Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Triple digit golfer
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 5:57 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm

Halicar wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:12 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
It's the very definition of selfish and inconsiderate to do things contrary to others' wishes just because you enjoy it.
The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 18125
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!
Contact:

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by abuss368 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:39 pm

It is funny but once we had the discussion I think all grandparents were relieved they did not have to search high and low for toys.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success." || Buy Total Stock until it hurts. Then find a way to buy even more!

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 18125
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!
Contact:

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by abuss368 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:39 pm

I look at it and say hopefully someday the kids will be thankful for a college 529 plan.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success." || Buy Total Stock until it hurts. Then find a way to buy even more!

TheDDC
Posts: 644
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:11 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by TheDDC » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:41 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm
Halicar wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:12 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
It's the very definition of selfish and inconsiderate to do things contrary to others' wishes just because you enjoy it.
The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.
+1

We would hope that there would be a healthy enough relationship between family to make those wishes evident without having to outright say "stop spending money for toys". And, yes, it's really not incumbent on ANYONE to fund anyone else's college education, kid's or otherwise.

-TheDDC
Refreshingly, a double barrel shotgun blast of truth... | Rules to wealth building: 100% VTSAX piled high and deep, 0% given away to banks, minimize amount given to health care industrial complex

GoldenFinch
Posts: 2060
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:34 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by GoldenFinch » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:14 pm

Reframe these events as “teachable moments.” If nothing else, getting these gifts is a great way to teach the kids how to be grateful. When they are old enough, teach them how to accept gifts graciously (even unwanted ones) and how to write thank you cards. The toys will come and can go when it’s time to get rid of them. The lessons you teach them about the whole gift giving process and what it means not just to them, but the gift giver as well, will make them thoughtful polite adults in the future.

Good luck and don’t worry about this stuff too much. :happy

Halicar
Posts: 226
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:41 am
Location: Midwest

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Halicar » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:16 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm
Halicar wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:12 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
It's the very definition of selfish and inconsiderate to do things contrary to others' wishes just because you enjoy it.
The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.
College is an entirely different topic. I'm talking specifically about gifts that are unneeded and unwanted even by the recipients. As you can probably tell from this thread, it's a very common problem and a sore spot for a lot of people--myself included.

User avatar
greg24
Posts: 3799
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:34 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by greg24 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:32 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm
The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.
The grandparents should keep their plastic garbage in their own home, instead of foisting plastic garbage on their children's homes.

IMO
Posts: 767
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by IMO » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:32 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:35 am
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:22 am
This is so ridiculous and I am shocked that so many are supporting this.

Let the grandparents spoil their grandkids. They enjoy the joy in the kids' faces when they play with the toys. A museum subscription or funding college won't give them that joy. You can always give away the toys that you no longer want or need in your house.
+1.
+2

Let kids be kids. Give away, donate or trash things that are no longer wanted/needed.

Sure one can fund a 529, etc, but that really should be done outside the part of letting kids have fun while they are still kids . . . . .

tesuzuki2002
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:57 pm


Triple digit golfer
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 5:57 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:01 pm

Why can't some of you just say thank you, and then if you no longer need the toys, give or throw them away like people have been doing forever?

MJS
Posts: 478
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:55 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by MJS » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:08 pm

Educational gift box subscriptions can include foods or snacks or fruit juices of the world. For an older child, a basic meal prep box so they can make dinner for the family ... while learning to cook.

Sic Vis Pacem
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:25 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Sic Vis Pacem » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:54 pm

I'm in the camp of requesting less, not no toys (see post above). Our concern is the environment. That new toy represents resources to produce and deliver, as well as the packaging it came in (which often contains just as much or more plastic than the toy). Most of that is non-recyclable. Now one or two toys? No big deal. But when it's the 15th or 30th playset for an infant? Who gets no end of enjoyment from playing with a soup ladle? I guess I'm at least willing to have a conversation with my parents and in-laws about our preferences. I'll leave out the political comments that will surely be removed by the moderators, but simply consuming and then throwing away more plastic like people have been doing forever goes against the principles we hope to instill in our son.

