When I was little the Easter Bunny visited my house. I got a basket with some candy, an outfit, and maybe a few small things. The Easter Bunny hid the eggs we died around the house. We went to church, then family came over for dinner (or we went there), we took some of our candy with us, and we had fun. And that was it.
But, oh, boy, has that changed for my kids. For some reason when my parents and my husband’s parents became grandparents, they forgot what it was like for their own kids. Every holiday it’s a struggle. This year my in-laws brought the kids each a big bag full of candy, coloring books, and toys. They brought us a huge picnic basket full of candy. I had already bought all of the candy for our Easter baskets, so I just didn’t need more.
My parents aren’t much better. They get my kids a new outfit, and a basket of candy and toys similar to what I got as a child. Then they do an Easter Egg Hunt. Not to say that I don’t appreciate them giving gifts to my kids, I just think it’s gotten out of hand. On one hand, I love that my kids’ grandparents want to make the holidays special for my kids. On the other hand, it’s MY turn to be the Easter Bunny. And when the grandparents EACH give the kids more than the Easter Bunny, that bothers me, because then I feel like the Easter Bunny has to bring more stuff to make it more special. Then the kids end up with so much candy we throw more than half of it away. They end up with more coloring books and toys than they can use and most of them go unplayed until we finally donate them.
I have asked them to cut back, and they have, somewhat. I think throwing it all out is a huge waste. Why have them spend money on things the kids don’t need? Of course, my kids LOVE it. I don’t want to be all Grinchy and tell them to stop completely. I love that they enjoy giving my kids stuff. I just want it to be kept reasonable.
I think I found a bit of a solution. While collecting and sorting food this weekend for Scouting For Food at the local food bank, I struck up a conversation with the director. We talked about what is most needed (paper products like toilet paper and paper towels, mayonnaise and pickles are top items) and about how many families she serves. They’re open twice a month and serve 150 families regularly, but on Easter she serves about 180 families. Which got me to thinking about what they have for Easter. As she was telling me how they have some candy and they also put eggs together so the parents can pick out a few things for baskets, my mind turned to the picnic basket of goodies that were quite honestly not all going to be used. I went home, gathered up some things from the basket (I kept a few) and brought them back to the food bank. Now I know that those items will be much more appreciated by someone else than we were able to.
How do you handle the holidays and the excess of gifts and candy? If you’ve found a good solution I’d love to hear it!