Fam­ily pleads for less this hol­i­day sea­son

Winnipeg Sun - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON

My hus­band and I have three beau­ti­ful chil­dren, aged 10, 3 and 1.

We’re blessed with a large fam­ily on both sides. They’re all in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous, es­pe­cially at Christ­mas. They love to give gifts, and we’re grate­ful for their gen­eros­ity. How­ever, like many fam­i­lies with sim­i­larly aged chil­dren, we’ve come to find lately that we have an over­abun­dance of, well ... stuff.

My hus­band and I have come to feel that we’d like to stem the abun­dant flow of toys into our house, as our kids have far more than they could ever need or play with.

Not only that but lit­tle ones just don’t have the at­ten­tion span to sit and open tons of presents. Last Christ­mas, it took my son three days to open all of the presents our fam­i­lies sent, even con­sid­er­ing that my hus­band and I only gave our kids one gift a piece.

This year, we’d re­ally like to ask our fam­i­lies to avoid buy­ing toys al­to­gether. We’d be fine with no gifts at all, but if our fam­i­lies in­sist, we’d much rather the gift of ex­pe­ri­ence. For ex­am­ple, mem­ber­ships to lo­cal chil­dren’s mu­se­ums and zoos, con­tri­bu­tions to­ward sum­mer camps or ex­tracur­ric­u­lars, movie tick­ets, etc.

I know in gen­eral it’s con­sid­ered rude to ask for spe­cific gifts. How­ever, I fear that if we don’t say some­thing soon, we’ll be over­whelmed with toys again. We ap­pre­ci­ate the thoughts, but we’re at ca­pac­ity.

I’d feel ter­ri­ble tak­ing toys im­me­di­ately to do­na­tion cen­tres, but I think that’s what will hap­pen. Is there any gen­tle way to make this re­quest with­out seem­ing greedy or un­grate­ful? — UP TO HERE WITH GIFTS

Many fam­i­lies will iden­tify with your prob­lem, which is a uniquely and em­bar­rass­ingly mod­ern is­sue. While many go hun­gry, oth­ers of us are ac­tu­ally drown­ing in an over­abun­dance of stuff.

I think your idea is a good one, and I’ll join you in ask­ing fam­i­lies to do less ma­te­rial giv­ing dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

You should con­tact ev­ery­one on both sides of your fam­ily in (per­haps) a group e-mail, and ex­press your grat­i­tude for their gen­eros­ity.

Tell them that this year you’re go­ing to try to cut down on the abun­dance of ma­te­rial gifts.

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