And note that the above is not intended to be a judgment on toy giving in general. But where the recipient (like the OP) is already running out of space and the constant influx of new toys does not align with their values, I think the parent's preferences count too.

Topic Author
obgynkenobi
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:32 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:01 pm
Why can't some of you just say thank you, and then if you no longer need the toys, give or throw them away like people have been doing forever?
I'm sure my in laws would feel so much better and appreciated if they knew that all the toys that they bought my kid got thrown out in the garbage. That's going to make everyone feel real good.

Triple digit golfer
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 5:57 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:56 pm

obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:32 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:01 pm
Why can't some of you just say thank you, and then if you no longer need the toys, give or throw them away like people have been doing forever?
I'm sure my in laws would feel so much better and appreciated if they knew that all the toys that they bought my kid got thrown out in the garbage. That's going to make everyone feel real good.
Did you miss the "give" part? Plenty of needy children would love your unwanted toys.

Topic Author
obgynkenobi
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:04 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:56 pm
obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:32 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:01 pm
Why can't some of you just say thank you, and then if you no longer need the toys, give or throw them away like people have been doing forever?
I'm sure my in laws would feel so much better and appreciated if they knew that all the toys that they bought my kid got thrown out in the garbage. That's going to make everyone feel real good.
Did you miss the "give" part? Plenty of needy children would love your unwanted toys.
That's actually a great idea! I will make sure to mention to my in laws that a donation in our kid's name to a charity is a great idea, or a direct donation of toys is great too! Thanks!

Pinotage
Posts: 306
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:02 am
Location: Springfield

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Pinotage » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:45 pm

Have seen this play out with nieces and nephews, particularly the quantity of gifts becoming a competition between sets of grandparents.

To the OP - good luck, this is tough. I think an open conversation politely explaining your request, followed by acceptance of whatever result may come of it, may be your best bet.

Beehave
Posts: 613
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Beehave » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:00 pm

Our youngest daughter had this exact issue with her parents-in-law. No matter what she and her husband said, his parents could not control themselves.

If the grandparents simply won't stop, then do what my daughter and her DH did - - donate the toys to charity.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 59673
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:35 pm

The discussion is getting contentious. I removed an off-topic post and reply. As a reminder, see: General Etiquette
At all times we must conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to other posters.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

User avatar
Tamarind
Posts: 2000
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:38 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Tamarind » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:41 pm

It's hard to tell someone what to do with their money. May be worth trying once but no point if they are not receptive. But you can let them know that while you are always happy to receive gifts, above a certain volume you'll be donating them to share the wealth. It's symmetrical: you can't make them give gifts as you would prefer, but they can't make you keep gifts you don't need or have room for.

stoptothink
Posts: 7029
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by stoptothink » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm


The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.
I would like to point out, that in many situations (mine included), this is actually the case. As I have shared in a few other related posts, my in-laws provided $0 to help fund my wife's education and definitely won't be helping with that of my children (neither of these things are expected), but it is kind of annoying that it (constant toy giving) is occurring when I personally provide half of my in-law's income. I have been asked to progressively increase our financial help to my in-laws, while they turn around and spend it on plastic junk for our kids that nobody wants. In a very direct way, the money being spent on this junk is decreasing the funds available for my kids to go to college (because I have less as I am giving them more).

Like others, I tried nicely suggesting they consider contributing to 529s for the kids IN LIEU OF (XMAS and BIRTHDAY) GIFTS FOR ME and it caused major family drama. After apologizing I just decided to suck it up. They are well aware that most of the toys they bring get immediately donated or thrown out. They understand that, nobody gets their feelings hurt and we fry the bigger fish.

