When gift giving is difficult or the recipients have lots of rules
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 11/16/2013 by Eleezybeth in NSBR Board
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PierKiss
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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:11:42 AM
Screw those rules. Buy them something you think they will love and be done. Those kids need a little fun.

OSUBuckeyeFan
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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:22:42 AM
In my opinion, if they're tweens or teens, they LOVE giftcards and cash. I usually get my nieces ages 13 and 15 a giftcard to Aeropostale or American Eagle. I was told this year that the 15 yr old wants cold hard cash to put in her Trip to France 2015 fund(for French Club at school). The 9 yr old niece, I get her arts and craft supplies...anything is good for her.
Now I have an 8month old nephew. He'll probably get some kind of toy...he's special needs though and cant even sit up on his own yet.

My son gets giftcards to GameStop, ToysRUs and Walmart. And he's ok with that.




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AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:24:06 AM
Regift the sh!tty gifts she gave your children last year. Replace her sh!tty gift this year with something your kids will love. Win-win.

Edited to add - take your nieces/nephews out for a fun day with your kids. Movies & pizza, the zoo, amusement park, baseball game. Give them the gift of your time because their mom sounds like a real Debby Downer.

heltr
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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:25:29 AM

I should add, she gives my children a coloring book, a pack of crayons, a pair of Pjs and an ornament (she has given the oldest the same ornament 3 times. When asked she said she got them at a going out of business sale years ago and will be giving them until they are gone.)


I would go with gift cards that you give directly to the kids and when you get the passive aggressive comments about not putting time into shopping for them be passive aggressive back that "your kids appreciate the obvious thoughtfulness and time that went into their gifts" I would also comment that her rules are so limiting that you could find anything that met her criteria that your niece and/or nephew's would actually like. In the future if she doesn't want gift cards she must supply a list, otherwise gift cards will be given.

*luanne*
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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:30:44 AM
I think you should give a drum set or a goldfish in a bowl

Wowser, really that is a lot of rules. Do what your gut tells you.


Luanne

anxiousmom
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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:33:24 AM
The only problem with throwing the rules out the window is that the kids will possibly get the pleasure of opening the gifts only to have them taken away and not being allowed to play with them. Screw the rules and a big F-you to the mom, but the kids are the ones stuck in the middle.

The passive aggressive response of giving what she gives also only disappoints the kids. They already have all that. I love crayons and coloring books for kids, but goodness, most kids have tons of that stuff and it is SO not exciting.

I like the idea of spending a fun day with the kids, but it sounds like this is more about your mom than you and she is randomly denied access to the kids so a day doing something fun could end up not ever happening.

I don't know what I would do. Probably save up some money and do the ultimate grand gesture and take the kids to Disney for the weekend. Give the kids their tickets and force the issue with the SIL. Who can tell the kids that they can't go to Disney?? Especially once the tickets are in hand.

But that's me and Disney is in my backyard so it wouldn't be a huge loss if the mom pulled a bitch and stopped them from going.

I don't know how to solve it. Except that when the kids get older mom will lose the helicopter control and you can step in.

ETA: I would get in the habit of slipping the kids money every time you see them. Or randomly sending some in a card. There is NOTHING that will win you favorite status like being known for providing bank. LOL


scrappychick13
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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:37:45 AM
How old are the kids? I would go with something potentially messy like a science kit. She can't say science is useless! I would also inform her that unless she starts providing a list of acceptable toys, you will be buying whatever strikes your fancy from now on. I'd say she's an a$$hole, but a$$holes are actually useful!

CMHS
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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:38:23 AM
I like Free Bird's idea. Your sil is ridiculous.


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Posted: 11/17/2013 7:48:50 AM

I would decide what kind of aunt I want the kids to remember me being.. and buy accordingly.

Yes, within reason. Something I would have given any other child --- not something just to "punish" the mom or "teach her a lesson." At the end of the day, it should be about the children.

The thing is with people like this, you will never win. My former MIL was this way about receiving gifts. I tried and tried to crack the code that would make her happy for many years... then realized the futility of it. Her problem; not mine. I continued to give her gifts (thoughtfully chosen for her) and no longer worried about her response. Very freeing.








