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Old 01-28-2013, 12:51 AM   #1
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Having a ridiculous panic attack

So MIL was over tonight and brought up PDD's birthday in March. She said she has a book and clothes already (okay) and that FIL has a treasure chest they want to give her and she needs ideas of what to fill it with (?!). She also talked about all the places she's seen pirate things lately and that she can just start picking things up when she sees them.

ARGH!

First of all, I thought we had finally reached a point of understanding about gifts, that the girls don't need a bunch of stuff, etc.

Second, I have the party planned already, her buying a bunch of crap from the party store because 'it's cheap' is NOT going to help me!

Third, we work really hard to do themed parties without creating a lot of waste. This requires a lot of thoughtful and careful planning and borrowing things as needed, etc... NOT buying a bunch of disposable junk!!!

I think there are two things working against us here... I think because we've chosen to make this a no-spend year and get out of debt she assumes we have no money, therefore she wants to buy us stuff (that we don't need... heck if she really wanted to help buy food, lol). I also think when she was a young mom they did small parties at home with homemade cakes and using their own dishes because that's all they could afford. I don't think it really sinks in with her that I would do parties that way even if I were rich. Or that I infinitely prefer DIY/second hand to anything you can buy at the party store.

*sigh*

I know this is a silly thing to stress about and I'm sure the pregnancy hormones aren't helping, but I've been working so hard to get where we are with minimalism and 'green-ness' and what not and when people do things like this it feels like a huge step backward. I feel like I want to be really painfully honest and tell her that half the stuff she gave our kids for christmas has already been sold/donated and 90-95% of what she's given to the girls over the years has suffered that same fate.

Why do people feel the need to force STUFF on to other people anyway? Why would they want you to be guilt-ed into keeping things? Why do I have to feel bad about saying I don't need three vases when I don't buy flowers? Do people really think my children are suffering because they don't have an entire play room packed full of more toys than they can ever play with? And don;t get me started on 'heirlooms'. Oi. I just don't get it. Makes me want to move very far away...

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Old 01-28-2013, 02:02 AM   #2
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

my mom and MIL and my aunt and grandma all do this to me. i hate it and i've talked to them but it doesn't seem to sink in, and i don't want to get mean
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:08 AM   #3
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

Oh I totally hear you.

I've had family members buy me disposables "so you don't have to wash those horrible cloth things" agggh I like the cloth, I choose to use the cloth, I'd be in heaven if I had more money to buy more cloth. I'd still use it, I'd use it more and have a better stash, it's not all about money!!!

We get a lot of people give us things, it's nice and sometimes we get some lovely things that really do help out but we also get given a lot of stuff that we don't need or want and then we have to pay to get rid of it. I think because we are a large family people think we are in desperate need of anything.
A friend recently gave us a bag of clothes for dd, they were good brands and nice clothes but they were size 12's - my dd is in a size 3 and is 4 yrs old, they are not going to fit her for minimum 8 yrs!!!! I may be trying to live frugally but having to store clothes for 8 yrs which may or may not fit by then and probably wont be in fashion is pushing it a bit I think.

I am trying to go all natural, minimal etc and sometimes it feels like the whole word is working against it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:46 AM   #4
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

It is very frustrating. It is an ongoing process to train others to comply with your gifting wishes. Some people NEVER get it. But that is beyond your control. You have to just worry about what is in your realm of control. IME, when they figure out on their own 90% of their stuff is purged, and what's left is rotated out as soon as they give something else, often they see the light and start changing their gifting habits, at least for a while. And the ones that don't notice and all suggestions fall on deaf ears, it's not going to make a difference anyway.

So the pirate chest. Suggest consumables. It would be great to get sandbox toys, that is sort of pirate themed and takes up a lot of room but IDK if she can get them this time of year. Pirate's Booty popcorn or whatever that snack is. My kids have a fascination with chocolate coins (even though they don't even eat them ) so one year when they all got pirate costumes and a small treasure chest for Christmas, I filled it with that. And of course the costume is a good suggestion. They could also make a treasure map with pictures of their house and so forth. Pirate coloring books with crayons. Do you see the theme here? Take up space in a chest and mostly consumable.

I am getting really good at this because I have one hoarder/compulsive shopper childless uncle that gives too much, and inappropriate/unwanted stuff all the time. I suggest craft kits, science kits, art supplies, bubbles and chalk, etc for every occasion. And it's great, I stick them up in a closet and bust them out on a snow day or similar. We use it, enjoy it, and toss it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

I can completely and totally relate. It's been a long road. I think my parents are finally getting it.

Can the book & clothes go into the chest? How big is it? How about a pirate costume and some candy? Or if costume is already on hand, a couple of pirate accessories? Or could she search for a couple more pirate themed clothing items? Like for everyday wear, not costumes. Or any kind of experience gift. Concert, show, museum day, swiming lessons, zoo, whatever!

I did something this year that was ground breaking (for me). I got really excited and told the grandparents that the kids would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a new kid's table and chairs. And I told them where to get it. Then I called up my sister and said....I found just the thing you can get the kids! (One gift for all 3, as it was a little expensive.) And I told her exactly what it was and where to get it.They were all happy to oblige. I think it was the presentation - just super excited about how much the kids would love something.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

I know it can be hard mama. Even before I started purging I already knew that most of what we would get would be going out. Mostly its stuff that I either don't want DD playing with or stuff that is just...crap. Just breath and realize it's okay to toss stuff out. It will have to come in and maybe stay briefly but remember you can always toss it. Have a fun birthday party!!
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:17 PM   #7
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

If it were me, I would probably email her and politely say you have been thinking about the party and you have all the decorations taken care of so don't worry about picking up anything pirate-related, thanks anyway. Then I would say that to answer her question about filling the treasure chest, DD needs jean shorts in size ___ and summer shirts in size ___. That way they can fill the chest with stuff she will truly USE, some of your DD's summer clothes will be paid for, and you are still dictating what comes into the house. Plus, this time of year summer clothes will be hard to come by and pricier, so hopefully she won't get too much. Or you could ask for next winter's coat and boots in size ___.

