I’ve been comparing notes with fellow under five parents about Christmas presents – how much is too much? And what should you do about grandparents who must give their children huge presents? My parents and parents-in-law are pretty good. They make a big effort to give our kids something they would like, rather than lots of stuff. If anything, they are appalled by our consumerism, rather than the other way around.
One of my friends has competitive grandparents – each trying to out do the other with more (not necessarily better) presents. She is trying to think of tactful ways to reduce the number of presents.
Having children, and buying them toys, makes me realise just how much our living standards have risen in a generation. We buy our boys toys for under $10 that would have been big Christmas or birthday presents in my day. For example, you can get a working microscope for $9.95 in our local toyshop. And the simple electricity set we bought our four year old from the local $2 shop (I think it cost $15) is about ten times better and more educational than the one my husband had at age 10 as a major toy.
So even grandparents who aren’t well off can afford to buy quite good presents if they don’t have too many grandchildren. But the grandchildren have probably got every toy under the sun because everything is so cheap these days!