Triple digit golfer
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 5:57 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Triple digit golfer » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:00 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm


The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.
I would like to point out, that in many situations (mine included), this is actually the case. As I have shared in a few other related posts, my in-laws provided $0 to help fund my wife's education and definitely won't be helping with that of my children (neither of these things are expected), but it is kind of annoying that it (constant toy giving) is occurring when I personally provide half of my in-law's income. I have been asked to progressively increase our financial help to my in-laws, while they turn around and spend it on plastic junk for our kids that nobody wants. In a very direct way, the money being spent on this junk is decreasing the funds available for my kids to go to college (because I have less as I am giving them more).

Like others, I tried nicely suggesting they consider contributing to 529s for the kids IN LIEU OF (XMAS and BIRTHDAY) GIFTS FOR ME and it caused major family drama. After apologizing I just decided to suck it up. They are well aware that most of the toys they bring get immediately donated or thrown out. They understand that, nobody gets their feelings hurt and we fry the bigger fish.
That's an entirely different situation, with you helping them financially. I agree with how you feel in that respect.

SheReadsHere719
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:28 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by SheReadsHere719 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:16 pm

The Fruaglwoods have a good round-up post of reader suggestions on this topic: https://www.frugalwoods.com/2018/01/19/ ... ectations/

It also includes a link to a Reader Case Study who experienced a similar situation to yours. Best of luck.

GCD
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:11 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by GCD » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:47 pm

obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am
While we were there, we witnessed his parents buying literally hundreds of dollars of toys for their grandson (our nephew). It was absurd, to the point where the kid didn't even care about his presents because he was so over-saturated with them.
I think this happens once inadvertently and with the best of intentions. After observing the effects and seeing the kid drowning in a sea of toys, most adults realize how grotesque it is and dial it back. This happened to us and happened to virtually everyone I know where the topic came up.

Our parents and in-laws were immediately agreeable to a one present per person limit. Hopefully you will have equal success.

User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 4856
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:16 pm

bayview wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:18 am
I’m a grandparent of one little guy. I had hung on to my kids’ favorite toys, especially their Brio sets. I watched which ones my daughter used with my grandson and used that as a guide.
We did the same.
- Land Before Time dinosaurs
- lots of matchbox cars
- a bunch of Legos
- some transformer action figures
- a Fisher Price Kitchen set (that went from my kids, to their younger cousins, to a family lake house, to my wife's niece and then back to us for the grandkids. They are 5 and 7 and still use it when they visit our home.)

The grandkids think it's funny that these used to belong their dad and their uncle.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.

Tiger85
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:35 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Tiger85 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:33 pm

My parents gave my kids magazine subscriptions for a year to magazines that cover the kid's interest.

The kids enjoy getting something in the mail each month with new activities. Some of the magazines are Highlights, Nat Geo Kids, and Muse. Neat gift that the kids like and the best part is it doesn't add more toys that they will use for a week and then be done with.

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2874
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:10 pm

OK, we'll see if any of my cousins are bogleheads, because they will recognize this, and it may be unique to our family. Our grandmother picked out a silver pattern for each of us, and gave us a piece of silver flatware for each birthday, starting with spoons for the first 12 years. At one point she asked the oldest grandkids if they would prefer money, and they elected to stay with silver. So we all have at least 18 pieces of silver to start our households.

Not everyone's cup of tea, but she was a long term thinker, and understood that toys would lose their appeal quickly, but silver might stay in our households for generations. Also she understood we might at some point want to exchange the silver for money, which was also ok with her.

Katietsu
Posts: 2956
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Katietsu » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:33 pm

If you really do have constraints of a small home, I would just emphasize that. You might not even need to focus on the toys specifically. You might even just have conversations about how select you need to be with kid stuff because you have no space. I have a relative in a 2 BR apt and we all respect that when we give gifts to the child.

Finridge
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 7:27 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Finridge » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:34 pm

TheDDC wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:08 pm
This is a classic (peak) BH discussion. I could totally see some here explaining the time value of money to grandparents at the toy store as they are going for the credit card to furnish the next piece of plastic junk to the little tykes at checkout.

