The presents from the inlaws, that is. Let me preface what I am about to say with the statement that my inlaws are nice people. They have treated me like a member of the family from the very beginning. I believe they always have good intentions. Now.
Yesterday, five very, very large boxes arrived from them. I decided to open them and put the presents under the tree. Except that they weren’t wrapped! So, I could wrap them myself, which I’m thinking about, or I could put them out as being from Santa (that’s our tradition; Santa’s presents aren’t wrapped). Mr. GM, who happens to be at their house right now, said we should go through them and donate some things to toys for tots or something. So we have three options, kind of. I’d like to wrap them cause dammit, if anyone’s gonna be Santa around here, it’s gonna be me and Mr. GM. But there is also too much stuff, so I’m all for donating some of it. I’ve seen Geeky Girl’s box and there’s at least one thing in there that she already has two of (given to her by the inlaws, of course).
We’ve discussed this with the inlaws sooo many times. We’ve argued everything from the practical: our house is too small for this much stuff; you really should spend the money on savings bonds or something to the moral: we don’t want to teach our kids that this is what Christmas is all about; there are poor kids who might like to have this stuff. The first year we put our foot down was when we had just moved here and had to take a two-bedroom apartment. We used the practical angle. We just don’t have room. We made my mother-in-law cry. Every year our arguments decrease because we’re obviously not making headway. So we argue between us about how to handle it with the kids.
My feeling about all this is, you’ve had your turn, already. Give it up. We’re the parents and we get to decide how many presents to give, what’s from Santa, etc. I feel like I’m being usurped. I also believe that my mother-in-law especially equates love with presents. The more presents she gives, the more she shows she loves the kids. More importantly, she feels that if she only sends one or two things (as we’ve asked her to do), it will signal that she doesn’t love the kids. My mom often sends money and tells me to buy something unless she’s thought of the perfect gift. My dad calls and asks for one thing they might want and he goes and gets it. Occasionally, he also thinks of something on his own. The point is, they get one thing from each of my parents (who are divorced and remarried) and about 20 from Mr. GM’s parents.
By the way, we settled our own gift giving dilemma. Mr. GM is making something for his whole family and I am buying things for my family through the sites where part of the money goes to charity. Next year, we’ve agreed to plan further in advance and make something for everyone.