V.P. asks from Wisconsin Dells, WI on April 11, 2008
To Many Plush toys...help
I have two young children that get stuffed animals for gift all the time. We have everything from teddy's the size of my two year old to ty babies that fit in the side pocket of the diaper bag. I know my family gives them with love but I don't know what to do with them all. I hate to get rid of them but really I'm running out room. Dose anyone have any ideas about what to do with them? Also my daughter's first birthday is coming up fast and we will probably end up with five to six more. Would it be ok to put something on the invits saying no more plush toys please?
K.V. answers from Des Moines on April 14, 2008
I saw these at Simply for Giggles in West Glenn and they have one downtown.
I thought it was a fabulous idea!
L.M. answers from Rapid City on April 13, 2008
Save them up and donate them to a Social Services office near Christmas to distribute to foster children. Or, donate them to a homeless shelter for children who stay there.
I think it's okay to say that on an invite, if it's stated politely. :)
M.O. answers from Appleton on April 13, 2008
I am looking for an answer to this myself! I tried using those space bags, but that didn't work. So I guess I will read some of the responses and see what these great Moms say! Good luck! I know I will be giving some to charity, but some most of the animals, she still plays with. My cuaghter is six.
J.Y. answers from Madison on April 12, 2008
I have six kids, so I know your pain as far as an excess of toys and gifts from others. Just before Christmas, when three of the kids have birthdays, I was feeling really stressed about all the additional gift that we would need to find a place for. So I called Dr. Ray Guarendi, a radio psychologist, to ask his solution. Since he himself has 10 chilren, I knew that it would be something that he'd have experience with. I told him that my three year old daughter just got anther doll for her birthday to a total of probably her tenth doll. I told him that I was making her chose a couple of them to donate to kids less fortunate and he said, "How about having her choose ONE to keep?" Then he said we do want our children to learn to be generous, not selfish and that they don't need multiple of the same or similar items.I asked about how to handle it when these saem people ask her if she likes the doll that they got her or wonder where it is. He said to let them know that she had so many that she gave some to children who didn't have any. Then he suggested that the duplicate toys be taken to a children's wing of a hospital to be given to a child who wouldn't have much for Christmas or who was in need.
Then he illustrated his point with a question. Could he give my child a cookie? I said yes. Then he asked if his sister could. Then his mother and the neighbor and friend. He said that one cookie isn't a bad thing, but one from everyone is not a healthy thing for a child. It's the same way with presents. After this conversation, I spoke with our families and told them what he said. This way they would likely cut back or at least not be surprised when we do take his suggestions. Another thing that I have found is that gift cards or consumable gifts(like coloring books, bath crayons, etc) make great gifts. For gift cards things that we can do together are great, like movies, restaurants or ice cream places.
We try not to open the box of a toy (once the wrapping is removed) for our chilren's gifts at their parties for many reasons. One being to prevent fights with other children around a new toy, another is that we can easily return or re-gift duplicate toys that haven't been opened.
I really think that the best gift that anyone can give a child in the gift of time. We've suggested taking our children to lunch or a play instead of giving them a toy.
At your daughter's age, maybe you could to a "book" themed birthday and ask for books for her.
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E.F. answers from Iowa City on April 12, 2008
If you really want to do a reduction in toys, write on the invite that you'll do a gift exchange at the party because your child is blessed with so much already. Then suggest that each child in attendance bring a gift valued at a specific amount. This eliminates gifts from adults and makes it more fun for all the kids there. It's a little kinder.
I do think the best option is to have your child select half or the plush toys received to send to a charity. That's a great teaching opportunity for the whole family that can continue for a lifetime!
It seems pretty rude to say in an invite that you still want lots of gifts but only these types of gifts. Toy quantity is the gift receivers problem not the gift givers.
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S.K. answers from Des Moines on April 12, 2008
It would be considered inappropriate, rude and ungrateful to request what others give or don't give as a gift. Look into sending the little Ty babies to the troops over-seas. They give them to needy children. An option for the bigger ones would be teaching your children about less fortunate children and then have them help you bring them around to different shelters. Police officers often keep stuffed animals in their police cars to give out to children in tough situations. I would call the local police department. It would be a great teaching tool for you. If you don't want to get rid of them, then get a mesh net and put them up high in the closet to be out of the way.
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T.H. answers from Duluth on April 11, 2008
I have this problem myself, wish I had a good answer for you. When I've asked in the past, other moms on Mamasource have said try homeless shelters, police/firestations, hospital chaplains, etc. However, I don't find that these are always places willing to take them. You'd have to call around and ask individual places what their needs are. Also, some churches take various kinds of stuffed animals for use in care packages for local or international use (I know this from personal sources); but, again, the question is what do they need and do they need it at the same time you are looking to give away the toys. Good luck to you on this. You can always just take them to your local thrift shop.
On the question of putting it in the invitation... I'd say no way. What people give as a "gift" is just that, a gift, and the only proper response is "thank you". That being said, I do think it would be perfectly fine to tip off some close relatives ("Our kids don't play with them, we have enough...") and also make some general conversation about the same ("We have so many, wish I knew what to do with them...) with other gift givers when you see them and are just talking. Or you could go the other direction and do the registry as was suggested... but I think that's a lot of work when all you want is to NOT receive something.
This is a really hard issue, this issue of "too much". When I tried to talk frankly to my mother-in-law about this in the past, she got really angry and called me "ungrateful". So now I just take whatever is given and get rid of what I can. I think it's generational too - the generations that didn't have enough now showering the next generations with everything they didn't have and then some. Know you aren't alone, and good luck to you!
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T. answers from Minneapolis on April 12, 2008
For my daughters first birthday I requested that each person invited write her a letter. Filled with whatever they wanted. She got all sorts of things twins cards for that year, poems and also a very dear letter from my Dad who has since passed away. It told her the story about how much he loves her and the first time he held her. He wrote about his dreams for her and how she will grow up to be a wonderful young woman that he knows he will be so proud of. He wrote how blessed he was to have her in his life and that his life was better for having met her. This is for his 6th grandchild, and it was the best gift anyone could have ever received. My daughter was 2 years one week old when he passed away and this I know will be a treasured momento for all time. He also included a picture of him snuggling her as a tiny infant. It makes me want to cry just thinking of it!
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J.S. answers from Appleton on April 13, 2008
you have every right to say no more but so as not to step on any toes and cause possible hurt feelings giving a list of things that would be "appreciated" alone or with "no more" would probably be better
J.B. answers from Minneapolis on April 12, 2008
With seven children we always have too many toys around. I quietly slip a few out of the pile at each birthday, holiday, etc. especially the ones I know are similar to something we already have, are duplicates or are things the kids will probably discard after a short time. I donate these to Toys for Tots each year, send some to Operation Christmas Child and regift them (just note where they came from so they don't make their way back to the original giver!). As the kids get older they are more likely to notice some things are missing, but then we just discuss how fortunate we are and how well loved we are by all the relatives that send stuff, then they willingly give up quite a bit. We regularly go through all our toys, thin the pile (we live in a small house) and donate to our church nursery, and benevolent organizations like Courage Center and Vietnam Veterans, who will come and p/u discards at your doorstep.
SAHM of seven
B.B. answers from Minneapolis on April 14, 2008
I know what you mean - I hate those things! You could get a "stuffed animal hammock" for the ones you have. It hoists them up in the corner of your kid's room, so they don't take up room space.
I don't see anything wrong with saying "No plush toys" or "No stuffed animals" on the invitations. Maybe you could say it in a cute/funny way that would make people both laugh & understand, like "The stuffed animals have taken over our house!" or something like that. Good luck!