CountryHam
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Posted: 11/17/2013 8:18:01 AM

she gives my children a coloring book, a pack of crayons, a pair of Pjs and an ornament


Is this a bad gift? I admit I am not a big fan of receiving Christmas themed presents on the day itself since it's not usable till the next season though. I don't allow lists but these very things are things my daughter wants. She hopes she gets "enough coloring books to fill her closet" and a whole bunch of jammies. She's in the 8-10 year old range.



mel660
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Posted: 11/17/2013 8:25:45 AM
I have not read all the replies but do you live close to them? If you do get them something that they can play with at your house whenever they are over.

Melinda

myshelly
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:06:26 AM

I have not read all the replies but do you live close to them?


If you *had* read the replies you would know the answer to this.

Why are people willing to reply but not willing to read the thread?


melanell
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:06:44 AM

A bank account you have control of, so the kids can have a down pmt on a car years from now


This is prob. the best bet, because I absolutely would not be surprised if she throws away whatever you buy those kids.



PEArfect
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:21:37 AM
My first thought was gifting them an outing with you so you could spoil them for a day, but you said you don't live close.

Does your sil take away the unwanted gifts that you send them? If not, I would just send whatever you want and bear the complaining from your sil. Just remind yourself that you are doing it for your nieces and nephews. It would be worth it to me to make their Christmas special.


Jen


beanbuddymom
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:22:34 AM
I can honestly say that I am now truly thankful for my inlaws, because up until now I thought that THEY were the pickiest. They have truly been dethroned by your SIL!! Sorry, that really is awful. Your poor brother, is all I can say.

I may be out of turn to say he may need to man up and let his kids have a decent childhood. Not letting them have legos or lincoln logs or anything pink or noisy, oh good god. She needs to take a pill or something.

It is too bad you live too far because I was going to say to take them to something like the Nutcracker or a sporting event or concert or something. I'd be willing to give your brother coupons for free babysitting and have him bring them over so they can play with pink legos and make some noise.

She does realize, she is going to create monsters with these kids, depriving them like that? I see it in every parent that prohibits to the degree that she does. Well I can't say to the degree that SHE does as I have never heard anything that prohibitive in my life, but to a few degrees below, even.




beanbuddymom
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:25:18 AM
I also would like to add that I don't think coloring books and crayons and pjs are a bad gift. My kids personally love all of those and would not be unhappy getting them. Of course maybe my kids are not the norm, however, they LOOVE pjs and DS loves art and I don't know a kid that doesn't love a new box of crayons, so there's that.




Sue_Pea
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:27:53 AM
What about some really fun art supplies? Not coloring books and crayons, but paper, different kinds of markers, stamps, etc. or would that be too messy?

She sounds like a real control freak. Your poor mom.


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Eleezybeth
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:34:07 AM
Thanks for the validation ladies. I **really** do try to keep the peace, but it is getting over the top.

For more info...
kids are 10, 8 and 6. I do not live close enough. My mom does, but is not allowed to drive them anymore so therefore excursion type gifts are out.
We are financially better off than them and they have struggled off and on over the years. They have been doing much better the last 4-5 years. Regardless, she is also cheaper than cheap. The Pjs, crayons and coloring books aren't exactly a bad gift, but year after year and always with the price tags left on. The pj's last year still had the clearance tag from Kohls on them. She got a great deal.... In total, she spent about $5 on each of my kids.

She is NOT, I repeat NOT a neat freak. No, no, no completely opposite. This is also a point of contention between her and my mom. Mom once gave them the gift of housecleaning per my brother's request for his gift. That did not go well...

I really don't want to punish the kids. They don't deserve to be caught in the middle. I also contribute monthly to their college fund which I manage (parents don't know about it) and have thought of giving them coloring books and put the $$ into their college fund.

paperkrafter4life
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:36:21 AM
why not just cease the gift exchange and politely tell her
You know you have so many rules on what we can and can't give your children I have decided this year Lets just not exchange gifts the kids don't need any more toys or Christmas ornaments and I have absolutely no Idea what we can get your children that will meet your specifics. So no more exchanging...........then you yourself just use that $$$you would have spent and do something special for your OWN children who will appreciate it and the time YOU spend with THEM.
LIfe is way too short to deal with unnecessary crap like HER>

anxiousmom
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:40:00 AM
Would she even let you take the kids for a weekend getaway with your mom? I know you said that you live too far away for a day of fun, but what about a weekend?

The beach, Disney, etc.?

