image via pinterest
What is the etiquette when it comes to gift-giving for kids? I’ve talked about this extensively among like-minded parents, and it’s such a touchy subject, I thought I’d bring it up here.
Here’s the problem: I’m neurotic. I’ll own up to it. I’m probably less neurotic than a lot, but more neurotic than most. I like my house, and I think we live in a pretty cute and well curated home. For the most part, things don’t come into our home without long discussions, frequent visits to the furniture store, taking home samples of fabric and lots of envisioning of what it will look like in the space. It happens, it’s annoying and it’s fun: I’m keeping it real on a sprouting acorn. I mean, you don’t even have to be neurotic about your home, maybe you live in a small apartment and space is limited.
My sister got this rocking horse from the Pasadena Flea Market. It is the biggest toy in our home. She asked me about 8x if I liked it. It was very considerate and I really do like it.
So what happens when someone decides to give your kid a MASSIVE teddy bear? (I need to be clear that everyone has been very considerate of us with Gabriel and his toys). When my cousin and I were younger, someone gave her a GIGANTIC teddy bear. It took up half her room and it took both of us to move it around. She thought it was awesome and I was jealous of her, but I’m not sure her parents felt the same way. Her parents, my aunt and uncle, live in a gorgeous home, covered with antiques and sculptures. He is an artist, she owns a gallery, they both love aesthetics and decorating their homes. Their beach house is actually featured in this book and they rent it out via this facebook page. (Their beach house has a TOTALLY different look than their home in the city, but I really digress).
I never thought about this stuff before I had a kid, but now I’m conscious of it and KNOW that I myself have been this kind of gift-giver. I remember giving my niece a pink princess vanity table, and maybe her parents cringed when they saw it. Who knows? Most of us know what it’s like to want to get the most awesome gift for your favorite kid. And we ALL know that when it comes to little kids, the bigger the gift, the closer you get to being their favorite. As parents, when your well-meaning friend hands over a huge gift to your kid and everyone’s eyes light up with excitement, how can you be the grumpy friend/parent who says “OVER MY DEAD BODY IS THAT FUGLY THING COMING INTO MY HOME”? You can’t because it’s impolite and we’ve always been taught to be gracious receivers. My aunt and uncle lived with this bear (and they still do, because at this point, he’s part of the family).
So, how do you handle this? Do you think you should make a registry for your kids? That’s takes away the fun for gift-givers and it maybe a little presumptuous and impolite? I should note that I did create a list at a store for my own parents after overhearing my dad’s colleagues talking about needing to get Gabriel a motorized car that he could ride on. Maybe you just smile politely, take a few pictures and haul it off to goodwill? Or perhaps you just let go of trying to control the situation and live with the giant bear?
For my family and close friends, I ask the parents what they want for their kids. And if they are being polite and refuse to tell me, I get that kid some books, because they’re timeless, unobtrusive, and you really can’t have enough of them. And if books aren’t your thing (there’s something wrong with you), you will never go wrong with something small and cute (provided it isn’t a living creature). But maybe always include a gift receipt.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.