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Upstaged by Grandparents

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#1 mm1981

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:39 PM

I will preface this by saying I am really happy that my children have loving and involved grandparents. I know that no malice was involved in this but I still feel a little sad.... Should I say something or will it just come accross as petty and ungrateful?
We celebrated Christmas today with the in laws as we will be away Christmas Day. It was a wonderful day, lovely lunch, good laughs. And they are really lovely people.
But the amount of presents the boys received was crazy.  We arrived and sat down at the tree. I could see the tree was filled to the brim with presents. They each had two MASSIVE Santa sacks full of presents. These were as big as garbage bags and probably had at least 15 individual presents. MIL told the boys they were from Santa.
Then there was the presents from them. A bike, helmet, a massive car garage and toy cars. But the most upsetting was the 3 Lego sets. Yep 3 Lego sets.
I guess I am a little sad because it felt wrong that all the "Santa" gifts were purchased by someone else and there was so many. I have a little Santa stocking for each boy, but it has a few little toys and lollies in it, nothing to the extreme that was given today.  
But most sad, because the 'big' present I had bought for the boys was 2 Lego sets. Although they are not the same as the ones PILs bought, they are smaller ones and plus they have been playing with them all day already. I just feel like Christmas morning they will be totally underwhelmed by the little sets they recieve from us.
Although we are not poor, we recently have had a few cash flow problems so we are not able to buy the kids Big presents, although all the things I picked for them I thought they would really like and thankfully enough they are not old enough to care about price.
So WDYT? Am I just been petty or should I say something? This happens every year, but just this year as my oldest son is getting older it really bothered me. I don't want to sound like the ungrateful DIL and I know we are lucky we have such involved grandparents.

#2 Duck-o-lah

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:46 PM

This happened to us the year before last. Mum and my SIL went absolutely bonkers with the gifts for DS! I know they had an absolute ball buying him all the gifts so couldn't bare to rain on their parade.

Approaching the next Christmas I casually mentioned that DH and I would not be overdoing it this year, as last year DS was so bombarded with gifts he seemed a bit over it and uninterested in some of the gifts I was excited about giving him. They got the hint and toned it down original.gif

#3 Tooties

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:46 PM

I'd talk to your DH and get him to say something.

I think it sounds like, while your in laws are being involved and generous, they're a bit oblivious to what they are doing.

DH had to talk to his parents about this kind of thing a few years ago.  When SS was hitting 'milestone' birthdays they were wanting to be the ones to give him significant gifts such as a watch, a bike or a golf set.  DH pointed out to them that they had their opportunity to do all that when they were the parents and now they were the grandparents they had to respect that it was his turn to give those things, be the significant gift giver in his son's life.  He pointed out that they were taking experiences away from DH as a father, despite how generous they were trying to be.

#4 MrsLexiK

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:47 PM

sad.gif come Christmas morning they would have forgotten what they received today. I wouldn't stress too much, one set of grandparents used to go all out and this was followed by a family function where a bunch of presents was bought for us. I still remember being so excited the next day on Christmas morning.

#5 Soontobegran

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

I told my children what I was getting for their children for Christmas so that we didn't double up so next year perhaps you should have a chat beforehand.
Do you have a chance to go and swap the Lego for something else before Tuesday? I know it is a nuisance but at least you will feel as though they are getting something at their home which will be memorable to them.
You could also ask your in laws to ease up a bit for next year but TBH I have probably indulged my grandchildren this year too because I can and because it gives us great pleasure. The children are not spoilt and over indulged throughout the year by either us or their parents so it feels ok to do this once a year.
We've bought nothing hugely expensive but a few things that I know they 'need' or want but if by chance one of my children told me to spend less next year then I would respect their wishes.
Don't let it spoil the day OP. Just make a plan to change things for next year.

#6 intd242

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

wow, that sounds like *a lot* of toys!!

If this has happened for a few years, I'd say something. Could consider approaching it from a few angles, ie running out of room, too many toys, not all being played with etc. (could consider rationing the toys out across the year?)

You could ask that they put some money into the kids bank accounts for schooling, 18th present etc instead of buying lots of toys ... or just ask that they cut back.

