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How much is too much

jtrjtr Member Posts: 37
edited September 2012 in Collecting
Hi all,

So I've been slowly collecting city sets for my two boys (and the older one - me) to open on xmas day. Spend a good part of the holidays building and playing with a mini city . .. so far I've got the following stashed away.

1. 3182 Airport
3. 3368 space centre
4. 3677 Red Cargo Train
5. 5771 Hillside house
6. 5891 Apple tree house
7. 7937 Train station
8. 7938 Passenger Train

Now I told my wife that I was looking forward to the xmas when we can open and play, but I was told it's overboard, and to limit it to only three sets :( popping my bubble.

I still had hoped to get the pet shop and cargo train . . . but maybe not now.

Does anybody else go overboard and have to limit ? finding you buy more than you can open ?

How do you get the waf(wife approval factor) higher ?

Do you have grand lego plans for xmas day ?


  • yak_faceyak_face Member Posts: 11
    edited September 2012
    If money is a problem - Find a way to make your LEGO hobby self sustainable. So for me, its finding a way to buy and sell sets. So I use the profits to buy new sets. It takes research and time to know what sets to buy and sell though, timing is important too.

    Your wife (hopefully) will be more understanding once she knows that your not digging into the families money/budget to buy the sets, its the profits that pay for new sets! :) well of course, it takes money to make money. Start small? She needs to gain some trust that it can happen.

    I went from 2 Toy Story sets to about 28 sets (including modular sets) within 6 months, all paid with profits from selling sets.

    I have a limit now to how many sets to buy (not enough physical space), so keeping it small. I have Haunted House and the Modular Town Hall on my Christmas list :)
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    My wife is much the same - but its nothing to do with money and everything to do with not spoiling the children. There is basically nothing I can do to up the WAF - she loves lego and is really glad the kids want lego not a Nintendo DS are Xbox but just wants them to understand and appreciate the value (irrespective of if I've got them at 75% off), To be honest it makes sense to me but is hard when I can get big sets at discount not to just treat them - especially when you compare the price to other things like petrol, cinema, train fares.

    What I now do is sell my spare sets to relatives (my in-laws) as presents for birthdays and christmas for my boys. "Oh yes, he'd love this set X, I can probably get it a bit cheaper if you want and get it sent to you". I win passing off discounted set at or near RRP, they don't have to think about present buying, and my boys (and me) still get the lego we wanted!
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    Last year I went a bit overboard, but not as many big sets as you've got. This year (got his 3rd birthday coming up soon) I've only got one big set for him and the rest of his gifts will be his other interests (sports, books, dinosaurs), also so he doesn't get turned off Lego by having tons of it.
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    edited September 2012

    My wife is much the same - but its nothing to do with money and everything to do with not spoiling the children.

    That's what I assumed too, cheshirecat.

    For two Christmases now my mother has given her granddaughter a mountain of presents. Each time, after opening a few of them the poor little thing enters into a kind of glazed-over frenzy, she can't process what's going on, and it's wildly over-stimulating. On both occasions the child has been physically sick.

    It's counter-productive in many ways.
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    ^ Great points. I've had to learn to restrain myself and made a rule to only give Lego for birthdays and Christmas. The odd small set sometimes slips through though :)
  • peterlinddkpeterlinddk DenmarkMember Posts: 170
    I don't have neither wife nor kids, but I'll have to agree that it is a bit much. I would limit it to one set pr. child, and maybe a shared set between them (the cargo train is a good share, each child can build his own part). Then maybe you can give yourself the trainstation.

    Remember that children often wants to spend hours playing with their sets, and not start building another right away.

    But how about giving a set to the wife? I'd suggest the apple tree house - it is a nice build, and it appeals to non-LEGO fans, since it doesn't feel like a toy, but more like a beautiful little modelhouse ...
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,157
    How about giving some of the smaller sets out for a good school report, chores etc?
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    edited September 2012
    I tend to agree that too much just kind of wipes out the specialness of getting LEGO as a gift. We try to limit how many gifts my daughter receives anyway because she just can't play with it all, nor does she need it all based on the mountains of toys around our home already.

    I like the idea of passing on discounted sets to other relatives to give. I'm doing something like that with sets I've picked up for my nieces and nephews on discount, since I can usually find stuff significantly cheaper than their parents can.