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:31 PM   #8
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

I know what you mean! For my mother, gifting is her "love."

Gifts are important to her, but they just are stressful to me. I totally understand why it is stressful to you to grapple with!

I like the idea of consumables and sand toys... what about something cool like a treasure map?

good luck!
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:31 AM   #9
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

Quote:
Originally Posted by cherylchoo View Post
It is very frustrating. It is an ongoing process to train others to comply with your gifting wishes. Some people NEVER get it. But that is beyond your control. You have to just worry about what is in your realm of control. IME, when they figure out on their own 90% of their stuff is purged, and what's left is rotated out as soon as they give something else, often they see the light and start changing their gifting habits, at least for a while. And the ones that don't notice and all suggestions fall on deaf ears, it's not going to make a difference anyway.

So the pirate chest. Suggest consumables. It would be great to get sandbox toys, that is sort of pirate themed and takes up a lot of room but IDK if she can get them this time of year. Pirate's Booty popcorn or whatever that snack is. My kids have a fascination with chocolate coins (even though they don't even eat them ) so one year when they all got pirate costumes and a small treasure chest for Christmas, I filled it with that. And of course the costume is a good suggestion. They could also make a treasure map with pictures of their house and so forth. Pirate coloring books with crayons. Do you see the theme here? Take up space in a chest and mostly consumable.

I am getting really good at this because I have one hoarder/compulsive shopper childless uncle that gives too much, and inappropriate/unwanted stuff all the time. I suggest craft kits, science kits, art supplies, bubbles and chalk, etc for every occasion. And it's great, I stick them up in a closet and bust them out on a snow day or similar. We use it, enjoy it, and toss it.
The consumables are a good suggestion. I tend to get caught up in the waste of the packaging, etc and not ask for consumable type things, but they do use art supplies and what not, and better it be something they'll use than a bunch of stuff to donate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by badmisterkitty View Post
I can completely and totally relate. It's been a long road. I think my parents are finally getting it.

Can the book & clothes go into the chest? How big is it? How about a pirate costume and some candy? Or if costume is already on hand, a couple of pirate accessories? Or could she search for a couple more pirate themed clothing items? Like for everyday wear, not costumes. Or any kind of experience gift. Concert, show, museum day, swiming lessons, zoo, whatever!

I did something this year that was ground breaking (for me). I got really excited and told the grandparents that the kids would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a new kid's table and chairs. And I told them where to get it. Then I called up my sister and said....I found just the thing you can get the kids! (One gift for all 3, as it was a little expensive.) And I told her exactly what it was and where to get it.They were all happy to oblige. I think it was the presentation - just super excited about how much the kids would love something.
That is what I asked... but she feels like it's not enough *sigh*
What's really ridiculous is I tried a couple years ago to do the experience gift thing and MIL agreed to do a children's museum pass... but then bought her stuff anyway, because it's her birthday and she has to give her something she can open :banaghead: My mom did the same thing, zoo pas for YDD... but then got a bunch of gifts too. They're so hopeless...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melinda29 View Post
If it were me, I would probably email her and politely say you have been thinking about the party and you have all the decorations taken care of so don't worry about picking up anything pirate-related, thanks anyway. Then I would say that to answer her question about filling the treasure chest, DD needs jean shorts in size ___ and summer shirts in size ___. That way they can fill the chest with stuff she will truly USE, some of your DD's summer clothes will be paid for, and you are still dictating what comes into the house. Plus, this time of year summer clothes will be hard to come by and pricier, so hopefully she won't get too much. Or you could ask for next winter's coat and boots in size ___.
I wish tjis would work... MIL and Mom already buy my kids clothes all year long... I am literally in constant clothes purge and ODD already has a whole box of clothes the next size up! It's crazy! I can't think of a darn thing she actually 'needs' (and yes, that is a blessing). She does have a wish list with things like books we'd use for school and what not but those are apparently not 'fun' enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasCarmel23 View Post
I know what you mean! For my mother, gifting is her "love."

Gifts are important to her, but they just are stressful to me. I totally understand why it is stressful to you to grapple with!

I like the idea of consumables and sand toys... what about something cool like a treasure map?

good luck!
Yes! My mom's love language is absolutely gifts. With MIL I think it's a weird compensation thing b/c they were broke when her kids were little so she buys the grand kids all the things she would have bought her kids, kwim? I know they mean well and I know I'm blessed to have family that loves my kids so much, it's just really frustrating when myself, DH, and both our girls are all very stressed out by clutter and excess and we're trying to raise our kids in a less consumerist lifestyle and it just feels like a constant up hill battle!

*sigh* I really appreciate all your responses and suggestions. Maybe I"ll try gently reminding of her wish list and add a couple things like chalk and paint that MIL might find more 'fun'.

(Oh and as for the great pirate themed suggestions- ODD has been really into pirates for almost a year now... with two shopaholic grandmas that means she has pirate books, clothes, costumes, accessories, toys, you name it... it's already feeling pretty excessive!)
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:36 PM   #10
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Re: Having a ridiculous panic attack

So sorry mama. On Christmas I got a "I DON'T NEED YOUR PERMISSION TO BUY YOU PRESENTS!!!!" from an aunt when I said that for us it isn't really about the presents. I don't know how to stop the presents. Sorry mama.
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