Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Gifted Child

Read Cantaloupe's Amma on the subject of an unwelcome gift and also Noon's comments on gifting.

I have written earlier on this subject. I would not put a blanket ban on gifts, because I would be the first to admit that The Bhablet is dressed, fed and pampered way beyond anything his father and I can afford, and this is done purely through all the gifts that he receives. I hope I'm not jinxing anything by saying this -- but everything almost that I have wished to give him he has received, so blessed has he been. Yet in the midst of all this I also have several shelf-fuls of gifts which he will not use. Clothes that were too small, too repetitive, unsuitable (too many fussy details, synthetic materials, girly); bottle holders he does not need; more sippy cups than one child can use, unless I'm mad enough to wash them all and keep one for each day of the week (well, almost); blankets, an item that he discarded a little way into his third month; knitwear sets that were too big for his first winter but are too small for his second; toiletries that I'm afraid may begin to spoil before he needs them all; more toys than he is interested in -- all he really wants are water bottle, steel plates and glasses, newspapers and magazines he can chew, odd bits of material and pretty much everything you don't want him to play with. You get the idea.

Some of these are still very nice, and we seem to be having a baby-filled year, so I happily repack and re-gift them, keeping in mind the taste and possible wishes and needs of the recipients. This last bit is important. As a recent new-mother, I know what is welcome and what may be redundant. And I carefully keep all such potential gifts packed away neatly and carefully. What I wouldn't give to babies in our circle I know are still welcome among my maids (and maids in my family circles who have babies in the family) so I pass them on. For instance, I do not dress The Bhablet in synthetics much (he sweats a lot) and most mothers I know stay away from them too. But my maid and her neighbours have no such issues and are grateful for these passed on gifts, since they are new and mostly still in the gift-pack. Such sets are expensive sometimes, and would be out of their reach otherwise.

What I am asking all you mothers out there is this: would such a gift bother you? I promise you, you would not know whether I bought it in a shop or it was re-cycled, because whatever I give your child will be every bit as classy as anything I would want my own son to receive.

I see no point in using a receiving blanket once, twice just because it was a gift. The Bhablet does not like blankets and wriggles out of them. It makes more sense to me to save them for the next new-born in my circle. This way, I can welcome the baby with a good, useful gift which may also be more expensive than anything I could have been able to afford in the first place.

Do tell me what you think. I am aware that this generates a lot of mixed feelings.

Note to MM:
I loved the frog though, so I'm afraid he is stuck our little well and not going away anywhere anytime soon.


aargee said...

I never find anything wrong in re-gifting, if it is going to be of any use to the person. If we are not going to use it why not others make use of it? And giving it to the maids, thats a wonderful thing one can do. I think they will be more than happy to receive such good things and bless you more :)

Moppet's Mom said...

I don't think gifts are such a big deal at all.

I like getting and giving gifts. I put careful thought into the gifts I give, and of course I'm very appreciative of a good gift.

But a bad gift doesn't bother me too much. If it's something I can't use, but can see myself buying as a gift, I re-gift it. If it's something so hideous I wouldn't imagine gifting it to someone else, it means my MIL would like it! :-D

Just kidding - but really, I've rarely received any gift so terrible that I couldn't find someone who'd like it.

dipali said...

Your policy sounds eminently sensible.

Mona said...

well, the pratical way to look at it is a gift is a gift and i even have some hand-me-downs for hana. i know know, my mom will kill me if she ever finds out, but honestly, babies outgrow clothes so fast, it's practical to use clothes someone else has already worn.
the second or third month, the mister and i got really excited and bought hana pretty dresses, you know frills and thrills, and she outgrew them in a week. and it wasn't like we hadn't spent a small fortune on them.
so yes, i would regift things hana hasn't used or even used but i do make it a point to tell the person the story behind it before i give it to them. i let them make a choice whether they want the stuff or not. and i'm honestly not offended if they say no to used stuff, that's their call, their choice to make. i can always find some one else who'll appreciate the things.
you know?

noon said...

Hi Sue

I don't mind getting gifts that are being passed on because they can't use it. What I mind is if they just for the heck of it pass on some junk - like holiday item I wrote about - feel like openly asking them if they just need some garage space for their junk.
And passing on gifts to people who cannot afford those items is a great idea always. I do that often. Have a separate box in the garage for this and keep piling up items and then give it away.

the mad momma said...

I see no problem in re-gifting. I do try and keep the gift appropriate. In fact sometimes I give gifts which are for a slightly older child so that it can be put away and pulled out on a rainy when the kids are bored. i really appreciate them coming out because the OA and I are not going to buy him a toy every time he is sick of the old ones. And also, if I buy something age appropriate like a rattle for a newborn, i know that everyone has given one and there are only so many bloody rattles a newborn needs. Why not a little bowl and spoon that can be used when solids begin. I hope people see that reasoning behind a gift and dont think its a thoughtless gift.

And yes, anything else will go straight to the maid. you and i have identical views on hand me downs and regifting. no need for me to write it all over again!

Sue said...

Aargee -- My maid isn't blessing me much these days, I'm such a bear with a sore head early in the morning! :)

Moppet's Mom -- I know what you mean about MIL's taste. Mine quite loved several statues that V and I were gifted at our wedding and refused to be associated with, so... all's well that ends up with the right person!

Dipali -- It sounds so but I'm not sure how many of u s are ok with actually getting recycled gifts ourselves. I mean, aren't we even pickier when it comes to our children's gifts?

Mona -- Yeah, handmedowns are always explained as such, but I'm referring to gifts still in the original packaging, untouched and in mint condition. Sometimes, knowing that they were gifted to another child makes a parent uncomfortable with receiving them for their own kid.

Noon -- Yes, I agree that they should have tried to make more of an effort, particularly since they didn't know you or your tastes.

