My Children Got Too Many Gifts

My children got too many gifts. They won’t like hearing or reading this but that is not why I won’t say anything to them. I won’t say it because I want them to have the same sort of ‘spoiled rotten’ relationship with their grandparents as I had with mine and they don’t need me to throw cold water on their celebration.

But that doesn’t mean that I am not unhappy about this. It doesn’t mean that I don’t get irritated by seeing them receive 2,982 gifts in one night. To be fair it the grandparents aren’t entirely to blame for this. There are other relatives who give gifts and that adds to the pile.

To be fair one set of grandparents only have my children to focus upon so that impacts things. I know that they buy things throughout the year and then save up for the festivities so I can’t say that it is financially irresponsible.

We have differing opinions about the reason and meaning for this time of year. Fact is we have lots of opinions that don’t intersect or even run parallel to each other and that provides a certain number of challenges of its own.

I watch these children of mine smile, giggle and go googly-eyed over their gifts and silently simmer. I try to maintain a poker face and say that the gurgling noise is just my stomach crying over too much fried food. But that is not true.

What is the point and the purpose of this tsunami of presents. They aren’t all toys. There is a healthy mix of books and clothing intermixed with the gifts but they can’t possibly, read, play or wear all these things at once. It wouldn’t bother me so much if they were spread throughout the year.

It is not jealousy that irritates me either. It is not a competition or game to me. Maybe it is a matter of my asking what message they are getting from this. It is not one that I particularly like or approve of.

In the end I continue to let this happen because I have bigger and more important battles to fight on their behalf, but I can’t say that I will continue to stay close lipped about this.

What do you think?

(Visited 291 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Jeff January 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

    It helps that my mom reads my blog and that we have a good relationship with open lines of communication. She/they know what’s up, how we raise our children, and respect and love it. It has produced two appreciative, non-greedy kids. My parents sprinkle, not shower, my girls with gifts at birthdays and christmastime and the result never feels like gorging at a materialistic buffet. It feels right, with several high quality presents that are more than enough to make my kids happy. The funny thing is, my oldest (7) would probably be the first to tell grandma and grandpa if they got her too much.

    • Jack January 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      It sounds like you have the sort of balance that I am looking for here. Everyone means well and I am excited for the kids, but..

      Your daughter sounds wonderful.

  2. Rizwan Sultan December 31, 2011 at 11:32 am


    this is for my mom she got gift from the God as a face of her children. this is a great gift and honest gift ad the cost of this gift is most expensive because this going to be dangerous of her life.Thanks…

  3. Jeff December 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

    This was really the first year we truly experienced this in our household. My oldest son – 2 1/2 years old – only wanted a bicycle, a new chair and books for Christmas. We got him a couple more items because he really enjoyed the small piano we got him last year, so he likes to play around with musical items. That was about it from us. But the grandparents – we have the only grandchildren on either side of the families – brought enough presents to take care of an entire giving tree. I love that my parents and her parents love our kids so much they want to shower them with gifts, but it was too much. My boy was overwhelmed and didn’t want to keep opening presents. I kept a few wrapped up and will just hold those until his birthday. But I had to have the conversation with both sets of grandparents that while I appreciate their efforts, I don’t think they should be outdoing what my wife and I get them. We’ll see how things shape up next year.

    • Jack December 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      Your story reminds me of my son’s third birthday party. He got so many gifts that he fell asleep while opening them.

      It was the sort of thing I would have loved to have had happen to me as a kid, but as a dad not so much.

      It is great that so many family members love them, but there are limits.

      I’ll be curious to see if your folks and in-laws remember your conversation when next year rolls around.

  4. Eryn December 29, 2011 at 1:56 am

    My daughter’s first Christmas, we could have skipped the tree & just piled her presents in a tree shape, there were so many.

    There are still WAY too many presents, but my kids are the only grandkids/great-grandkids on both sides of the family.

    1 thing that helped was cutting the grandparents off from buying ANY gifts for the kids from October 1st through Christmas. I used to get so mad when my mom would “just” buy the kids a present on a whim that was something my husband & I were scraping to put under the tree.

