Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What To Do With All of These Gifts!?

Have you entered our current giveaway? It ends Thursday at 9 pm! 

Christmas is only days away (Hey!I said that without hyperventilating!) and the excitement will soon reach a fevered pitch at our house. Inevitably, my children will receive more gifts than they need, and, also inevitably, I'll have to find room for their new treasures. (Uh-oh. Somebody hand me a paper bag....!)

To prepare for this, I try to do a clean-out during the month before Christmas. I have a pretty good idea of what they're getting from their Mammaw and Pappaw and, of course, I know what they're getting from their daddy and I so, with that in mind, I go through their toys and clothes and try to get rid of enough of the "old", that the new things will already have a place ready for them before the gifts are even opened. (For some reason, the children find it easier to part with items when they know that good things await on Christmas morning!) I'll take everything and sort it; some to go to the thrift store, some to consignment, and some to a friend.

There have been Christmases when my children were nearly overwhelmed with Christmas presents. Because we didn't want our children to become spoiled and ungrateful my husband and I began cutting back long ago on the amount of gifts that we gave them (which wasn't always real hard...most of the time it was out of necessity).  Still, especially when all the grandparents were living, the children got way more than they should have. And, when one family member in particular was coming for visits quite often, they were nearly buried alive with gifts. It's a tight line to walk--when you know they can't possible keep all of it, but you don't want to be a meanie and snatch their new toys out of their hands, and you don't want them to be unappreciative and start to eye gifts with a "do I really wanna keep this one?" mentality. I can't stand to hurt anyone's feelings! So, we sometimes do the "one-in-one-out" thing. They have to get rid of something of equal size to keep one of the new items for which we don't have space. In all of the shuffling of things, it becomes clearer all the time that we just have. too. much. stuff. We're slowly but surely learning our lesson and doing better at controlling what comes in because that's much easier than getting it out! But in the case of sweet family members and friends who give those extra gifts to our children, I do find that the policy I mentioned above works rather well.

All that being said, I never, ever want my children to receive a gift with ingratitude. Ever. It's inevitable that they will be given a gift that isn't age appropriate, or a "repeat", or just a gift that they don't particularly like.  I think that their attitude about receiving that kind of gift depends on the attitude they pick up from us. I know a dear lady who is anti-clutter nearly to a fault. She's extremely practical, which isn't a bad thing, but because of that she has a tendency to appear ungrateful if a gift seems useless or impractical, and I've seen similar attitudes in her children as well. She probably doesn't even realize it. So, while situations like that can be tough, it's important to train our children in the art of tact. I've tried to drill it into my children, "No matter what it is, smile, say "thank you", and find something nice to say about it! It was very kind of this person to give you this gift, and you don't want to hurt their feelings!" So far, so good. :)

Do you have any ideas of how to handle an overabundance of good will at Christmas? Please share!

(With all of this in mind, that new idea on which we'll be working before next Christmas is sounding better all the time! If you've read my previous post, you'll understand!)


  1. Wow, as I am reading this, my husband and I are just calling it quits from yet another night of going through and purging our kids' "stuff!" ugh. :-) It is so true that they have too much. I feel like I could have written your post. Our very well-meaning parents and family members have over-indulged them. And, so have we, on many occasions, but really have had to pare down, due to financial necessity, as well as principle. :-)

    Just today, I brought two full bags to a local thrift shop that donates their proceeds to charity and it made me feel really good. I think it is really hard for the kids even to be able to play with what they have because there is just too much and nowhere to put it. That leads to things getting pushed, shoved and forgotten.

    I do try, as you said, to teach gratitude in all things to our kids. No matter what the gift is, I teach them to say thank you with a smile and "make a fuss." They are really doing well in that department, thank God. :-)

    I pray that you and your family have a beautiful and blessed Christmas and that your kids enjoy all of their new "goodies" that I'm sure you made plenty of room for! :-))))

    Many blessings,

  2. Sounds like we think in the same vein! :)

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas as well! I'd love to meet you all sometime.

    Thank you so much for stopping by, and for taking the time to comment.


  3. This is something that we all face in today's materialistic society. I've TRIED to institute a policy that if something new comes in, something old of the same general type goes out. It doesn't always work that way...but it's a start! =) It's especially difficult when one child is shall we say extremely sentimental about many items...but I've also witnessed said child outgrowing that phase, so maybe there is hope for another one I see exhibiting the same tendencies... =)

  4. I have one of those. She's extremely sentimental (she get's that from me) and hates to get rid of everything! We're working with her, though, and I think we're making headway. I think. :)