MM -- Yes, gifting stuff that they will appreciate at an older age is a very smart thing to do. Also prevents the parents from buying something which they would soon be gifted over again, since the child had reached that stage.

Sparx said...

Oh, I agree with you absolutely. I have re-gifted several things we were given that were not suitable. Normally I have said that they were re-gifted but once or twice I have given things which were still packaged and not said anything. Much of what we have for our son is handed down and I am certain one or two things have been re-gifted. A gift is a gift, whether it's something you can use for what it is, or something you can use as a gift for somebody else. I would never mind such a gift.

dipali said...

If it's still in the original package, no need to say that you are re-gifting, unless its someone you are really close to.
As long as the gift itself is up to your standards. If it isn't, there's no way one can pass it on, except to needy people like the maid.

Mona said...

whoa, if it's still packed then it's no issue at all. how would the 'gifted' know it was orginally meant for someone else?
and i've done that a bajillion times.

david mcmahon said...

Sorry, Su,

Signed off before I could finish the list - there are heaps more, but `Judy, Garlands Aplenty' was shot at the Park Circus Market and `The Daily Lama' and `Stand-up Routine' were at the New Market.



Sue said...

Sparx -- Re-gifting is ok by me too, even for The Bhablet, but I do resent it when people pass on stuff that they don't consider good enough for their own children to use. I try to avoid any such reaction to my own recycled gifts, by sending them only where I am fairly sure they will be liked.

Dipali -- Yes, I don't say anything when it's still in in original packaging. Like I said, hearing that it's a recycled gift does make some people uncomfortable. Not just an ego issue, that -- sometimes it feels like your kid is taking stuff away from the other one!

Mona -- I'm beginning to think it's something all of us do... I thought I was the only one!

karmickids said...

You know Sue, I have always been an open house as far as gifts were concerned, and hand me downs as well, if something didnt quite meet my requirements, I passed it on to others who could use it, and I never did think twice of it, until I met a couple of mothers who were quite offended that I dared offer them the brat's brand new gifts which were absolutely untouched and unopened from the packages (because he already had enough bolster sets and blankets and didnt make sense to waste some more.) Now I make sure I buy new stuff to gift and pass on old stuff, even unused gifts to the maids or within the family where I can be sure no offence will be taken...

Poppins said...

This is a tough call Sue. I was once given a new unopened gift from a friend for poppin, (a push-walker) and I was a little surprised because it was a big sort of gift, not something I really expected her to give (it was a return gift after attending her son's birthday party).

I knew then that it was a regift, perhaps her son has already begun to walk by the time the gift was given. I was not offended. It was not something I would buy, and infact poppin never really used it. But still, it was not really a bad gift as such so I didn't care.

I would be offended with recycled gifts only if they were not to the givers or the receivers taste. And I would be offended if it was a close friend, one whom I would expect to go shopping for my daughter not just pass off what she got as a gift. Even then if she were to explain to me I wouldn't be offended..

Methinks gifting is totally a status symbol thing. I try to never calculate the value of the gift just the intentions.

One of the best gifts poppin ever got was an inexpensive wooden rattle (her first) from a dear friend of mine who believes in organic stuff and so I knew she had painstakingly searched for one just for poppin.

Just Like That said...

if something I have at home, gifted and unused, is just about perfect for a gift for someone else, I'd go right ahead.
So long as it suits the occasion and the person, I have absolutely no hassles about re-gifting.

Y said...

hey...i saw an episode of Oprah once on etiquette and these two snooty etiquette experts said that regifting is the tackiest thing you can do...after chewing gum...

Well, I chew gum sometimes (big bloody deal!) and Re-gifting something nice and in good shape which someone else can make better use of than you...what's wrong with that??

Just call me Tacky Yashodhara

Squiggles Mom said...

As long as the gift is appropriate and useful, how does it matter. My problem is DD wants to open everything Squiggles gets even if she already has it!

Sunita said...

After the peapod was born,in 3 months time we had my sister's daughter. The younger one was literally using all of peapod's clothes. In 6 months time we had too many clothes and baby stuff coming in as gifts for the 2 kids. I still have a few at home absolutely unused. Most clothes were re-packed for the next newbies in the neighbourhood. Clothes all done and a lot of Johnsons packs. A few toys still to be passed on. Cheap stuff gets on my nerves. We were once gifted an outfit(could have been an expensive one) all packed beautifully only to discover it was used with the neck line spoilt and the ribbons on it almost coming off.

choxbox said...

hi sue.

what definitely matters is the thought behind the gift - recycled or newly bought.

when my second child was born all the folks who came to se her got stuff for her. some got stuff for my older child - that was what touched me most. the fact that they recognised how the older one would feel when her new sib was being showered with all the attention + gifts. what exactly they got for her didnt matter as much.

Sue said...

Kiran -- If it looks new, I think I agree withe the folks who say we should just gift and hold our tongues about the origin. For us, money is a very big issue and has been for over a year, so if I can give a nice gift, I'd rather do that than go out and buy something cheaper and not so nice.

Poppin's Mom -- I agree, the expense is less important. And it's nice when they go to the trouble of selecting a gift for a close friend/relative's baby. But then again, if I had something just perfect I would probably pass it on. (A pusher as a return gift is a bit odd. I think I would have just given her the same as all the other kids were getting and send on the pusher later.)

JLT -- My take exactly, and not just for kids.

Y -- The day we let Oprah and her experts decide for us what we should and should not do is the day we all go examine our self-esteem issues.

Squiggle's Mom -- Hide them and screen them in sceret before letting him get to them!

Sunita -- What a horrible thing to do! I don't think I would have had much to do with anybody who send my child such a nasty gift.

Choxbox -- I make a point of doing that too. Learnt it from my parents.