    All of that said, I can remember getting tons of gifts as a kid. I was fortunate to have family that loved to spoil us and the holidays were full of great new toys. The only gifts I still have from those years are the LEGO sets.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,526
    We spread our kids presents out over the following months anyway. They only really get a couple at christmas, then one at the end of Jan, one in Feb, etc. We also tell rellies that we will do this, so they know the kids might not play (or wear in the case of clothes) with the items straight away.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    I think that is too many Lego sets to give 2 children at Christmas. I would probably just gift each child one nice set each. One could get the Airport and the other the Space Station for example. I like the idea of a shared Lego set as well, something that they would only receive and play with if they build it together like one of the train sets.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,258
    If I were you, @jtr , I'd either scale back the Xmas list a bit or adopt me. Although rereading your post you include yourself, so 8 sets between 3 dudes isn't really overkill. But do consider maybe planning one build for each person that goes toward your city plans, that way each of you gets a build and then everybody plays together. Totally your call, but you get a lot more mileage from Lego if you space it out: this for Xmas, that for grades, that for a surprise, etc. Too much Lego all at once can definitely overwhelm a kid, and not in a good way, I've seen it with my own 6 yr old. But it is Xmas....
  • LegogeekLegogeek Orange County, CaliforniaMember Posts: 714
    edited September 2012
    Since I don't have kids I can't comment through experience, but I can provide my opinion.

    I agree with what several people have said, that it is best to limit the giving at Christmas (and birthdays too). Make the gift giving a special time, don't overload the kids. Keep it at one big/major set per child, and maybe a couple of small sets (and I mean small - like poly bags or minifigs). Kids don't need to get the entire theme at one sitting.

    Spread the rest out over the year. Save the sets for other occasions or let the kids earn points in order to get more sets. This way they can enjoy them all year without getting everything at once.

    Personally I think too many kids get spoiled with too many toys these days, but maybe that's just because when I was a kid back in the 60's, I didn't get that much. The other day I saw a party in the park for a one year old - there was a bounce house, games for older kids... must have been over 100 people in attendance and a table overflowing with presents. Sorry, but that's overkill IMHO.

  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,830
    ^ true. I grew up in the 80s, my parents were very comfortable, but I only got a big present at xmas or birthdays. i.e. Lego or Star Wars figs. I remember the almost faint inducing excitement the night before one xmas when I got the vintage Millenium Falcon and a couple of the kenner figs, like Han in Hoth outfit. So different these days. My daughter has too much really, but so do all the kids...
  • herekittykittyherekittykitty Member Posts: 122
    How about if you give them one house each, and one train to share, and then you get the airport and maybe the train station (or something else that you want). Then save the other train for next christmas, or make in an end of school gift in may/june, same with the space station. It's not necessarily an unreasonable number of sets for three people, but I do think it's too many BIG sets, and there isn't really a need for two big trains right off the bat.

    Then again I may not be a good person to give advice, since my *2.5y* old is getting the yellow cargo train and train station for Christmas. (a very thinly disguised family gift - us parents will build the train in Christmas eve, he'll go bananas over it and play with it on Christmas, and then his sister can build the station for him later. And we can all fix it as he breaks it...)
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    It's probably not so much about the number of sets as their size and their relationship to one another. The train sets, for instance, are really one big build that you can do as a family. If you had a lot of small vehicles, you could do those as a batch, too.

    If Lego is a big thing for your family, it should just be a regular thing and not one huge bonanza, I think. ("Spoiled" is a relative term, as well. What looks like "spoiled" at one socioeconomic level may seems parsimonious at another.) A huge bonanza is overload and doesn't give the time to appreciate any one thing. But I don't think there's anything wrong with sets given on a regular basis.

    As an adult collector, I can indulge myself -- I can build a set a night if I really want to. If I had a Lego-aged child, I wouldn't see any reason to stop doing that; it would just be a normal household thing, like watching TV.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,986
    I am going to go a very different route on this.

    Different families do different things at the holidays.

    I do not typically buy my kids any toys during the year. My focus is birthday and Christmas.

    (Two exceptions....
    - we have a very small 1/2 birthday celebration for my son, since his bday is very near Christmas.
    - books... When they are younger, I buy them. When they are older, I make them pay for 1/2 the cost. )

    If they want toys during the year, then they can save for them. I feel this teaches them how to save for what they want, how to make smart judgements as to what to save for and what to add to Christmas/bday lists, and to know that toys are not something that happen year round. I have taken my son on a 'field-trip' to Wal-mart to discuss clearance and sale prices, and what really is a 'good' deal. He wanted the Police Station last year, and had Christmas money from a relative, and we talked about the cost of buying it then versus waiting for it to be on sale. After he realized he could purchase an entire extra Lego set by waiting, he chose to wait. (I had already found it for $78 by that time, and I made him wait 6 weeks...)

    My point... there are MANY ways to handle this, and just because a child gets many presents at Christmas doesn't mean they are going to be spoiled.

