The attack of too many toys!

Too many toysMy little niece and nephew’s birthdays are both in August, so they usually have one big joint party. (They’re 3 and 2 now…so cute!!)

Now, The Hubby and I are not yet parents, so we hate to judge how anyone else is parenting or think we know anything when it comes to giving them advice. But one thing I’ve noticed, from as early as our niece’s first birthday party, is that these kids just have way too many toys!

Especially on their first birthday, when (let’s be honest) the child doesn’t really know entirely what’s going on and couldn’t care less if they get 5 toys or 50, it just seems like overkill. Granted, we have a big extended family, but even considering some people give more practical gifts like clothes, it still seems ridiculous.

At the end of a present unwrapping session, my poor little niece and nephew are sitting in a mountain of toys so big they seem totally confused as to where to start. Not to mention the fact they already have a whole toy room stuffed with toys from previous birthdays and Christmases that my sister is probably going to have to get rid of to make room for all the new stuff. (She’s thinking of having a garage sale…I’d be curious to see how much all those old, hardly used toys bring in!)

Plus, when I’m over playing with the kids, they always wind up gravitating towards one or two favorite toys they play with again and again. Half the stuff stuffed onto the playroom shelves and cubbies are totally forgotten.

Maybe I’m being a frugal minimal extremist on this one, but it just seems like such a waste (both of money, and of stuff). It’s gotten The Hubby and I talking: When we have kids, what’s the best way to handle birthdays and holidays? Do we come up with a small wish list of things we know the kids will like, and tell everyone if they don’t get something on the wish list, to give us money we can put away towards the kids’ college fund? That seems like a really smart investment, but I know a lot people like to give personal gifts instead of money, especially when it comes to kids.

So how do we teach our kids to be frugal and stop them from getting all caught up in our society’s “more, more, more” craze, without making our relatives grumpy by telling them what and how to buy gifts for our kids?

Yes, I know the whole kid question is still a couple years out at least, but we’re already starting to worry about this! There are so many tricky lines to walk when it comes to raising kids and dealing with your family!

B&B readers with kids: How do you handle the “too much stuff” issue? What are birthdays/holidays like for your kids when it comes to presents?





photo credit: Upsilon Adromedae


  • My cousins have a big family birthday party BUT only grandparents/ aunts uncles give gifts. Makes it a lot easier.
    I have a friend that does animal shelter parties. Instead of everyone bringing a gift for the birthday present they bring pet food, old towels, toys etc. They still have a party and the birthday babe gets to do a donation. I’m not sure how I would handle the childrens bday party with their friends. Not much you can do there if your child is attending other childrens bday parties.

    • Oooh, I love the donation idea! And a cute cause like animal shelters could go over really well with kids.

  • So I am the mother of one beautiful two year old girl.. and I feel the same way, she has WAY to many toys…. and 95% of the toys she has, was bought by someone else or handed down from cousins. We HATE getting toys as gifts because she forgets about them as soon as she opens them!

    We just celebrated her two year birthday and tried so hard to hide her gifts. While I know it is every childs dream to open gifts and play with each and every gift immediately, we tried to hide. But luckily, she received very few toys this year. I have dropped hints that of things that she loves (books, stickers, minnie mouse clothes/dresses in particular, crayons, etc)…. and what did we end up getting? Books, stickers, minnie mouse clothes, crayons, backpacks! All things that are a little more useful….

    When we give gifts, we always ensure we give something much more useful because we know how it feels as parents to receive so many toys!

    • Great ideas! I’m going to have to keep them in mind, both for our niece and nephew and for our own kids one day!

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