I think it is awfully cool of you to help with the college fund. I wish that you were my kids aunt. You could give them what they want, take them where you want and in general, be the cool aunt.

Nantini
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Posted: 11/17/2013 9:40:30 AM
Ok, somewhere along the line you need to have a serious talk with her. Just pick up the phone and call. And if she's not home leave a message that says you are thinking of getting the kids a puppy and want to know if they have a preference, boy or girl. The kids will overhear the message and will always think you're the bomb. She'll call you back, promise.


rosiekat
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Posted: 11/17/2013 10:49:31 AM
Can you buy them a new mom?

I can understand maybe *feeling* a certain way - for example, I would really rather my children get no candy because we have serious SERIOUS sneaking issues with DS - and yeah, I would kind of rather no batteries - and yeah, there are some things I just don't like at all...

But I would NEVER, NEVER say this to anyone! If they asked, then I might tell them, depending on the relationship, but as the one kid on Full House used to say..."How rude!"


Jen


Eleezybeth
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Posted: 11/17/2013 10:53:24 AM

Ok, somewhere along the line you need to have a serious talk with her. Just pick up the phone and call. And if she's not home leave a message that says you are thinking of getting the kids a puppy and want to know if they have a preference, boy or girl. The kids will overhear the message and will always think you're the bomb. She'll call you back, promise.



Can I be your friend? This is perfect! LOL! Grandma will be my happy accomplice.

peasful1
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Posted: 11/17/2013 11:41:10 AM
I'd buy airline tickets for them to come visit. "Give you a break, SIL!"



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IPeaFreely
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Posted: 11/17/2013 12:36:16 PM
Here's what I would do. First I would get them all their own personal game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos. It's the noisiest games on earth. Then I would find the smallest Legos available and buy a shitload. Screw her rules. Seriously, I would not pay any attention to them. If she's throws the gifts out, so be it. What a bitch.

IPeaFreely
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Posted: 11/17/2013 12:43:42 PM
Ok, I just got up and am kinda cranky. I think you should give her kids the exact same gift she gives yours.

SueSume
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Posted: 11/17/2013 1:33:55 PM

I have not read all the replies but do you live close to them?
----------------------------------------------------------


If you *had* read the replies you would know the answer to this.

Why are people willing to reply but not willing to read the thread?


Time

That's the short answer. (IMO anyway)

I think it's great somebody wanted to help/reply, even if their time was short.


In the time it took to hand slap, the question could have been answered for them.

(no, do not live close)


I, on the other hand have LOTS of time this morning to read all the replies, answer the OP
AND to hand slap


OP I love the combined answer of FreeBirds "words you're looking for are thank you" and the puppy phone message of Nantini's Genius!


*********Sue Who? *******


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Miss Lerins Momma
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Posted: 11/17/2013 1:54:10 PM
I'd get one a rainbow loom with lots of bands, one a Despicable Me 2 "fart gun", and the other one lots of hot pink legos. Screw her and her demands. And ignore her passive aggressiveness. Just ignore it.

Or better yet, give her kids $5 each cash. Since that's all she spent on your children.








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finaledition
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Posted: 11/17/2013 1:56:18 PM
My sister in law gives my kids "the gift of time". Unfortunately my kids know their aunt is cuckoo and it's pretty torturous spending time with her, but since you seem to be the cool aunt, I'd go that route. Either pre-purchase tickets to someplace or fills basket with objects representing what you'll do that day.
My SIL is a nut. She is the worst thing about holidays so I sympathize.
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snugglebutter
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Posted: 11/17/2013 2:10:06 PM
If she doesn't want them to have toys with tiny pieces, you can always accommodate that - with giant stuffed animals!





Sara


rhhdk
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Posted: 11/17/2013 2:13:45 PM
Have your mother to ask your brother og SIL take her buying gifts for the kids -
or ask them to buy the gifts for the kids on her behalf, but let them bring it to her so that she can wrappe it.

Many year ago we made "a deal" with some of my DH extended family, that we don't gift each others kids, not because of rules or something like that, but because it was hard to find something for them





rhhdk
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Posted: 11/17/2013 2:16:48 PM
Have your mother to ask your brother og SIL take her buying gifts for the kids -
or ask them to buy the gifts for the kids on her behalf, but let them bring it to her so that she can wrappe it.