    I had a talk with my mom (the main culprit) & said “Look, you make my husband & I feel like we can’t provide for our kids, when you outshine every gift. It’s hard when you buy EVERYTHING they even look at.” Something in that must have triggered a change in my mom & things have been way better.

    Now it’s lots of educational items, lots of art supplies. Things I don’t mind them getting stacks of…

    Hang in there.

    • Jack December 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      I understand. Grandparents tend to have more disposable income so it makes it far easier to come up with the cash for the gifts that we work so hard to acquire.

  5. Leon Noone December 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

    G’Day Jack and all you parents,
    About 30 years ago at a family Christmas function our four children were running a bit wild. My father in law said to his daughter–my wife–“One word from you and they do as they like.”

    If you work hard and stay on good terms with your children, you’ll be grandparents one day.

    I can tell you; it’s one of the biggest pleasant surprises you’re ever going to get.

    Go easy on the grandparents lest you fall foul of the old riddle:

    ” Why do grandparents and grandchildren get on so well?”
    “They share a common enemy.”

    If you’re lucky, one day that’ll seem very, very funny.

    Have fun parenting

    • Jack December 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Leon,

      I do go easy on them, just ask my own folks and they’ll tell you. Actually my parents will tell you exactly what they think about me without any sugarcoating.

      I don’t mind, they’re good people and smart enough to stick around me. 😉

      One day many years from now I will be happy to revisit your words and see what I think of being a grandfather. I expect I will like it quite a bit.

  6. The Hook December 27, 2011 at 4:45 am

    I bet it felt good to say that out loud (sort of), right?

  7. Tracie December 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Moving away from the gift-buying grandparents on my husband’s side helped us – as shipping costs cut down on the amount of gifts sent. But that isn’t really a solution to your problem (nor is it the reason we moved – just a nice thing that happened as a result of the move).

    My mom likes to buy a lot for our daughter at the black Friday sales, but she and I have a system where she calls me and tells me everything she bought. Then I tell her which things to send for Christmas, and which things to save for birthday and other gift sending days.

    • Jack December 26, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Tracie,

      You have the system that I wish was in place here. Space things out throughout the year and it is so much easier.

      It helps to make the onslaught feel more like a trickle and a not a Tsunami.

  8. Jay Adams December 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    understand where you’re coming from. I had concerns with my kids getting the wrong idea. counteracted it somewhat by getting them to donate some of their toys before Christmas, then try and put aside some new things and bring them out again throughout the year. and finally making sure they looked people in the eye and thanked them before tearing into the next gift. now i’m a grandparent of 5 and trying to find the balance myself.

    • Jack December 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Jay,

      We go through their toys several times a year and try to get rid of toys that aren’t used any longer.

      It helps, but it is not enough.

      And like you we have made a point to make sure that they say thank you. I feel good about their manners, but this toy thing is nuts…

  9. Dina December 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I feel the same way, Jack. My daughter was inundated with gifts on Christmas and I find it to be troubling. What is she learning from this? That Christmas is a commercial holiday? No thanks. There were clothes and books too, but still it is all just too much for any one occasion. My question is, how do you stop grandparents? There is a saying I find to be very true: Children are often spoiled because no one will spank Grandma.

    My solution? When she was sleeping I took all her “old” toys and packed them away then I took half of her new toys and hid them for later. And I’m placing all her toys on a rotation schedule so that she will only have access to a few at a time.

    • Jack December 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Dina,

      I am not familiar with “spanking grandma” but damn that is so very true.

      They mean well but good intentions don’t always go over well.

      My kids are old enough to remember what they received as gifts so I can’t take things away without creating a fuss.

      I am not afraid to do so, but the question is how to do it in a way that doesn’t extend into the outside world. In this case I can guarantee that it will be “heard” by grandparents and that is a problem for me.

      If I am going that route I might as well tell grandma to shape up. No easy solutions here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like