I have a close friend that devotes an entire closet in their home for the storage of wrapped gifts for his two kids. I joked about it a while back, but I now understand his logic. He explained that his two-year-old would get somewhere between 25 – 30 presents for their birthday…No child needs 25 presents at the same time – sensory overload and too much clutter. Therefore, he decided that he wouldn’t open all of the toy presents on their birthday. Instead, he would save most of them & give out a present every few weeks. He believes that his children are more appreciative in this manner than a one-shot present orgy. I don’t blame him, except it makes writing thank you cards to your family and friends more challenging – “thanks for the wonderful gift. my son loves playing with it.”
With this holiday season, our kids are getting overloaded with gifts from all ends – friends, family, friends of family, etc. With 8 days of Hanukkah or a dozen gifts stashed under the tree – well, you get the idea of a gift explosion for some of our kids. My 18-month-old son unwraps a few of his presents, he grows bored of the unwrapping process quickly, and mom & dad are stuck opening the presents- deciding what stays, what gets returned, or what gets shipped off to grandma’s house. Don’t get me wrong. I do not mean to sound ungrateful, especially during these hard economic times. I know I am fortunate to have an abundance of gifts for our son. It’s a good problem. But seriously, sometimes you get to that point where you assess your 400 – 800 square foot home & know that the only way to make room for the new stuff is to get rid of the old stuff. Sometimes it is hard to make that “happy, oh I love this gift face” when internal thinking kicks in with “where the heck are we going to put that.”
Are other parents in the same boat?
Grandma’s Gifts Need Extra Reindeer, an amusing piece by Julie Scelfo of the NY Times, helps to answer this question for us. Scelfo writes, “few resources exist to help Mr. Oranzo and countless other (parents) like him who are navigating what many discover to be an emotionally laden issue: how to keep well-meaning loved ones from overdoing it with gifts for the children. Online message boards are filled with pleas from exasperated parents seeking advice on managing the endless influx of toys, and preventing what they see as the dual tragedies of creating waste — financial and environmental — and raising spoiled brats.” The article navigates through a few families and the tale of their woes with over-generous grandparents. What is the optimal solution?