Many year ago we made "a deal" with some of my DH extended family, that we don't gift each others kids, not because of rules or something like that, but because it was hard to find something for them





*ingrid*
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Posted: 11/17/2013 2:29:51 PM
I would probably call and ask to speak to the kids and then get ideas from them. Tell them you want to buy them what they like or need or ask them which store they would like to have money to spend at.

You're abiding by her "rule" of caring enought to be thoughtful and consider what they would enjoy if you go that route without a ton if hassle. My kids are thrilled with gift cards, honestly.


If that won't work, tell her you'd like her to set up an Amazon wish list you can select from since your ideas are being shot down. I think it's time to put it back on her and let her know how difficult she's making something that's supposed to be a happy occasion. Maybe she needs a reality check.

Regifting her old gifts or buying the same thing she buys for your kids is only going to stick it to her. While that would probably be incredibly satisfying (it would be for me, anyway) your nieces and nephews will still be on the losing end of the whole deal.

It's not a fun position to be in and she's being absurd. I would be really frustrated too.




enjoytotheend
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Posted: 11/17/2013 2:31:53 PM
Make sure you send her a Christmas card with confetti in it! I feel so bad for her kids!

mommyfor b and p
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Posted: 11/17/2013 2:36:07 PM
Is she like this about everything or just a miserable pain in the ass as Christmas.

I am happy some times to be married to an only child. haha

*ingrid*
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Posted: 11/17/2013 2:48:48 PM

Make sure you send her a Christmas card with confetti in it! I feel so bad for her kids!





Oh, come on. Are you really serious?





.....I mean, go big or go home. You've gotta pack that sucker with glitter, not confetti!



enjoytotheend
AncestralPea

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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:01:39 PM
Maybe confetti and glitter

*ingrid*
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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:04:57 PM



ScrappinCally
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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:35:32 PM
Your SIL sounds like a bitch, no offense.

So basically your damned if you do and damned if you don't, that's a horrible position to be put in. The only list she gives you is what you cannot buy, but doesn't bother to tell you what she is going to buy so you don't duplicate.

I have a cousin that is a lot like this, as a matter of fact so are her sisters. We use to do a gift exchange on Christmas Eve, but stopped 20 years ago. The limit was $10 and my cousin complained she had to spend $50, it didn't matter that she got that same amount in return gifts, they weren't GOOD enough for her and her kids. $10 would buy a decent gift then, but not according to her. Even my Aunt & Uncle that had two kids and were dirt poor managed.

I vote for going rogue, do what you want. As for your mom, she is in a sucky position and for your brother to allow his wife to freeze your mom out because of bad gift giving or buying a Santa gift, he needs to have a talking too.


Carrie

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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:39:40 PM
Thanks for providing the ages. Unfortunately, I cannot think of a single gift that doesn't violate the strict rules.

Request a list of acceptable gifts for each child. If your SIL refuses to compile the lists, then suggest the families not exchange gifts due to her increasingly limiting rules. Contribute the money budgeted for their gifts to their college funds. They may not understand now (since she'll undoubtedly bad-mouth/blame you), but they'll definitely appreciate you later!

IMHO you & your children deserve the same respect & consideration your hypocritical SIL rudely demands. Sound like your SIL & brother, who allowed his wife to sever ties between his children & mother, deserve each other. My heart aches for those children!


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alittleintrepid
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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:41:19 PM
I understand her feeling that she doesn't want you to "outdo" Santa....but her rules border on bat poop crazy. I would try to give them gifts that you think they would like and have a conversation with her about how difficult she is making your life.

vaeyle
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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:50:09 PM
I would ask for a wish list/ideas and if I didn't get one I would give money. If she complains I would say I know you are particular about the gifts so I would be happy to buy gifts if you give me a list. Any complaints after that I would ignore. As for her poor gift choices for your kids, I feel for them. I have a step-sister who gives me and everyone else bags full of dollar store items, mini shampoo/conditioner bottles from hotels, and random crap she has around the house. The bags go straight to goodwill. Nothing you can do about that.
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kimberly38
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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:51:47 PM
Honestly, I would buy the kid's gifts that violate every rule on your SIL's list.

SemiColon
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Posted: 11/17/2013 3:58:06 PM
What a complete PITA
I feel sorry for the kids
Such a dictatorship over gifts
Who knows what kind of interests would blossom if the control freak of a mom would step off
Thank your stars she doesn't live near you
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LovMelrose
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Posted: 11/17/2013 4:12:00 PM
Your SIL is a ridiculous bitch!

