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by Abigail Van Buren

Family's First Grandchild Is Buried by Avalanche of Gifts

DEAR ABBY: Ever since our baby girl arrived eight months ago, my husband and I have been inundated with baby gifts. Our daughter is the only grandchild on both sides of the family. My husband's parents and mine are divorced and remarried, so there are eight grandparents doting on our daughter. Consequently, we have received multiples of every baby item you can imagine.

Because we live in a small apartment with few closets, there is nowhere to put all these things. We have donated several boxes of clothes and toys to the local shelter. My parents become upset if they visit and we can't produce every single item they sent us. They want us to get rid of other people's gifts and keep only theirs. I don't like the tension this is causing.

Are we obligated to keep these gifts, Abby? Isn't there a way to encourage people to be more restrained in their giving? -- TIRED MOM IN THE CITY

DEAR MOM: There is, but it will require you and your husband to become proactive. Tell your parents that you do not have enough room to accommodate their generosity and request that they limit themselves to one gift per couple. To avoid duplication, ask them to coordinate with each other when buying gifts for their grandchild.

As to your parents, explain that you love them, but once a gift is given it is the recipient's to do with as she wishes (right now, that's you). And explain that if you give everyone else's gifts away and not some of theirs, the others will be offended -- so it's not gonna happen. Period.