employee of Bright Horizons and a foodie who loves to cook, travel and laugh. In my free time, I like to pretend I know how to use my DSLR like a pro and do basically all things creative (major DIY-er here). I’m excited to share some of the ups-and-downs of parenthood as my husband, two dogs and our newest addition explore life as a family of five!