Holiday Woes with the In-Laws

Holiday Woes with the In-Laws

Yes, I know the holidays are over. But guess what will happen every year without fail? In-laws everywhere will shower their grandchildren with tons of gifts and toys that they don't need, let alone, have room for.

Sound familiar? If you're one of the fortunate few who have doting in-laws, you're right in my corner. On my side, there are nearly 40 grandchildren. On my husband's side, our son is the second of five grandchildren. That makes for quite a difference in grand-parenting, and gift-giving to boot. Yes, there are definite pluses and minuses to having very generous and doting grandparents. But when it comes to gifts, things tend to get a little out of hand.

For instance, my son's first Christmas consisted of probably 20ish gifts from Nan and Pop, plenty of which were large, bulky, and sang annoying songs. Why, you ask? Well, some people express their love through words, and others express it through gifts. My in-laws are the latter.

So what's a girl to do when your son gets three stuffed bears, a box of chocolates, and a chalkboard for something as insignificant as Valentine's Day? Here's what I suggest:

1. Let Them Gift

You'll soon find that confronting your in-laws or attempting to persuade them to be sensible with the gift-giving is not a legitimate option. I mean, if you haven't tried it yet and feel like you can do it without offending anyone, be my guest. Otherwise, let them gift.

This doesn't mean you have to actually keep all the gifts. Them giving and you thanking is what's important. Then, sort through what you'll keep (1 or 2 gifts), and what you're going to donate or regift to the neighbor kid or a cousin having a birthday party. As long as the gift was given and you thanked them for their generosity, and you regift or donate a brand-new gift that you won't use anyway, no one's the wiser. It lets their gift-giving tendencies fulfill their purpose without driving you insane.

2. Beat Them to the Punch

If a birthday or the holidays are approaching, here's something that might help you: give your in-laws a specific gift list of wants and needs that your child has. Tell them about each one and explain why you know they want this particular toy and/or item. Then emphasize the need for certain clothing items and other things they can spend their money on that will help you. If your in-laws end up buying your list of gifts along with their own version, at least you can say that you tried. In this case, you did your best, now repeat step 1.

3. Request a Savings Account

If you've suffered through several holidays where Thanksgiving meant five toys and Christmas was a literal avalanche of gifts, then maybe it's time to redirect your in-laws' spending into something more productive. Many parents have success with a strategy where they ask the grandparents to purchase one or two gifts of their choosing for an occasion, and then put the rest of what they would have spent in a savings account or buying bonds for the child in question.

Not only does this make you happy, but it's also a very shrewd way to start a savings account for your child, be it for mission, wedding, college, or a car. Look at you being all responsible.

4. Consult Your Spouse

If all else fails, you can discuss with your spouse the best way to approach things, and bring it up to your in-laws (together) presenting a united front. You might present it as a space issue rather than something that's just simply annoying and nonsensical. Remember to be understanding and loving, and also that grandparents do deserve to spoil their grandchildren, if only a little. We might not understand at this point in our lives, but I have a feeling that most of us will end up doing the exact same thing when our time comes. Just a thought :)

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