How to Tackle Gift Overload

How to Tackle Gift Overload

Our 5 tips on how to proactively handle gift inundation for your little one.
Practical Life Activities & Your Little One Reading How to Tackle Gift Overload 5 minutes

With the holiday season approaching, we know how overwhelming it can be to give and receive gifts for little ones. Even if you are able to mindfully select gifts for your own little ones, chances are you probably end up with friends and family that will buy them things that they don't need or even want. It's stressful!

Here is how we approach it:

1. Tell friends and family to stick to the "Want-Need-Wear-Read" motto.

We try to keep our gifting to this mentality of something your little one wants, something they need, something to wear and something to read. 

Our go-to is to let friends know that books of any kind are always appreciated. 

2. Ask for the gift of their time (if they are local!)

Have relatives nearby? Ask them instead for the gift of their time with your little ones. It can be as simple as spending a special evening at home with them to play a board game or watch a movie, but it can also be a dinner date or an outing to a museum or park. The gift of presence is something that your little ones will talk about much longer than any toy they receive. 

3. Offer a list of needs ahead of time.

Do you have a list of things your little one needs this year? Don't feel ashamed to make it and offer it to grandparents, relatives, etc. Send them an email and say "hey everyone! incase you're in need of help shopping for X this year, here are a few things he/she could really use right now."

If they buy any of the items, great! If not, at least you tried :)

4. Ultimately, you are in charge.

At the end of the day, as much as you try, some people just want to buy and give what they want. And that's okay because you are ultimately in control of what stays and what is donated or exchanged. If you're stressed about getting rid of a toy and later being questioned about it by the gift-giver, here are some phrases you can use:

"We really loved your thoughtfulness in picking out that gift, however, we try to stay away from [battery-powered toys/screens/etc] in our home so we actually keep it in the closet and use it during special times. OR we were able to donate it to a child in need who can really appreciate it."

"It was such a nice thought to give us such a neat toy, but unfortunately it's not appropriate for him/her at this stage so we chose to exchange it at the store. OR we chose to donate it to the toy drive."

Unless you are asked, you don't need to explain where the toy went to the person that gave it. Remember to never tell a lie, even if the truth is hard or awkward. Own your parenting decisions and model authenticity to your littles.

5. You can still model gratitude regardless of what is given.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important part of holiday giving, is modeling gratitude. Remember that your littles don't learn by being told to "say thank you for this gift!" but that they learn when you make gratitude apart of your everyday conversations. 

When someone gives your child a gift (even if it's a gift you know will probably be donated), we like to say "it was so kind of X to give you such a thoughtful gift." and then we, the adults, say thank you. If your child chimes in to say thanks, great! If not, do not force them to say anything. 

We make gratitude comments everyday by saying things like:

"It was so nice of X to think of how much you like trucks and to buy you that truck for your birthday. We're so lucky to have a friend like X."

"It was so kind of Grandpa to spend the afternoon playing at the playground with you. He really loves to spend time with you."

"Did you have fun playing with your friends at the park today? How nice it is to have such kind, caring friends."

"You made this painting for Daddy? That was so thoughtful of you to think of him and to work so hard on this for him."

If you incorporate these conversations into your daily life, you'll be amazed at how quickly even your youngest littles will pick up on it and begin to organically make comments of their own. 

One of our favorite parenting experts is Dr. Becky Kennedy, and we love this post she just shared on instagram about Cultivating Gratitude. 

Happy holidays xx