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How can I get my In-laws to "simmer down" Christmas?

Every year my mother-in-law and sister-in-law go crazy, buying my DS anything and everything, plus overboard on things for my husband as well. Last year we had asked to keep everything at 1 gift, but they did not listen, and I felt embarrassed. 2 things are going on, number 1 we don't want our son to think Christmas is about getting presents for yourself, and I am talking like they get 25 gifts! And we can just not afford to give in turn, and honestly neither can my mother-in-law, I want to be really clear on limits this year, my DS goes nutty to get there, and it is not sending the right message, ANY IDEAS to do it and keep the peace?


Asked by kimigogo at 7:50 AM on Oct. 28, 2009 in Relationships

Level 37 (91,454 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • If the in-laws are not listening, then don't visit them. If your husband wants to go, then he can go alone. You can't change your in-laws (unfortunately, I WISH!) so you can only change your reaction to them.

    Answer by Pnukey at 1:06 PM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • Well it sounds like you already told them, just try to tell them again. Your kid isn't going to think Christmas is just about gifts if YOU teach him what it's really about. If they truly want to spend money like that let them.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:52 AM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • You mentioned that they go overboard for DS and DH but you didn't say anything about what they get for you. It sounds to me that you are upset because they are not going overboard for you. Why in the world would you want to deprive DS and DH? I agree with a PP. If you teach him right at home then it will not matter how much they get him. Quit being so selfish and be happy for your child and husband.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:00 AM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • Thanks pp, but last year, I stuck to the one gift rule, and they made some snarky comments about their gifts, I spent about $75 on each of them. plus give my 21 year old nephew a $50 bill. It really is alot with all concerned, and yes I do teach my son the spirit of Christmas, but it is very hard to tell a 4 year old why his aunt bought him $1,000 worth of toys and stuff, and why we only get him 2 things, I just was hoping to avoid the drama of them not being satisfied with what we do, anymore thoughts? I am promising myself a DRAMA free Christmas, and last year I felt so bad I bawled all the way home.

    Answer by kimigogo at 8:01 AM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • It may take a Christmas without you getting together with them before they really take you seriously. My family always has dram around the holidays. Once I had kids I made it clear that the drama either stops, or we won't be celebrating with them; The drama didn't stop, so we don't do Christmas with my family. It's better for my kids that way.

    You absolutely have to make it 100% clear what your expectations are (1 gift and NO rude comments) and explain why, for the sake of your kids, these are your rules. Then let her know if she cannot respect your wishes as the mother to your children that you will not celebrate Christmas with them.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 8:19 AM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • maybe you should try a different approach, for instance tell your sister in law that moneys tight for yous and while you love the fact that they adore your son, you would feel better if they scaled back with the gifts for your son, maybe suggest she gets him a few days before christmas and makes cookies or something with him. let her know that you want christmas to be special for him something he will always remember, and memories of time spent together rather then money spent, dont be a drama queen about it, if she doesnt do it then let it be all the while during the holiday season do special things that you can do over each yr with your child and let them know why you do these things. for ex i take my DD to a chirstmas movie, sometime between turkey day and christmas we stop everything and see a show. we also do christmas cookies the sunday before. and drive around to see lights the sat before simple inexpensive things

    Answer by wyattgrace at 8:30 AM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • I like ThrivingMom's idea of just not having Christmas with them. If that isn't an option or they get your husband and son tons of gifts anyway, maybe you could try to explain to your son that there are a lot of other children whose parent's don't have money for Christmas. Have him go through his toys and clothes before Christmas and donate them to a women's shelter or a Goodwill. Then at least you've gotten rid of some things before he gets all the new presents and hopefully he will appreciate (maybe not as a 4 year old, but once he's older) what he has.

    Answer by Christina807 at 9:18 AM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • I'm going through this now with my son. Ten years of being spoiled rotten definitely takes it's toll. I understand where you're coming from wanting him to appreciate things and when he wants for nothing, everything's taken for granted. I know he's little young but maybe taking him around and donating half those toys to toys for tots, donating canned goods to the local soup kitchen, donating old clothing and coats would help encourage him to understand what the meaning of Christmas is. Children are excellent observers of what they hear and see daily. Your biggest ally is yourself and the time you take to reinforce these morals on your children. No one, not even grandparents can take that away from you.

    Answer by magoogie at 10:55 AM on Oct. 28, 2009

  • I don't think a four year old boy is going to know who gave him what in the long run. All he cares about is that he got them, not who gave them to him.

    Answer by SaraP1989 at 11:24 AM on Oct. 28, 2009