47 answers

We're Drowning in Toys

My daughters second birthday is coming up and it is family tradition to have big parties. I'm wondering if anyone has a tactful way to discourage people from buying toys and stuffed animals for her. I think she may have EVERYTHING that Toys R Us makes (we're a large family and she gets quite a few "just because" gifts from everyone). She doesn't really need clothes either....her closet is stuffed. Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I just spent the whole day shoveling out our playroom. I have to admit, I didn't throw as much away as I should have...but I tried. I did organize all the toys into themes...music, pretend play, etc...then boxed them up in storage boxes. We're keeping all the boxes in the garage and plan to rotate themes every week or so.
We did evites for the party and my wonderful sister responded with a "what does Brookie need?" question for everyone to see. I was then able to respond to everyone (via sis) that she didn't really NEED anything. I mentioned how active she is and suggested pitching in for Gymnastics and Swimming lessons. I also used some of the great advice I got here and hinted about playdates with Brookie at the zoo/park/chuck e cheese. We'l have to see what actually happens next week, but I'm very encouraged. THANKS!!!

Featured Answers

Hi A.,

I know exactly how you feel. Lately, I've been researching on 529 College Savings Plan. You can have friends and relatives deposit their "bday gift" into her account. You can even do it for Christmas or "just because". I asked a couple of friends how they felt about giving a gift this way and they totally love it. They too are considering this option. =)

I found this article online with really good information.

www.usatoday.com/money/covers/2002-07-08-529-college-plan...

http://www.usatoday.com/money/covers/2002-07-08-529-colle...

Hope this helps.

Is there anything big she wants? You can put that on the invitation - like one of those motorized VW pink bugs - or a new bed if you are moving her out of her crib...

You can put on the invitation - make her wishes come true she really wants a "_____________" anyone who would like to donate to this special gift and save themself a trip to the store - please let us know - she will be thrilled

A girlfriend of mine let her close family know that her daughter did not need toys or clothes but that they did want to sign her up for some different classes and if they would all like to give money to help pay for them. She was able to pay for a year of swim lessons for her daughter that way. You could us if for other types of classes to.

Just a thought,

J.

More Answers

May I suggest a donation party? There are plenty of kids who have very little or nothing to play with. Your daughter may really enjoy the idea of giving to others as well.

Just wanted you to know that you are not alone.
Sometimes I feel like I am being so ungrateful thinking these ways but I have some family members that think Bigger is better when it comes to gifts.
every one has posted some great suggestions I will use too.

How about opening a college fund and asking them to contribute?

I've tried to ask for bonds or college fund money but no one ever listens. Finaly I just took all the toys from before his birthday and donated them. Everything but his fav truck. Don't be afraid to give stuff away it's just insane! My step dad is the worst! Ask for books can't have too many books, and art supplies like the color wonder stuff cause those get used up. Good luck. ~V

A girlfriend of mine let her close family know that her daughter did not need toys or clothes but that they did want to sign her up for some different classes and if they would all like to give money to help pay for them. She was able to pay for a year of swim lessons for her daughter that way. You could us if for other types of classes to.

Just a thought,

J.

Well, that's something me & my husband are worried about too. Right now our 6 mth old has just enough toys to rotate so she doesn't get bored. What we have done is asked everyone to donate what they would have spent on toys to her college fund. We opened up a Vangaurd 529. Our friends & family have responded nicely to that & none of them have gotten offended.

We have the same problem at our house... and my son is just a year old. Before the holidays and his birthday (they are within a month of eachother) I sent an email to everyone thanking them for the generosity throughout the year. I then let them know that they have given us everything we could possibly need/want and I requested they keep the gifts to a minimum. I didn't want him to be so inandated with "material" things (i.e. TOYS) that he wouldn't appreciate the things he already has. Some kids have every toy invented and still walk around saying they're bored! They seem to take all that they have for granted. And to be honest I think that its probably a little overwhelming for them... too much stilmulation can be just as bad as not enough. If they really wanted to contribute something (as all family members do for a new baby) we would greatly appreciate their participation in his college fund or even savings bonds. We had some friends give him a savings bond earlier in the year and everyone thought that was a great idea. Between the holidays and his 1st birthday he recieved thousands of dollars... half in savings bonds and half in the college fund. I don't think that your family would be offended. I mean, they ask all the time what she needs, right? Well, she needs a good savings and a head start on her education. I think they'd understand. And be prepared for them to get her SOME gifts... because most people can't NOT buy at least a little something for such cute 'lil thing!! But hopefully they won't go overboard. Good luck!

A good idea for everyone to buy her is books. I know all about having too many toys, but my firm belief is that there can never be too many books for a child. Another way to avoid the toy trap is to start a college fund for her and ask everyone to donate to it instead of bringing a gift. Another idea; maybe they could give her new jewelry...a baby ring or necklace, or earrings if her ears are pierced. Or you could even start a collection of some type for her as she grows up. My daughter is only one year old, but I started collecting glass butterflies for her, and she will appreciate them when she gets older. Just let everyone know that she already has an overabundance of toys and stuffed animals...but you need to be prepared for them to buy her those things anyway. Just go through the stuff she already has and put the toys she doesn't play with anymore into a storage or yard sale pile. Keep in mind though, these people are her family and they are simply trying to make her smile. Thank them politely, and put up the stuff you don't want her to play with right now. :) Hope this helps.

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