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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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i just need to get this out
children of dune - leto 1
Child loves his toys. He breaks his toys. That's why when I get him things that make my credit card sad, the first thing I do is set them up and figure out how to use them myself before his little fingers go near them. Because it sucks when they break, but it's so much worse when I lose my temper and get angry at him for breaking something, and he's barely twelve. So I learned to stop doing that. Unfortunately, being philosophical about the hand eye coordination, attention span, and development curve of a child is like, hard or something for people who are related to him.

I don't know--I think it's me that's changed. I hate getting expensive presents, I hate it, there are a million reasons that the rule of my life is to buy something I want myself and hope people give me like, bath stuff or I don't know, chocolate for significant gift-days, because the thing is, I break stuff too and it's horrible when a gift becomes like an albatross someone uses against you remember I got you that necklace and you broke it for fucking ever.

It's something I cannot explain to my parents about him, or for that matter, about me, or about well, anything, because it would hurt them, but--if you are going to throw a fit when he loves his toy and plays with it to death, give him a fucking gift card so he doesn't have to not only have the broken toy but a world of misery and reminders of being careless and ungrateful and what-the-fuck-ever for however long it takes for finer feelings to get numbed over. And then have it brought up in front of relatives for years because it's funny to remind him that Christmas was a dark, miserable time about the love of giving but only if giving it means you can exercise the right to judge what they do with it. A lot.

You know. Not that that has happened to me or anything. Because I learned quickly to put that shit up where I will never be tempted to use it, like a watch I'm scared to wear. It's not that I will ever get away from being careless and ungrateful and impatient at this point; it's more that I don't like wearing the reminders daily, you know? I have this lovely new green blanket that is soft and perfect and I don't know if I'll ever use it because it is soft and perfect and fragile and shows stains if I spill something by accident and a robe I got two years ago that's carefully hung in my closet and this. Is. Not. Workable.

Things I Never Do: I never ask if my niece (or anyone, ever) enjoyed her gift, or look around for it, or wonder if she got any use out of it, or if it was destroyed during a Bratz-related escapade outside or something, or demand to see it still in mint-condition somewhere. It doesn't matter. I didn't get it for them to enjoy the fact I gave it to them. I gave it so they would use it, sell it, break it, whatever with it, just enjoy the thing in whatever form you can.

I'm getting him some lennox china and letting him break it outside on the sidewalk or something. Maybe me too.

And in other news, Dr. Who! We have it slated for this afternoon viewing. Potentially with some sort of chip-related snack food and dip. Delicious.
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Augh, after telling me you received the gift, muttering some sort of appreciative grunt, it is NO LONGER ABOUT ME. This is why newlywed's tiny apartments waste precious space storing gifts they will never ever use unless the person who gave it to them comes over. And really, sometimes I think the giftee really needs to let go too.

Just a heads up about Dr. Who... it's part 1 of 2 and the second part will be aired on New Years ;-)

You mean- you mean he actually enjoys using his presents, rather than keeping them as abstract symbols of what people have done for him?


THIS. YES. OMG. Give a gift because it makes someone happy, jeez.

Kids break toys. Hell, adults break toys. We all break things that aren't toys as well. People need to get over this fact. Did the person who received it enjoy it? Then move on, it's no longer yours (that that whole gifting part of it).

In our family, we do have holiday traditions of bringing up the past to tease, but only after it has been established that there are no hard feelings and things have had time to calm down. Case in point was my then 7 year old cousin who was being a brat and his mom threatened to return his gift. He didn't believe her so she unwrapped it in front of him and made him come with the return the cowboy boots he had begged for all winter long. To this day we threaten any family member who's being a dork or an ass or whatever that we are going to return their gift and it's cowboy boots. Even my cousin grins.

I hear you; this sort of thing drives me crazy also. I've always figured that once you give somebody a gift, what they do with it afterward is their own damned business, because once you've given it to them, it's theirs not yours. (And yes, I'm looking at my sister-in-law, who once gave her five-year-old niece a Madame Alexander doll for Christmas, and then was surprised when it got loved to death inside a year or two. But then, my sister-in-law is the sort of person whose dolls are all still in mint condition.)

But apparently there are some people for whom gifts aren't just gifts, they're material stand-ins for the sentiments of the giver toward the recipient -- and therefore, in those people's minds, how the gift fares at the hands of the recipient is an indication of how highly, or not highly, the recipient regards the giver. Which can be mightily annoying, and I wish people like that would just give up and be upfront about it.

Maybe some clever designer could create a Bohemian-glass relationship barometer set in silver filigree and mounted on a rosewood base, so that all the people who like to give that kind of gift would have a hideously expensive best-of-breed item to go for, and all the rest of us would be able to recognize it at once and put it away in the china cabinet with all the other precious untouchables.

*AGREES* When I gave my 4 and a half year old niece a Build a Bear pony, and her grandmother tried to tell her to be careful with it, that it was expensive, and don't you want to put it up here where the dogs won't get the present your Aunt Laura gave you, I laughed in her face and said, I want you to play with that thing until its stuffing falls out and we have to sneak around reattaching its limbs and steal it to wash it because the dogs dragged it through something that reeks. Because then I have done my job as an aunt, getting my niece something that she will LOVE, and love HARD.

Once a gift has left the hands of the giver, it's no longer theirs. So if it gets broken or dinged or painted on, that's too bad.

So wear that robe or play with the lovely green blanket or break the toy - because that's what they are there for! Enjoyment.

... people do that? That's crappy. D: If you lost/broke/damaged it, chances are you were enjoying it and using it.

*wince* I think I accidentally went on the other side of this. Er, mostly because I generally don't give gifts; I am not good at it and when forced to do it, I give really, really odd ones. And I generally ship them. So I sort of bugged the people to whom I shipped the gifts to make sure they got there, and I think they read it as asking for, I dunno, praise about the gift... (and one was for a baby, which was bought via a picture online, so I was worried about baby-unsafeness... (justifications justifications yeah).

*whaps self* I shall endeavor not to induce guilt (because, as everyone before says - the whole POINT of the gift is to GIVE it and if they use it, yay! if they don't, as long as it doesn't end up back in your hands as a regift, it's all good... well, ok. There are somethings I gifted wherein I wouldn't mind being regifted with it, but that's neither here nor there...)

See, to me, asking for confirmation that the gift was received or that the gift was appropriately safe is different from expecting that the gift should be treated as something to praise the gift-giver or keep it pristine to show how much you love the gift-giver. The first is just conscientiousness, making certain that the gifts arrived and work as expected because you weren't able to give the gift in person. The second is what's rude.

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So, most of your gifts are baked goods? *grins*

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Wow. And here I'd always thought the point of a gift is to give it, and let it go, and hope that the recipient likes it. The end.

This literally happened to me:

My grandmother gave me two nice shirts for Christmas. The next time I was going to see her, I made sure to wear one of them. And she actually said (I am not making this up), "So, you didn't like the other one?"

Pah dump bump!

I love you so much for this post, since this morning before I (oh my god finally thank god) got to come home (HOME, to my empty apartment where there are no people and no noise and no OFFENSIVE STATEMENTS BEING UTTERED AT ME ALL THE BLEEDIGN TIME, HOOOOME) I had the mother of all I-am-being-an-ungrateful-bitch-but-am-also-upset-to-tears moment, and while the circumstances were different I just deeply appreciate the "ARG GIFTS FAIL". Especially the "ARG EXPENSIVE GIFTS FAIL".

*curls up with you under a nice snuggly durable 20 buck blanket*

The only reason I'd want to know if something I bought someone was broken/used up/worn out would be so that I could have a perfect thing to get them *next time*.