Proper etiquette for requesting non-plastic toy gifts for my kid | Plastic-Free Discussion Board

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Proper etiquette for requesting non-plastic toy gifts for my kid
December 10, 2011 - 1:48 am

It's the holidays again; each year I dread the influx of plastic toys and other things that we receive as gifts (most of them end up broken within minutes/days, or donated not too long after for lack of space). I'm not, of course, ungrateful for the blessings everyone rains on us. I do however, wish there was a way to convince thoughtful relatives/people (especially grandmas/aunts/uncles) that if they're kind enough to buy gifts for my son (or mommy & daddy) that we would like non-plastic toys or other items.

This is tricky in my family where being grateful for whatever you get is ingrained in us, and complaining, or otherwise asking for something else might be considered rude. I don't want to make the request in any way, shape or form, that will seem that I have been ungrateful for what we have received in the past.

I just want to reduce the plastic flow into our home. Plus we have a very small apartment and reducing the number of gifts to begin with would be great as well. I'm not a fan of consumerism, especially the hyped up consumerist Christmas we are faced with today….we don't have room for all this stuff!

Anyhow, since a lot of the stuff just breaks, they are just wasting their hard earned money. Any useful tips on how to make such requests with as much etiquette as possible and thereby not upset grandmas? Much thanks & happy holidays!!

December 23, 2011 - 3:48 am

I think an SMS/email/letter (whichever has chances to be read) with a text for Santa would be cute.

Something like: “Dear Santa, this year we would like…”

The message can contain some environmental concerns, like fair trade, local gifts, less waste, non plastic etc. It has potential to raise awareness and spark some interesting discussions.

To see a change, timing is paramount. The message should be sent ahead of time.

December 28, 2011 - 2:19 am

Alina, that is a cute idea with santa. I have to think of ways to do this outside of Christmas as well (birthdays, etc.), but for future Christmas holidays the santa letter could be an option.

Thanks so much for the tip!

December 30, 2011 - 10:06 am

Some of my relatives asked ahead of time what my kids wanted/needed, and I steered them towards appropriate options.  I know it's too late for this year, but it helps to think about several things your family would like to receive.  Even if you tell them you don't really need anything, and you'd like a fruit basket or some fancy chocolates. 


Also, my family members are big fans of Amazon wish lists.  You can put anything on your list — it doesn't have to be something Amazon sells.  It can take a while to get people in the habit of checking them, but those lists have been tremendously useful for us.  This year I bought my brother a knife sharpener I wouldn't have known he needed, and he bought me a book he never would have heard of. 


Most of our Christmas plastic came as packaging around items ordered online.  Ugh.

January 16, 2012 - 12:41 am

Thanks Julsie,

The Amazon wishlist idea sounds great. May be something I can get the whole family (and friends) in on!

August 1, 2012 - 4:40 pm

Thankfully we have always lived in small homes with less space, so its been easier telling family and friends books are welcomed as are used vintage toys that have no plastic.  Our kids love paper tablets, pencils, board games, and homemade toys made of wood, which most toy stores sell. Got some 1970’s Creative Playthings dishes off of eBay, Tinker toys and old metal Matchbox cars.  Thankfully we don’t do BIG holidays or birthdays.

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