-TheDDC
This is so true... I"m continually reminded that biggest challenges in personal finance (both in investing wisely and in spending wisely) are in successfully navigating the challenges caused by the expectations and emotional needs/wants of our friends, family, co-workers, and the like. We're all subject to pressures to of social conformity to some extent--and often there is no easy answers as to how we can best respond to these pressures.

motorcyclesarecool
Posts: 813
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:39 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:27 pm

Consider asking for a membership at the local museum. For us, it has been the gift that keeps on giving, because our local aquarium has reciprocity with hundreds of other museums across the country. Excellent rainy day activity on vacation. And since admission is gratis, we can walk right out if the kids are having a hard time.

https://www.astc.org/members/passlist_about.htm
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

User avatar
leeks
Posts: 836
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: new york

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by leeks » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:48 pm

You might want to join forces with the parents of your nephew to jointly request a reasonable gift policy.

If they are the kind of people who will respond to "expert" advice, show them the book Simplicity Parenting which has a great section on the value of keeping toys to a minimum and why it is better for the child.

Lot's of other good suggestions already but if you truly aren't able to stop tangible gifts:

Tell them your apartment is small, you don't have much room and you already feel overwhelmed by new baby supplies, it would stress you out to receive toys and you want to be proactive about this from the start. Ask them to please only give the child a book for each occasion with a handwritten inscription from the giver. This still allows them the fun of shopping and picking something out each time and they can actually read the book to the child which is a nice interaction.

If what they like is feeling that they are indulging their grandchildren based on the amount of money spent on play items (some people just value this and you likely won't change their mindset), then your best bet may be to provide them with a wish list of high-cost toys of which you approve. They could spend a fortune on expensive but simple beautiful toys made in US and Europe that don't take up too much space - particularly Waldorf style toys. Tell them you worry about the safety of plastics and made-in-china stuff so you only want the highest quality materials and reputable manufacturers (and nothing with batteries). Stuff like Maple Landmark building blocks, anything by Grimm's (such as rainbow stacker, four elements puzzle), Sarah's Silks (say you only like the "real silk" kind of playsilks), Stockmar art supplies, Nanchen dolls, Brio train tracks, Schleich model animals, etc. When kid is a toddler a Woom balance bike then Woom pedal bikes. If you can convince them they are purchasing something very special, perhaps they could go for one expensive gift each holiday instead of 20 crappy plastic things. Plus those kinds of things you could actually resell when you want to get rid of them.

Topic Author
obgynkenobi
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:30 am

leeks wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:48 pm
You might want to join forces with the parents of your nephew to jointly request a reasonable gift policy.

If they are the kind of people who will respond to "expert" advice, show them the book Simplicity Parenting which has a great section on the value of keeping toys to a minimum and why it is better for the child.

Lot's of other good suggestions already but if you truly aren't able to stop tangible gifts:

Tell them your apartment is small, you don't have much room and you already feel overwhelmed by new baby supplies, it would stress you out to receive toys and you want to be proactive about this from the start. Ask them to please only give the child a book for each occasion with a handwritten inscription from the giver. This still allows them the fun of shopping and picking something out each time and they can actually read the book to the child which is a nice interaction.

If what they like is feeling that they are indulging their grandchildren based on the amount of money spent on play items (some people just value this and you likely won't change their mindset), then your best bet may be to provide them with a wish list of high-cost toys of which you approve. They could spend a fortune on expensive but simple beautiful toys made in US and Europe that don't take up too much space - particularly Waldorf style toys. Tell them you worry about the safety of plastics and made-in-china stuff so you only want the highest quality materials and reputable manufacturers (and nothing with batteries). Stuff like Maple Landmark building blocks, anything by Grimm's (such as rainbow stacker, four elements puzzle), Sarah's Silks (say you only like the "real silk" kind of playsilks), Stockmar art supplies, Nanchen dolls, Brio train tracks, Schleich model animals, etc. When kid is a toddler a Woom balance bike then Woom pedal bikes. If you can convince them they are purchasing something very special, perhaps they could go for one expensive gift each holiday instead of 20 crappy plastic things. Plus those kinds of things you could actually resell when you want to get rid of them.
Thanks so much! This is very thoughtful and great advice!

