Friday, November 09, 2007

Merry Christmas! Have a rock and some sticks!

best gift ever, 2002 I confess to being overly laidback about the toy recalls up to this point. So far, the only recalled products we have are several of the Thomas trains and accessories. We opted not to return them, out of laziness since our kids don't put anything (except thumbs and pacifiers, sigh) in their mouths anymore.

But this week's news that the CPSC only has one person testing toys (link via WhyMommy), and that a hugely popular toy may be laced with a date-rape drug? OK, that got my attention. So I'm participating in today's blog blast on toy safety, a joint effort of the Parent Bloggers Network and the Consumers Union.

As it is, I am constantly looking for ways to discourage relatives from giving my kids so much stuff (I know, cry me a river). I rarely buy my children anything (for special occasions or just because) because their grandparents and other family members are so generous. I mean, one sent a big box full of stuff for Halloween! Wasn't the door-to-door begging enough?

I hope I can use this toy disaster as a way to encourage the family to buy fewer, but more meaningful (and, hello, safer) gifts for us all. We already have far, far more than we need. At the same time, I know that giving is just as much about the giver as the receiver. I don't want to deny the grandmas the great pleasure they get from shopping for the kids.

Do you face this issue? What do you do about it?

22 comments:

Parent said...

I'm the same way. We rarely buy our kids anything. However, this is our first Christmas at home, without their hordes of toys (terrible ones, unfortunately).

They've conceded and will be sending us $ to buy them toys.

Kristen
www.parentbloggers.com

Patois said...

Wow, I was just going to buy AquaDots the other day. Seriously.

My husband's family in England never send any gifts, which is really fine by us. They go overboard when we're there during the summer.

My mother has a "thing" and it is buying pajamas for the kids. The kids all love the funky ones she picks out. My siser and my friends use their own judgement, with the friends going overboard. I just see it as a way for Santa and me to cutback on what we have to give.

Magpie said...

I hardly buy anything but books for Miss M. - I guess I'm a mean mommy. But she has so much to play with at daycare, and an army of stuffed animals at home, and plenty of other toys. Anyway, I don't think we've ever had anything on the recall lists.

mama k said...

I am making some of DS's xmas gifts and purchasing from eco-friendly companies. I am requesting that the grandparents do the same, but I don't want to be rude about it, kwim? I sent them all a link to my post today and hopefully that will give them some ideas.

My entry is here :)
http://mamaknj.blogspot.com/2007/11/new-toy-warning.html

Glennia said...

I just wrote my kid's daycare asking them to get rid of the Aquadots. My son brings those home all the time, and though he's old enough to know not to eat them, some of the other kids have younger siblings. UGH!

Julie Pippert said...

I specify a good toy to each family member, who are grateful for specific direction usually.

And, we do a big toy purge for the Christmas shop, and also my neighborhood and friends get together for a big toy exchange, you know, a It's New to Me deal. Cheap Christmas shopping

As far as recalls? Somehow, we keep avoiding them. I don't know how.

Julie
Using My Words

Alex Elliot said...

In the past I've always specified toys just because family members would ask specifically what to get. This year I'll be doing it for safety reasons.

Alex Elliot said...

In the past I've always specified toys just because family members would ask specifically what to get. This year I'll be doing it for safety reasons.

Elizabeth said...

I've been doing reviews of safe toys. I contacted Oompa toys, and they sent me a beautiful farm animal blocks set, there's a review on Table for Five. I've got some coming next from KNex-made in America, and no lead paint!-and also Brio is safe.

The Aqua Dots thing makes me sick. And angry. Toys are supposed to be TESTED before they make it to the store shelves, aren't they?

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I actually have a draft post on this very topic that I keep coming back to.

I love Melissa & Doug toys and I believe (hope) they are safe.

Unfortunately I let Caitlin pour over the Target Christmas toy catalog and she's picked out quite an array of plastic crapola. You can't go wrong with books or art supplies (water color, Play Doh, maybe a nice easel.)

I know I will cave and get a few of the plastic things from Santa, like the Barbie Island Princess she's been asking for FOR MONTHS.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

p.s. my mother is practical and just gets the girls each a nice book and gets them matching nightgowns (and she may get them each a cross necklace this year)...my MIL wants to get each grandchild one really nice toy so I usually give her and my siblings and SIL our Amazon wish list to use as a guide

Preppy Mommy said...

I have to admit, Christmas and birthdays i like to indulge, but the rest of the year, they get pretty much zip.

Bon said...

we're trying to buy as little as possible too...though O is getting a Mr. Potato Head set for Christmas which, god knows, we'll probably find out is made out of asbestos on December 22nd.

other than that, books and a pair of winter boots...and we're trying to encourage eco-gifties and sponsorships within the family but can't really demand that everybody else go along.

a rock and some sticks, though? that'd be cool!

Jenny said...

Everything you just said? Me too, my friend. Everything.

And I have no idea what to do either.

Daisy said...

Books and art supplies...great idea.

Gretchen said...

I've been mentally compiling the 'less is more' letter to the grandparents over the last couple of days.

Cripes - want my kids to be happy? Just give them a bunch of moving boxes.

Lady M said...

Good god, it's getting difficult to shop. Fortunately, the little dude spent the entire day playing with drumsticks yesterday, so maybe we will get more sticks!

nonlineargirl said...

I am still working out how to deal with my parents and in-laws bringing Ada a gift every time they visit. My parents are semi-on board, now getting Ada books when they come. My in-laws are harder - they live closer and like to buy her gifts, many of which are plastic.

mamatulip said...

I've talked to our family about buying for the kids this year -- keeping it smaller and trying to stray from toys. I've asked them to buy gift certificates to places like the movie theatre and shops like Build-A-Bear, themed towels, clothes (my kids will be thrilled...not), books and more craft-type things. And so far, the reception has been really good.

Leeanthro said...

One of the grandparents sends totally inappropriate gifts or the wrong size or things that are too large for our TINY house. I keep donating it all to charity.

This year I am making a Target list for each kid. But I'm sure other things will be purchased for them.

I really prefer when relatives give money or savings bonds. Money always goes straight into their savings accounts. My 3-year-old has more than $500 already!

I'll be posting on The Full Mommy what some of my picks are this year. I'm giving lots of books and wooden toys. Hopefully none of those get recalled!

Kimberly said...

We're cutting back this year too. Both my girls are majorly into dress up clothes right now, which I hope (fingers crossed) should be a safe choice.

Lawyer Mama said...

Ah, yes. That's been one good outcome of all the recalls. The grandparents have decided to listen to us and just get one big (educational) gift for the boys instead of 50 pieces of plastic that play annoying music.