EWTN Catholic Q&A
Over-Gifting from Relatives
Question from Distraught on 12-07-2011:

Dear Father, Every year I struggle with my relatives over-gifting my children. Although we have asked them to reduce how much they give, they continuye to send many gifts this way. The gifts are not questionable in any way, it is the quantity. They remain fair amongst the other families--but that is part of the problem. They set a money quota to spend, and will not consider putting into savings for the children's future. It is the mass of presents and the children's joy that they are seeking. A joyous celebration with family to me is a dreaded time. When I arrive home I end up going through the gifts and donating or regifting sheerly for the fact that there is too much and it is not necessary. Though I guess this sounds like more of a "Dear Abby", what I am looking for is a true Catholic prespective on how to celebrate Jesus' birth--not an econmic excuse to celebrate commercialism. How do I pass this on to my children without debasing the relatives? How do I keep myself from another year of anger and frustration? Am I wrong? I do not believe that it is "their job to spoil the kids"? Thank you so very much for your ministry. A blessed Advent to you. Distraught

Answer by Fr. Jay Toborowsky on 12-19-2011:

There's certainly a bunch of "rights" being spoken about: The right of grandparents to give what they want and the right of parents to keep some order in the life of their child(ren).

May I suggest a few things. When they give the gift, allow your child(ren) to keep a portion to spend, while putting the rest in a bank account. Or, perhaps keeping a portion of the gift, while giving the rest to a charity, food pantry, soup kitchen, etc.