#7 ElevenYears

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

You will get a lot of replies telling you to suck it up and be glad they're interested, but I always disagree with those.  It's not like there can't be a happy medium between completely uninterested and unloading most of a toy store on your doorstep.

I actually think overgifting is a form of selfishness.  The giver is thinking about how they'll feel watching the child open the present and hasn't put a moment of thought into how it feels to be a kid who has never actually yearned for anything because all they have to do is glance at something and grandma buys it for them.    Or who never feel that genuine excitement and anticipation because they're always opening something.  Another day, another gift, even if they are well brought up enough to say a genuine thank you.

It's such a waste for kids to have more toys than they have free time to play with or appreciate.  And yeah - when you know the grandparents gift like that you have to keep things to a minimum because there's no point adding to the overkill.

I've said something to them.  I'm not worried about being upstaged.  Absolutely not!  But I am worried about my kids associating grandparents with stuff rather than with the pleasure of their company.  I don't care if they give the most super, coolest gift every Christmas, as long as they don't give the 15 coolest gifts every Christmas.

My grandparents loved me and I loved them and the $10 we got in a card each Christmas was cool.  I didn't need to unwrap 15 things every Christmas for their interest and care to be a palpable thing.

ETA:  My inlaws have given my kids most of their 'milestone' presents so far - first bike, first amazing doll, first scooter etc.  I don't mind this at all.  They are elderly and won't be here for all of the childrens' Christmases and I love that they will have these milestone memories of their inlaws.  But a bike is an amazing gift and doesn't need to be accompanied by so many other things as well.

Edited by Eight.years, 22 December 2012 - 08:52 PM.

#8 laridae

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:54 PM

I would be very annoyed - for one, how can they be santa presents when santa doesn't come for a few days?  Not sure how old your kids are, but surely they will question that at some point.

Your DH or you need to let them know that if they want to give 'santa' presents - then they'll need to give them to you to put out on xmas eve.  Or let them know that they've had their turn to play santa, its now yours, so to not do it.

#9 FiveAus

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:01 PM

I've got one granddaughter, her parents have separated in the last few months, and yes I have indulged her this Christmas. She's only 15 months old and will be spending Christmas Day with us (my eldest son is her dad), and because I don't get to see her very often, I've gone a wee bit overboard....but it's not mass produced department store toys, it's a handmade doll, some really nice clothes and some gorgeous baby swimwear. And a pretty, girly sippy cup that I just couldn't resist.

I wish my kids had been made to feel a bit "special" by their grandparents but they were four of many and they just got a small inexpensive gift each year, and now they're grown up they get nothing.

#10 erindiv

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:02 PM

That's a ludicrous amount of presents.

I'm sure the grandparents mean well, but I can see where you're coming from.

#11 Roobear

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:03 PM

I would find it weird if my parents or the IL did santa presents... in my circles that is the parent's domain.
I would feel annoyed if either grandparents did that especially with the lego. My mum asked me what DD would like so they are buying her a water table and my IL will get her something like a fischer price toy. I have bought the kids all their santa presents and a few from us.

Edited by Roobear, 22 December 2012 - 09:04 PM.

#12 Kay1

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:04 PM

I actually think overgifting is a form of selfishness. The giver is thinking about how they'll feel watching the child open the present and hasn't put a moment of thought into how it feels to be a kid who has never actually yearned for anything because all they have to do is glance at something and grandma buys it for them. Or who never feel that genuine excitement and anticipation because they're always opening something. Another day, another gift, even if they are well brought up enough to say a genuine thank you.

Very well said!
Your DH or you need to let them know that if they want to give 'santa' presents - then they'll need to give them to you to put out on xmas eve. Or let them know that they've had their turn to play santa, its now yours, so to not do it.

And absolutely this too. I adore doing Santa and the other presents for my kids. I would be really upset if my inlaws did what yours did. I would ask my DH to sit down and have a chat with them and explain where you are coming from. Its way too overwhelming for little kids to get so many presents and it takes away from your enjoyment of seeing them excited about the gifts you have chosen for them.

#13 ~mummydear~

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

My mum does this sort of thing, for birthdays and Xmas. It drives me insane every year. And every year I tell her not to go overboard, that last year was way too much stuff etc, but she still does it. This year I almost thought I had it sorted, she has bought a trampoline for DS and commented that she won't get much else to go with it. Great I said, please don't buy anything else, that is more than enough. The next day when I spoke to her, she listed off a bunch of other things she's also bought for him and then this morning when I spoke to her, another toy again :s I hate it and the worst thing is that every year the load of stuff seems to increase.