getthatmarshmallow
Posts: 479
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:43 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:45 am

My mom doesn't give as many gifts as some, but as we're separated by significant distance, saying "fewer gifts" would rob her of the one thing she feels like she can do for the kids. So I think it's wise to recognize the gift giving is a way of expressing love and connection, even if Grandma has fully funded a 529 for Harvard or whatever. Kids like presents. Grandparents like giving them.

My mom purchased subscriptions to National Geographic/Highlights for my eldest, who loves reading, and science kits are popular (with the kids. I could do without another volcano maker.) Books are also great gifts.

My mom isn't wealthy, but I second the advice for those of you with wealthy parents to talk them into one or two nice gifts. Woom bicycles are fabulous. American Girl dolls have nicer furniture than most people. etc.

Ybsybs
Posts: 539
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:28 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Ybsybs » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:28 am

My experience was that the gift amounts and unhelpfulness of the same were worst in the first year. The grandparents were especially unwilling to have a straightforward conversation about the trouble they were giving us with the strings they wanted to tie to the gifts (photo shoots in elaborate clothing, keep all toys forever and ever). Suggestions for some of that gifting to go to a 529 went over like a lead balloon.

Eventually it calmed down.

Things that seemed to help:
Some stuff left immediately at grandparent's place and never allowed home.
Some stuff donated.
Effusive written thank you notes with photos and sometimes kid handprints for any and all gifts we actually appreciated.

stoptothink
Posts: 7029
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by stoptothink » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:09 am

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:00 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm


The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.
I would like to point out, that in many situations (mine included), this is actually the case. As I have shared in a few other related posts, my in-laws provided $0 to help fund my wife's education and definitely won't be helping with that of my children (neither of these things are expected), but it is kind of annoying that it (constant toy giving) is occurring when I personally provide half of my in-law's income. I have been asked to progressively increase our financial help to my in-laws, while they turn around and spend it on plastic junk for our kids that nobody wants. In a very direct way, the money being spent on this junk is decreasing the funds available for my kids to go to college (because I have less as I am giving them more).

Like others, I tried nicely suggesting they consider contributing to 529s for the kids IN LIEU OF (XMAS and BIRTHDAY) GIFTS FOR ME and it caused major family drama. After apologizing I just decided to suck it up. They are well aware that most of the toys they bring get immediately donated or thrown out. They understand that, nobody gets their feelings hurt and we fry the bigger fish.
That's an entirely different situation, with you helping them financially. I agree with how you feel in that respect.
More stories, on Monday my MIL told us (for who knows what reason?) that they have been notified that FIL's income will start being garnished because they are not up-to-date on his $357k in student debt (why she tells us this, I doubt again know, but it isn't a typo)...in the same breathe she told us they are thinking of doing a Disney Cruise summer and taking the grandkids (there are 6 of them). Then yesterday my son came home with a new RC batmobile and several action-figures, "daycare" was taking him toy shopping for the day.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 11136
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:22 am

bayview wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:18 am
I’m a grandparent of one little guy. I had hung on to my kids’ favorite toys, especially their Brio sets. I watched which ones my daughter used with my grandson and used that as a guide.
We're at a point where we still have cubic yards of unwanted toys from years past (my youngest is 19). I've taken probably $500 retail of brio, which anyone who has bought this stuff knows how expensive it is. After being on craigslist, it finally sold for $15. I've found other pieces recently. They now go directly into our wood furnace.

Legos continue to be sorted and thrown in a bin. Older son sold tons of them on one of the brick site for several thousand dollars one summer (4 or 5 at a time or random blocks by the pound). But anything bigger like duplo are worthless (I've tried putting 20 pounds of them on craigslist for $5 with no takers). They're getting dumped into plastics recycling.