You know what I'd do is send them an ornament for their tree and a note each year. At least they'd know you were thinking of them.

Each year I would write them a short letter stating what I would have liked to have bought them this year but their mom forbid it. Put the cash you'd spend on them and seal in an envelope. IDK how old they are but do this every year and on their 18th Christmas give all the letters with the cash in each to them. They won't have to listen to their crazy mom anymore and it should give them a nice chunk of change to do whatever they wish!

Good luck!


Patty


littlefish
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Posted: 11/17/2013 4:12:54 PM
Go to Heifer International and buy some goats or ducks or donkeys or something in their name.

It's a charitable gift, which seems to be within her guidelines, and you know your money will not be wasted.

What a PITA.


Julie
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mikklynn
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Posted: 11/17/2013 4:13:59 PM
buy whatever the hell you want and when she complains, look her stone cold in the face and say "I think the words you were looking for are 'thank you'"

Free-Bird said it best.

You can't win, so this is your answer.


Lynn



AnniesPaperGarden
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Posted: 11/17/2013 4:24:11 PM
Kids that are 10, 8 and 6 most likely will NOT want a coloring book and pjs. Maybe...but probably not.

I would probably get them a variety of board games.

Is it possible to talk to the kids and find out what THEY want or what their interests are??

CreativeEngineer
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Posted: 11/17/2013 4:52:42 PM
I'm going to go out on a limb here and take a wild guess about her rules given the info you've given about their financial situation. Could be way off, but it seems to fit a pattern.....

No gift cards or money because it sends the message "you couldn't take time to shop for them."

I think this is because with a GC you see exactly how much it costs. She's evidently a bargain shopper and a GC probably costs more than she spends. She doesn't want to be outdone. No mom does.

No "useless things." Things that have fallen into this category are Hot Wheels Tracks, Lincoln Logs, and stuffed animals.

Most of these are pricy and lead to kids wanting add-ons or more of them. I too hate stuffed animals and would love to bin every one in our house. They also take up a lot of room.

No little pieces. No Legos, K-Nex. I got the snap circuits last year. Bad mistake.

Again, pricy and once kids get a taste, they want more and more. There is no end to this road. Believe me, I know. My DS wants a $500 Lego. So not happening.

No noise. Period. Apparently, the DS I gave nephew was a "horrible" choice because it makes noise. Sure you can turn it off or down, but it makes noise.Electronics in general are frowned at. The passive aggressive note I received after the DS was "Now somebody should come teach him how to play it." I said, "take it to school." I hinted that a friend would teach him, but I honestly hoped it would get stolen or broken so I would stop hearing about how horrible a gift idea it was.


Can she afford to get him a DS? People often poo-poo things they can't afford. It's easier to "not want" something than to admit you can't afford it.

No "bright colors" this includes pink for the girl because pink is the most horrific color in the world and if the girl wears pink the sun will combust or some other tragedy.

Is there a girl older than the boy? She probably hands down clothes so pink is a no no.


"Nothing Santa would bring them." This is a biggie. She (nor did she allow the children) didn't speak to mom for about 6 months because of this rule violation. Anything that could be on a commercial at Christmas time is out. Or a big gift like a bike.

Again, it's easier to nix all of these so that no one's gifts are bigger/better/more expensive/more exciting than Santa's gift.

Just a hunch. I could be way off base and none of it makes it any easier for you. Sorry you're dealing with this. My family is pretty good about asking if things are okay and respecting that, but then again, other than once, I don't think I've ever said no. But strangely enough batteries seem to die a VERY early death in our house. Faster if the toy is REALLY annoying.





NativeNewYorker
black eyed pea with soul!

PeaNut 15,878
May 2001
Posts: 25,898
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Loc: LI, NY

Posted: 11/17/2013 5:12:33 PM

Kids that are 10, 8 and 6 most likely will NOT want a coloring book and pjs. Maybe...but probably not.

I would probably get them a variety of board games.


OMG. I used to hate to get pajamas when I was a kid and I got them every other year. If they were Hello Kitty or Princess themed, they would be cool but I usually got a night shirt or pajamas that looked like they should belong to my grandma.

and board games tend to have little pieces right?

Bop It XT with extra batteries


Staci
original pea number #3450
This Black Butterfly
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