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Do You Restrict the Number of Gifts Your Children Receive?

Our little one will be less than three months old by the time Christmas rolls around this year. However, despite his young age I have a feeling that our families will inundate him with bags full of goodies. While he certainly won’t be able to count the number of gifts he receives I don’t want to set a precedence for Christmases to come.


I want our son to feel blessed and loved, but I don’t think he needs a room full of gifts to demonstrate those two things. I would prefer our families to buy him a small number of presents. Honestly, I’d prefer just one or two. He’s simply too young to appreciate most of the items he receives and so small that I fear most of his gifts won’t even be played with.

Of course, I also don’t want to disappoint our family by asking them to spend less on their new grandson. I certainly don’t want to downplay the joy and excitement they have for our son’s first Christmas.

My husband and I purchased savings bonds for my niece and nephew until they were five. We always bought them one small gift they could open, typically story books for their libraries.

I certainly don’t want to ask my family members to buy them savings bonds, but I would like them to know that we want to limit the amount of gifts our little one receives if possible. I hate to think of all of the money that will be wasted on toys our son will outgrow quickly and/or never play with.

So I’m wondering if any of my glorious readers place a restriction on the number of gifts their children receive from friends and family members. If so, how did you approach your friends and family about your desires?

Also, do you think I’m being a bit crazy about wanting to restrict the number of gifts my son receives? A friend recommended accepting whatever gifts are offered and then donating whatever we feel is excessive. While that might work with a gift received from a distant relative it certainly won’t work for family members who see him on a weekly basis and will wonder where his gift is.

One Frugal Girl

Sunday 11th of December 2011

@Andrea - I love the idea of suggesting a limit because he's so small and if we receive too many gifts anyway I adore the idea of holding back a few so we can rotate them. That's a tip that'll work for quite a few years. it's great that your family was open to your idea of limiting gifts and even better that he has such a meaty bank account already!

@the merry - i've definitely witnessed gift overload on more than one occasion. The children receive so much that they can't appreciate it all.

@Robin - I appreciate your comment. If your mil is happy to buy gifts & you are happy to receive them then everyone wins. It's certainly nice of you to dress your child in the clothes he receives so your mil knows he gifts are appreciated. I try to do that whenever we receive gifts from friends and amity as well. It makes them feel special.

Robin

Wednesday 7th of December 2011

I never restricted gifts or clothes. It brings great joy to our families to buy things for our son and I wouldn't want to deny them that. My mil buys most of his clothes and shoes and generally shows up with a new outfit every time she sees him. Rarely do I return or exchange them. She LOVES buying clothes for him and who am I to deny her? She also can well afford it and my inlaws are paying for his education so that's not an issue. I make sure he is wearing something she bought every time she sees him and she is happy :)

Don't think you know what he will play with and what he won't. They change so rapidly that a toy that wasnt of interest this month will be the next and a variety is a good thing.

The Merry

Wednesday 7th of December 2011

Extreme example: I knew a woman whose brother-in-law had been a firefighter who lost his life on 9/11. His young children were SWAMPED with gifts that Christmas. They couldn't cope with it all. On a smaller scale, I think many children get overwhelmed with gifts this time of year. And thn they get jaded.

Andrea @SoOverDebt

Wednesday 7th of December 2011

With close relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) I think it's fine to just say, "He's too little to understand gifts anyway. I'd really like to do something to help start saving for his future. What would you think about doing one or two gifts - maybe one toy and one outfit - and if you want to do more, you could contribute to [savings bonds, savings account, etc.]?"

We did that when my son was a baby and he now has over $6000 in savings, plus several thousand dollars in savings bonds. I'm so glad I encouraged everyone to help save for him - I didn't insist on it, but I let people know what my wishes were.

My son still gets a ton of gifts - I usually put most of them up, other than a few favorites, and rotate them when he gets bored. It's like Christmas every month or so!