At first, you might be inclined to say that you can never give too many gifts. After all, giving is better than receiving, right?
Well, maybe not so much.
We often hear that grandparents go a bit overboard with gifts. They love to spoil their grandchildren. Of course, they aren’t the only offenders.
Truthfully, there is such a thing as “too many gifts.” Here’s a little bit of information about the psychology of gift-giving and how you can respond to someone who gives too many gifts.
How many gifts are too many?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, if you encounter one of the situations below, there’s a good chance that someone is giving you or your children too many gifts.
- Clutter: Too many gifts can start to fill your home with toys and gadgets, and clutter can start to feel stressful.
- Power imbalance: Does a friend give you gifts to prove they are “special” to you? Does one set of grandparents always give more gifts than the other to be the “favorites”?
- Unwanted gifts: Some people give a lot of gifts that just aren’t wanted or needed by the recipient.
Why do people give gifts?
According to the American Psychological Association, giving gifts to someone else promotes your own happiness. There is a powerful emotional reward if you find a meaningful gift for someone close to you and they enjoy your present.
Of course, you can probably think of other reasons why people gift gifts. They may feel obligated to provide a certain number of gifts or spend a certain amount of money on you or your children.
You might also encounter a situation where people give gifts and hope to get your attention or affection in return. In this case, the gift-giving isn’t altruistic and it probably feels awkward.
What can you do to decrease gifts?
Mostly, gift-giving comes from the heart. You don’t want to offend someone by implying they are doing something wrong.
Fortunately, there are ways to communicate your feelings with grace. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Provide alternatives
If one of your biggest frustrations with gift-giving is the clutter, there are many other options that won’t add to a mess at home. Suggest experience gifts, such as gift cards to restaurants, tickets to theme parks or sports games, or memberships to the local zoo or museum.
You can also suggest to grandparents that they buy gifts for their home instead of yours, and your kids can play with them when they visit.
2. Create a wish list
Using an online gift registry or wish list, such as Giftster, helps guide people to purchase gifts that you or your children need or want. You can minimize clutter and unwanted presents.
You can also limit the number of gifts purchased by any one person. When you share a wish list, simply say something along the lines of, “This list is for everyone, so please don’t purchase too many of the options!”
3. Speak from the heart
If all else fails, simply be honest and gracious. Share your concerns but always be thankful for their efforts and thoughtfulness.