#14 strawberry blondes

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:07 PM

My parents over spend every single year. We are having cash flow problems this year and can't afford to buy the girls many things so I am really grateful to my parents for making the girls christmas extra special.

I wouldn't say anything OP, sounds like they adore their grandsons and couldn't resist each purchase. You  also sound like you have a lovely relationship, it's not worth spoiling over presents.

#15 Riotproof

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

Not sure where you stand on santa, but for us, Santa only brings little things in the stocking. I think it's reasonable to ask that they don't give santa presents.

#16 Julie3Girls

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

I think your DH needs to talk to them.

I would object to the huge amount of supposed "santa" gifts.  Santa comes on Christmas eve. And it sounds like the sheer amount of gifts is just ridiculous.
I could understand them getting carried away. Having bought gifts for the kids and ending up with a few too many - maybe including an extra "santa" gift ("Oh, Santa left this one here by mistake"). But a whole santa sack, let alone two?????

They had their turn. They need to leave the santa stuff to you, the parents.
So I think that would be your first step - it sounds like doing that, you would cut out a huge amount of gifts.

You might also find that the number of gifts might cut down naturally as well - as they simply run out of ideas of what to buy them!

#17 seepi

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:14 PM

I would say the kids were asking a few questions about when santa comes, so next year could they not do santas gifts as it is confusing.

It is hard to ask them to just get less - they may struggle. could you channel them towards more expensive stuff you wouldn't buy like leather football boots or branded disney stuff or something. Or maybe expensive swimming lessons.

#18 mm1981

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

Thanks for the replies. I knew I was been petty I just needed some perspective.

I guess the other problem is we have a really small (2 bedrooms, although only really one bedroom as we used the second as a study) so I have no idea where this stuff is going to fit. It is still in the back of the car for now! I guess we may need to do a toy cull tomorrow!

Still a little sad but I guess I will suck it up!

#19 Chardonnay Buffay

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

I would be annoyed that the gifts came from 'santa'. For us Santa comes on Christmas Eve. But I would be stoked that the grandparents cared enough to give anything at all.

It's much more hurtful when the grandparents don't even bother to call the children. Let alone send them a gift.

#20 Madnesscraves

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:17 PM

That's insane. I am sorry they did this. You need to speak to them and tell them that that was going overboard. As PPs said, they've had their chance to be parents,now it's yours. Scale down the gifts.

#21 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:23 PM

Take the line that 1- you don't have the storage, 2 - with so many things they do not use everything, pieces get lost and it's hard to manage., 3 - santa comes once.

I'd get your husband to say something first, but also follow it up yourself.  Next year in November you could ask her what her plans are.

FWIW, I was going to give myself the signature "they don't play with their toys because they want to play with you" as a reminder to myself about what the kids really want.  The have heaps more fun playing with a box with me than with any toy they have.

Keeping toys together takes a lot of work, it takes away from other things you could be doing.

#22 Magenta Ambrosia

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:24 PM

If it makes you feel better - there can never be too much Lego from a kids perspective.

#23 Starrydawn

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:28 PM

It wouldn't bother me at all. Sometimes  we go overboard in our family and other times we don't. It all works out in the end.

#24 iwanttosleepin

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:36 PM

I would be firm.

Santa presents come on Christmas Day and are bought by the parents.  Grandparents do not do stockings.

The joy of Santa presents is giving without any thanks.  And it's a joy for the parents.  Grandparents have already had their turn.

#25 roses99

Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:39 PM

It will depend on your relationship with them, but I wonder if it would be worth making a suggestion to the GP's for next year. Rather than risking criticising what they bought, you could just let them know that storage will be an issue soon and maybe they would like to consider an 'experience' gift in place of some of the toys. Most kids would love to be taken to Seaworld/Dreamworld/Ice-Skating/Movies or whatever, by their grandparents and it would give them special time with the kids. They could still buy toys (and I wouldn't stop them from buying the toys, as it gives them a lot of pleasure) but it might encourage them to tone it down.

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