I am gearing up for yet another round of purging the house and it has led to a larger conundrum. Just how do I keep more stuff from finding its way in here? Specifically, I am stressed about the kids stuff. I am clearing out all the baby gear we won’t use again. I have resigned myself to the fact that even if some of our sisters have kids, 10 year old swings and baby bouncers won’t really be useful, so off they go. However, despite my plans to get rid of that stuff, more stuff, and by that I mean endless toys, seem to find their way into this house. With Lil’Bitz’s birthday approaching and Christmas/Yule soon after, I just fear that we will be awash in toys before we know it. While I have earmarked many toys that can be pulled out of circulation thanks to being outgrown or just uninteresting to my kids, I am not sure I can purge it all at a rate that maintains toy parity.
So, how does one politely inform family and friends that really, no really, we would kind of prefer alternatives to toys?
I know some people post lists for such things, and I do keep Amazon Wishlists going for personal reference (because when I see something someone would like, I put it on a list then I am all set come holidays and birthdays), but I kind of find the whole idea of public wishlists/registries tacky. I understand the original intent of such things, but I feel like more and more often they come across as tasteless demand for things you want, but maybe don’t want to buy. Of course I am in a quandary there since many members of the extended family specifically request that such lists be updated for exactly this reason. Sadly, I do it because it is easier than having to not only organize my gifts for people, but everyone else’s gifts for everyone else as well. (Come the holidays suddenly my phone/e-mail is like a freaking switchboard because everyone needs to know what everyone wants/needs….have I mentioned I am someone?)
The added burden is just what to do in lieu of gifts. The girls have 529s and savings accounts, but asking for cash seems even worse. Clothes are nice, but again, how extensive a wardrobe does any little kid need. Charitable donations are wonderful, but people never seem to actually do that and since everybody just loves to get their knicks in a knot, you can bet that whatever charity you pick, someone will be bitching about it, because after all, that is the true spirit of the season.
Oy, I know all parents deal with this and that this not a real problem, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. Perhaps I just need to suck it, be that mom, and post a little blurb on the family website articulating the things the girls could actually use or would like. I understand that I will then have to just pick the gifts out myself since the passive aggressive torture that will result from such a statement will be staggering, but it may be worth it in the long run.
As for the rest, after the birthday party it might be time to start the family tradition of finding new homes for outgrown toys at the start of the season. I feel sad that all the beloved baby toys, the classics like the rock-a-stacker and so on, will leave our house, but such is life I suppose. For now I will just thank my lucky stars that toy maintenance is the biggest issue my girls may ever have to face, though any suggestions for this problem are much appreciated.