    Because of my method, I don't mind splurging at Christmas. When I grew up, Santa also splurged at Christmas, and I can state we did not grow up 'spoiled' because of that. If anything, because I knew there were no toys during the year, I really learned to save my money.

    My son for Christmas Lego will be getting
    Epic Dragon Battle
    Ultra-Sonic Rider
    Fire Temple
    Ninjago Ship

    We will have a nice discussion after he opens them as to the pros and cons about putting a set aside to open later. It will be a good teaching moment no matter what choice he makes.

    I think the question you need to ask yourself is how do you and your wife want to handle this? Do you want one big Christmas? Just a small Christmas? Do you want to be able to occasionally purchase something during the year?

    Would your wife be fine if some of those presents have your name on it, for you to put together?

    Looking at your list, if you need to par it down, then I would select
    airport, a train, a house, train station
    To me those 4 items do go together, and I would not do less than that.

  • DeadareusDeadareus Member Posts: 264
    It's a tough call for sure. Lego is as much a gift for me as it is for my 4 yr old.

    For christmas this year I already have:

    Battle of Endor
    Super Star Destroyer
    Fire Brigade

    Granted the SSD and FB are for me so I will probably give one to my wife to wrap with my son and have it be his gift to me. BUT...

    I also have every intention of gifting Jabba's Palace and Rancor Pit for Christmas as well. So the 3 larger sets under the tree for him this year plus whatever other little Lego treats make their way into the sock etc.

    It's hard to restrain. We actually have to pack up some of the sets he has displayed in his room right now before we start building more.
  • turtle1173turtle1173 Member Posts: 230
    I definitely go overboard for Christmas. But when it comes to Lego sets, it also is for me too. I will say, however, that the months leading up to Christmas, are somewhat dry for the building of new sets. Even now, my son is on a pretty limited "new lego" diet, as he is anticipating great things for Christmas. Oh we might get some CMF's or polybags but not much else for actual new building. And we will buy the next winter set sometime around Thanksgiving. Then we will build all the winter sets again.

    At this time, he is also saving his own money (allowance, chores, etc) for Lego's after Christmas. I'll find good deals on stuff and sometimes let him pick sets from that for what I paid.

    Anyway, it is a lot of fun and the anticipation is great coming into the holidays. I'll probably write some more about what we do as we get closer to Christmas.
  • jonboy2000jonboy2000 Member Posts: 259
    @cheshirecat profiting off the in-laws, you should be ashamed! ; )
  • jtrjtr Member Posts: 37
    It's not the money, because i layby and use my "pocket" money to buy the sets. As you've indicated it's mainly to do with spoiling the kids - I guess I got carried away with it all - I had grand visions of building up a lego city over xmas holidays.

    My wife also wants room under the tree to buy them non-lego toys (unthinkable I know) ..

    I think I'll take some of your advice and get grandma to give them something I already have, that way I can roll my eyes with my wife while muttering "grand-parents always spoiling the kids".

    Thanks for the input.
  • weaselkingweaselking Member Posts: 61
    I have a number of City sets stashed away as well, the airport being the biggest. My 5- and 3-year old are more into the vehicles, so they will be way more interested in the plane and the baggage car. But they have a number of the cheaper sets like 4432, 4433, and 4437 waiting for them.
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 935
    When I was a kid, it really was only Christmas and birthday that I got 'big' sets - everything else in the year was bought with pocket money/money saved from birthday/Christmas (which only being a month apart meant there was quite a peak and trough in the Lego year!).

    Still have hugely fond memories of waking up on Christmas morning about 1984/85-ish to find that my parents had built 7730 on the dining room table, and had bought a few little cars and built plenty of houses out of basic blocks - to my 5 year old mind it looked like the biggest town EVER and I made that train go round that little loop forever - it's still going almost 30 years later!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,526
    edited September 2012
    mr_benn said:

    Still have hugely fond memories of waking up on Christmas morning about 1984/85-ish to find that my parents had built 7730 on the dining room table

    What horrible parents, taking away the fun of the first build. And on Christmas day too! :-)
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 935
    ^ Au contraire, it was the best thing to have done - at that time, I was far more crazy about trains than the building, to be able to make it go as soon as I saw it was amazing :)

