Of Thee I Sing | Barack Obama | Childrens Book

How Many Presents Is Too Many?

Mom Jeanine
December 8, 2010


Gifts, Good Question, Holidays, hot topic

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Last month I pretty much decided I was only getting my daughter 1 or 2 gifts for Christmas. No, she wasn’t naughty this year–she’s just 2 and I don’t really think it’s necessary to go crazy with toys.

But over the course of the last few weeks, she’s gone from getting 2 gifts to getting 10…. and counting. Her dad and I agreed to just buy 1 gift each, but then both sets of grandparents called to ask what she wanted. And then her godmother, her uncle, 3 of her aunts and 1 of my cousins all said they wanted to get her something, as well. Whoa!

Don’t get me wrong–I am so thankful for my family’s thoughtfulness. But really? 10 Christmas gifts for a 2-year-old just seems like too much to me. If she gets 10 gifts when she’s two, how many will she expect when she’s 6? It scares me to even think what she’ll ask for when she’s a teenager…

So I need some help from all you moms who’ve been doing this gift-giving thing a little longer than me: how many gifts is too many? Should we limit how many gifts our children receive during the holidays or is it okay this one time to let them have a toy free-for-all? Let me know what you think in the comments.

As a way around this little dilemma, I’m thinking of just telling everyone to get my little girl a book. 10 books seems much more manageable than 10 new toys. What do you think? I’ve got my eye on Of Thee I Sing, the new children’s book President Barack Obama wrote for his daughters:

If you’re all about the toys, check out this season’s bestsellers in the sold-out guide.
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  • Daniel McCarter
    December 8, 2010

  • Yes, books would definitely be a better option amongst the toys. Maybe you could also have a few relatives by needed clothes…socks, underwear or a scarf.

  • oldskoolmom
    December 8, 2010

  • My children are the first and only grandchildren on both sides so I understand your dilemma. I tried limiting the amount of “stuff” everyone bought the kids, but it didn’t work. They bought it anyway and everyone got tense, frustrated, and resentful. Now I let them buy whatever they want, but I keep it in a closet and dole it out a little at a time. Everyone’s happy and I maintain control. Good luck!

  • StaceyL
    December 8, 2010

  • This will be my son’s second Christmas, and he is the only grandkid on both sides. This year, I know I can’t limit how much other people buy for him – despite repeated requests on my part. My husband and I have decided that we will only be giving him 2 “big” presents (toys to play with), and 2 more educational things (wooden puzzles in his case.) From the relatives, he will open the gifts in front of them (and no doubt be overwhelmed), and we will put away most toys (like “oldskoolmom” mentioned she was doing) to be given out later. Last year I tried to warn my family that we would be donating anything he didn’t play with after a month. I ended up donating quite a few toys, but it did not seem to cut down on what they purchased.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what has worked for other people – maybe they will be more effective than me!

  • Kay
    December 9, 2010

  • I really dont see anything to worry about. I was a single mother for years, raising four children. We always had very slim Christmases, usually having to depend on charity from Salvation Army and church programs. I would buy my children one gift each – something they really wanted, and the other gifts would be from Santa. Gifts from my parents filled in the holes. Now I am raising my husbands children. My husband was out of work for almost a year, and now he is working again, but had to take a cut in pay, so we are barely making it. The boys now have two brothers, and two sisters who will help fill in the holes. I personally think you should be thankful that your children will have a wonderful magical Christmas. If you are worried about her expecting too much, maybe you could request that your family give her gift cards. Then take her, and have her choose two gifts…one for her and one for a less fortunate child.
    My parents always had us go through our toys and clothes a few weeks before Christmas and we would donate those things to charity. Just teach your child the importance of giving…how nice it feels. Then, if she sees that some children have nothing, what she does get wont become ‘expected’.

  • Lora
    December 11, 2010

  • We have 3 kids – 4.5 yr old son, 2.5 yr old daughter, and 8.5 month old son. Each get one gift from us (parents), one small plush toy that goes in their stocking, and one gift from “Santa”. I also have a LARGE extended family and all of them intend on getting each of the kids a gift. It adds up but I really don’t have any control over what they will get my kids. I just smile gratefully and if it’s a toy we already have, we just regift it. Some relatives give clothes so that helps. We usually end up rotating the toys so they don’t overwhelm us.