"Dear Grandparents. We know it's Christmas. But it's time to back off."

Dear Grandparents who love their beloved grandkids,

We know you love them. Really we do. We know you just want the best for them and when you are around them Christmas is exciting again, just like when your own children were young.

We know that everything you do is done with love and meaning. We know it’s with the very best intent. But we want you to stop.

We want you to back off. We want you to forgo the cliches and the expectations you built for yourself when you first found out you were to be a grandmother and remember what it was like to be a parent.

We want you to ask and to consider. We want you to know that just because it’s Christmas, just because you are grandparents, it doesn’t give you the right to spoil your grandkids.

We know you love them, but back off. Image via iStock.

The problem with the old cliché that it’s a grandparents right to spoil, is that it doesn’t take into account the wishes of the parents. It doesn't take into account what is best for the children.

My two children have three sets of grandparents (two who won’t talk to each other and seem set to out do each other gift wise). So their Christmas is a flurry of visits and present opening, of people coming and going, of meals and sweets and fun.

They go from Santa to stocking to striking it big with gift... after gift... after gift... from grandparent after grandparent.


Look what we’ve brought darling!

Who loves you the most?

This news item looks at spoiling kids at Christmas after one mum sparked the debate on how much was too much. Post continues after video...

I have asked them to keep it to one simple gift. I have asked them not to bring bags of Christmas chocolates. I have asked them to consult me before they go shopping but it falls on deaf ears.

Can you imagine the frustration of buying a gift you truly believe your kids will love, only to be outdone over and over again by grandparent gifts? No four-year-old will look sideways at a scooter from Santa when Grandma gets him an iPad.

Some parents save and scrimp to buy what they feel is just the right gift for their child only to have it upstaged by a lavish pile of brightly wrapped gifts, of clothes, of cakes and lollies.

have asked them to consult me before they go shopping but it falls on deaf ears. Image via iStock.

Oh there will inevitably be those who read this in frustration.

Think yourself lucky your child’s grandparents care they will berate me.

Think yourself lucky your child has grandparents around. Think yourself lucky your child’s grandparents can afford to spoil anyone.

Well the fact is that we know we are lucky. We know we are better off than others. We know its a "first world problem." But we just want some respect. We want to be listened to.

My child’s grandparents dote on them. They want to lavish them with presents for birthdays and Christmases and way-too-much in between but it just gets to the point when it is simply that - too much.

We just want some respect. We want to be listened to. Image via iStock.

It is time to stop. This is what I am begging you when buying presents this Christmas.

1. Check with the parents.

Apart from whether it might be inappropriate, the kids might actually have it already or might not want it.

2. Remember how many presents these kids will get this Christmas.

Be selective.

3. Don’t be offended if we say no.

We have our reasons. There are years and years of Christmases ahead for Play Stations and X-Boxes and sparkly mid-riff tops. Let me decide when I want my kids to have a certain toy or item of clothing.

4. It’s not a competition.

It is not about impressing or outdoing, its about being together. The kids are going to love you anyway. Who wouldn’t, you’re a grandparent?

How do you get relatives to limit gifts at Christmas time?