DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I love that my grandparents still enjoy giving my kids gifts for Christmas and their birthdays. The thing is, though, they seem to think my kids are still little, when the younger one is 11 and the older one is 13, nearly 14. In my grandparents’ eyes, they are still little kids, and they keep buying them toys and books that are too young for them. My kids are great, and they never say anything, but they also just put the things aside, and I feel bad about my grandparents, who I know are on a tight budget, spending their money for essentially nothing.
How do I handle this situation without hurting their feelings? Honestly, my kids are not looking for anything from their great-grandparents. They know they are loved by them and love them back, and that makes me so proud of who they are. --- NOT SUCH LITTLE KIDS
DEAR NOT SUCH LITTLE KIDS: I see a couple of options for how to handle this situation.
The first is simply, but kindly, telling your grandparents that your kids already have so much stuff and what they’d get more out of than toys or books is a little special time spent with their great-grandparents. A favorite lunch, a movie outing, a couple visits to their favorite ice cream spot, or whatever else the kids and their great-grands can enjoy together might prove a treat for all, if your grandparents are in a position to tackle such outings, either with or without you along if necessary.
If they’re still anxious to give physical gifts to your children, my second suggestion is to see if they’d be willing to get them gift cards to use at their favorite stores, restaurants, or entertainment venues. You could use the argument that even you don’t always know for sure what your kids will like, and letting them choose for themselves makes them feel more grownup and independent.