Fortunately, with my kids being older and in college, nobody is bringing junk into our house anymore. But kids don't use cash anymore, so when grandpa gives my boys 20's, after he leaves, they hand them to me saying "do you want this?" as if it were an MBTA token from the 80's that has no use today.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

squirm
Posts: 2129
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by squirm » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:41 am

it's pretty disgusting to think of all the toys that end up in landfills. frankly we stopped buying our kids toys long ago, so much crap so little use. they get books, money, etc.

dknightd
Posts: 2032
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by dknightd » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:47 am

obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am

What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys? I have thought about museum subscriptions, etc. but also think that a year contribution to a college fund (uhh, don't know much about these... yet) would be a good idea?

Thanks for any and all suggestions in advance!
You are worrying about something that has not happened yet. Relax.

Edit: we buy our grandkids the Caldecott books http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bo ... ecottmedal
Last edited by dknightd on Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.

Topic Author
obgynkenobi
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by obgynkenobi » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:53 am

dknightd wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:47 am
obgynkenobi wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am

What suggestions would you have for us as far as what they can spend their money on instead of toys? I have thought about museum subscriptions, etc. but also think that a year contribution to a college fund (uhh, don't know much about these... yet) would be a good idea?

Thanks for any and all suggestions in advance!
You are worrying about something that has not happened yet. Relax.
Totally relaxed over here! And actually this is not completely true -- this has happened to both me and my husband and them, and after having a discussion it's lead to an overall better relationship and them being happy that they are wasting less of their money on things we would just give away. Just trying to get an idea of things in the future for a kid. Also, do you know how much stuff people give you when you are pregnant in preparation for the baby!? Haha

getthatmarshmallow
Posts: 479
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:43 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:55 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:09 am
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:00 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm


The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.
I would like to point out, that in many situations (mine included), this is actually the case. As I have shared in a few other related posts, my in-laws provided $0 to help fund my wife's education and definitely won't be helping with that of my children (neither of these things are expected), but it is kind of annoying that it (constant toy giving) is occurring when I personally provide half of my in-law's income. I have been asked to progressively increase our financial help to my in-laws, while they turn around and spend it on plastic junk for our kids that nobody wants. In a very direct way, the money being spent on this junk is decreasing the funds available for my kids to go to college (because I have less as I am giving them more).

Like others, I tried nicely suggesting they consider contributing to 529s for the kids IN LIEU OF (XMAS and BIRTHDAY) GIFTS FOR ME and it caused major family drama. After apologizing I just decided to suck it up. They are well aware that most of the toys they bring get immediately donated or thrown out. They understand that, nobody gets their feelings hurt and we fry the bigger fish.
That's an entirely different situation, with you helping them financially. I agree with how you feel in that respect.
More stories, on Monday my MIL told us (for who knows what reason?) that they have been notified that FIL's income will start being garnished because they are not up-to-date on his $357k in student debt (why she tells us this, I doubt again know, but it isn't a typo)...in the same breathe she told us they are thinking of doing a Disney Cruise summer and taking the grandkids (there are 6 of them). Then yesterday my son came home with a new RC batmobile and several action-figures, "daycare" was taking him toy shopping for the day.
Good Lord. Sympathies.

London
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:50 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by London » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:00 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:22 am
But kids don't use cash anymore, so when grandpa gives my boys 20's, after he leaves, they hand them to me saying "do you want this?" as if it were an MBTA token from the 80's that has no use today.
My kids have no problem with cash. I can’t imagine any kid handing it over as if it had no value. But experiences vary I guess.

dknightd
Posts: 2032
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by dknightd » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:09 am

London wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:00 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:22 am
But kids don't use cash anymore, so when grandpa gives my boys 20's, after he leaves, they hand them to me saying "do you want this?" as if it were an MBTA token from the 80's that has no use today.
My kids have no problem with cash. I can’t imagine any kid handing it over as if it had no value. But experiences vary I guess.
Suggest to your kids they open a savings account. Or even better a retirement account!
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 11136
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:12 am

dknightd wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:09 am
London wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:00 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:22 am
But kids don't use cash anymore, so when grandpa gives my boys 20's, after he leaves, they hand them to me saying "do you want this?" as if it were an MBTA token from the 80's that has no use today.
My kids have no problem with cash. I can’t imagine any kid handing it over as if it had no value. But experiences vary I guess.
Suggest to your kids they open a savings account. Or even better a retirement account!
Older one has engineer job lined up for right after graduation. He uses a credit card for everything. I can understand. I keep about $80 in my wallet. If I check in a month, I have $90 in the wallet. Does it grow in my wallet? No, I return cans to the grocery store and get cash when I do that. Who spends cash anymore.....besides on craigslist?

Younger one has a money market account and has me put the money in there.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

TallBoy29er
Posts: 885
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:06 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by TallBoy29er » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:15 am

Have them spend money on experiences and spending time with the kiddos. Ours will also buy them Halloween costumes, and art supplies (consumables).

Our kids are older, and we bought them Kindles. Grandparents can get them Amazon gift cards for e-books. Works out nicely since they take up no physical space in the home.

Katietsu
Posts: 2956
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Katietsu » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:17 am

London wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:00 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:22 am
But kids don't use cash anymore, so when grandpa gives my boys 20's, after he leaves, they hand them to me saying "do you want this?" as if it were an MBTA token from the 80's that has no use today.
My kids have no problem with cash. I can’t imagine any kid handing it over as if it had no value. But experiences vary I guess.
I have never had or observed that reaction to paper cash. Coins yes.

But, back before mobile deposit, there were a few times where a relative wanted to give me a check and I said to forget it. I had a threshold before wanting to deal with a physical bank back then.

dknightd
Posts: 2032
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by dknightd » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:18 am

We donated a bunch of toys the kids grew out of. Win Win. We get rid of stuff no longer needed. Somebody else gets stuff they can not afford.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.

Spooky
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:00 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Spooky » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:26 am

Climate change is real, and create more and more mountains of junky toys has an environmental cost. Go to a goodwill outlet near you and see how many donated toys are going to end up in a landfill fairly quickly.

Triple digit golfer
Posts: 4100
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 5:57 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Triple digit golfer » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:23 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:09 am
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:00 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:36 pm


The grandparents shouldn't know the "wishes" of the parents. The parents should keep their "wishes" about how grandparents should spend their money to themselves.

Many of you are acting like grandparents are buying toys instead of college education. They are not mutually exclusive. And why should grandparents fund college, anyway, unless they want to. Grandparents buying toys obviously don't want to. It's rude to ask them to stop buying toys and to instead fund college. If they want to fund college, they will.
I would like to point out, that in many situations (mine included), this is actually the case. As I have shared in a few other related posts, my in-laws provided $0 to help fund my wife's education and definitely won't be helping with that of my children (neither of these things are expected), but it is kind of annoying that it (constant toy giving) is occurring when I personally provide half of my in-law's income. I have been asked to progressively increase our financial help to my in-laws, while they turn around and spend it on plastic junk for our kids that nobody wants. In a very direct way, the money being spent on this junk is decreasing the funds available for my kids to go to college (because I have less as I am giving them more).

Like others, I tried nicely suggesting they consider contributing to 529s for the kids IN LIEU OF (XMAS and BIRTHDAY) GIFTS FOR ME and it caused major family drama. After apologizing I just decided to suck it up. They are well aware that most of the toys they bring get immediately donated or thrown out. They understand that, nobody gets their feelings hurt and we fry the bigger fish.
That's an entirely different situation, with you helping them financially. I agree with how you feel in that respect.
More stories, on Monday my MIL told us (for who knows what reason?) that they have been notified that FIL's income will start being garnished because they are not up-to-date on his $357k in student debt (why she tells us this, I doubt again know, but it isn't a typo)...in the same breathe she told us they are thinking of doing a Disney Cruise summer and taking the grandkids (there are 6 of them). Then yesterday my son came home with a new RC batmobile and several action-figures, "daycare" was taking him toy shopping for the day.
Wow. How does an older guy have $357k in student debt?

We debate "bad decisions" of paying down a mortgage vs. investing on this site, and then I see things like this that make me realize that just about everybody on this site is probably doing well, even if not totally optimal.

Trism
Posts: 669
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:34 pm

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by Trism » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:21 am

lernd wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:00 am
Spend money on:

*books - they don't take up a lot of space and have more benefit than another random toy that won't be used (and whose parts will be lost)
Make sure the kid likes books.

No amount of wishing a kid would like books will make a kid who doesn't like books like books.

I was one such kid.

Actually, I still am.

ivk5
Posts: 1072
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:05 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by ivk5 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:41 am

Kids: 3y, 7m

Like OP we have some "values" differences reflected in gift desires/practices. We also live far from the grandparents (overseas), which heightens the potential burden for us of lots of "stuff" gifts. Remarks that follow are specific observations from our family, YMMV of course.

Everyone seems happier when the grandparents' give gifts that are well received by the parents as well as the kids. All things being equal we'd like to give them that opportunity rather than deny them it. And the grandparents don't want to give gifts that will be resented, so in general seem to welcome explicit guidance.

In our view, giving cash, contributing to college fund, or other alternatives that are not material things the kids can enjoy are not a direct substitute, though they have their place. Part of the gift-giving experience for the grandparents is seeing the kids get enjoy the object, and part of that experience is lost if you dematerialize the gift.

With one set of grandparents, due to compulsions we don't want any part of, we actually started by making the holidays a no-gifts-at-all zone before we had kids. Once first kid was born, we went to a rule of up to 3 books for the kid (later, per kid), still no adult gifts. Even still, each year we have to stop at Goodwill to deposit unwanted gifts on our way out of town (at the same as we fuel up rental car - conveniently, there's a Goodwill Donation Center at a gas station so we can do both in one stop). Not ideal but for now seems best overall compromise, within the limits of the compulsion.

With the other side that has a bit more impulse control, we politely but firmly requested a limited number of gifts per year/visit. When there are too many things or things that are too bulky to take back across the world with us, they stay at the grandparents' house. In those cases the grandparents are bringing "stuff" into their own homes rather than ours. That was pretty effective. Anyway great for the kids to have a few toys there for when they visit.

Not saying this is for everyone, or that everyone should try to "make" their kids like books, or that there's something the matter with people who don't. Books work for us and are one area where we generally don't mind stuff-accumulation (though junky books still get passed on from time to time). Something like this may fit the bill for OP.

itmaybejj
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:01 am

Re: Toy overload alternatives for grandparents

Post by itmaybejj » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:41 am

One thing that helped us was emphasizing that we were out of *space.* But we didn't try to stop them from showering the kids with presents since they so enjoyed it; we just steered it towards ideas that worked for everyone.

Our mantra was "two dimensional or consumable." So: lots of books and magazines and crafting supplies and clothes. Once they caught on, they asked if a globe would be ok and I (as always ) said there was nowhere to put it...but I counter-suggested a big two dimensional world map that we could put on a wall. They loved the idea and it's still there years later because it's cool.

We also made wish lists of things the kids were currently into...be it books or hobby supplies or toys or whatever. Not as "you should buys this," but to help them know what was in and out. Nothing sucks more to Grandma than buying something the kid says "yeah whatever" to, so they enjoyed how this raised their hit rate. And they also started flipping through catalogs with the kids when they were over, so the kids could point to whatever the coolest shirt was that year.

Some large items still slipped through, but many fewer.

So yeah; talk to them. But I recommend steering them towards good ideas rather than trying to stem the tide.

Post Reply