    But the point I sidetracked myself from is that there really is a limit for kids. We can regulate our purchasing and our opening of sets (I have sets that I've now had for at least a year and still sealed, and not antsy about opening at all), but I think that kids can reach saturation quite quickly - receiving a set like 6285 Black Seas Barracuda at Christmas was hugely special, and it was great to have it go with the other pirate sets that I had, but if I were to have received that, the little Governors ship and Eldorado Fortress all at the same time, none of them would have seemed quite as special - I know what @mountebank means when talking about the glazed-over frenzy!
  • bortan88bortan88 Member Posts: 19
    Kids these days have it too easy. When i was a boy i was grateful for a clip around the ear and a lump of coal for christmas. I suggest telling them that santa doesn't exist and that christmas has been hijacked by commercial interests and you've put the money you would have spent on presents into a trust fund to buy them a house in the future because if you didn't they'd be stuck living at home for the rest of their lives.
    Seriously though, my two girls will be getting all of the Monster Fighters sets and the second wave of Friends sets for christmas and I'm hoping for a Wii U and the Haunted House. The more Lego the better i say. I'd be happy not to spend the ridiculous amount of money on the gluttonous christmas feast, have cheese on toast instead and buy more lego.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,526
    ^^ Yeah, it was a joke. I would have wanted it built for me ready to play with at that age.
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 935
    ^^ A lump of coal AND a clip round t' ear? You should count yourself lucky lad. I were lucky if I were allowed to come out of t' pit for Christmas dinner, when I'd be allowed to have a sniff of turkey before another 36 hour shift, after which I had to do all me homework.
  • UKtsumiUKtsumi Member Posts: 630
    jtr said:

    I was told it's overboard, and to limit it to only three sets :( popping my bubble.

    I still had hoped to get the pet shop and cargo train . . . but maybe not now.

    Does anybody else go overboard and have to limit ? finding you buy more than you can open ?

    How do you get the waf(wife approval factor) higher ?

    Do you have grand lego plans for xmas day ?

    I get my kids lego all year (I treat it a a staple) else how could I justify all the lego I get myself? So I try not to get them lego just for Christmas, but recently my 10 year old asked me what lego she could get Me for Christmas, ahhhh! :)

    I don't have a husband (or wife), so I only need my banks approval!

  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    I think this is a fascinating thread. I have two 5 year old boys, and I think about not spoiling them quite a lot, particularly with Lego (and my wife thinks that we already have too much Lego in the house full stop).

    But they are already spoiled - every kid now seems to have a party on their birthday, and everyone brings along a £10-£15 gift. For their 5th earlier in the year, we agreed that they could keep 4 presents from their school friends and give the rest to the local hospital where children needed them more).

    What I do. Firstly I very much have my Lego and their Lego. I put some of my Lego models in their room for display on a rotation, and occasionally let them play with my stuff (supervised). We also sometimes build some of my Lego together. We recently built Helm's Deep and before that Alien Conquest HQ, which were great co-operative builds. But after being built they played with them for a while, and then they are Daddy's for display, or parting out.

    Based on conversations over the weekend, Christmas has already started. Looks like we've got three months of "I'd like that". What we do there is tell them that they can ask father Christmas for 5 things, any more and he'll think they're greedy, and everything big and he'll think they're greedy. I think they'll ask for a couple of Batman Lego sets each and the LoTR game. I actually find this three months easier because everything can be pushed back with "would you like to ask for that for Christmas then".

    During the year, I have a big box of CMF and polybags, which I let they choose something from when they are particularly good.

    The advantage of this age, I think, is that they don't really understand how much things cost. They can be just as happy with a £5 toy as a £100 LEGO set.

    Once they get money a bit more, I think I'm going to start pocket money, and a "Bank of Dad", paying them interest, and let them save up for things. I'll then let them buy sets from Dad if I've got them cheap.

    However none of that helps with the original posters point, which was (I think) more about collecting cheap sets during the year. I actually think that's pretty hard because the might not be the sets that they'd like, and kids can choose things they prefer from a LEGO catalogue at quite a young age. My collecting of sets throughout the year is more about getting those £10-£15 sets for other children's birthday presents.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,157
    CCC said:

    mr_benn said:

    Still have hugely fond memories of waking up on Christmas morning about 1984/85-ish to find that my parents had built 7730 on the dining room table

    What horrible parents, taking away the fun of the first build. And on Christmas day too! :-)
    I build all my nephews big sets for birthdays/christmas. He can't be bothered with the build unless it is something small , like a battlepack, he wants Lego Star Wars stuff but is far more interested in the fact that it is Star Wars than that it is Lego.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,157
    If Santa brings all their presents (in a kids eyes), why don't kids wonder why mam and Dad are skint in January?
  • thorniethornie Member Posts: 245
    edited September 2012
    The month I came out of my Dark Age, I dropped close to $3000 on LEGO in one month. It scared the living crap out of my significant other. In retrospect, it was a little ridiculous to go that overboard, but it was super fun. The plus side is I pretty much got all of the stuff I REALLY wanted and I'm down to like $150 a month in LEGO expenses. Not to mention, more stuff than I can realistically build for a looong time.
  • gelkstergelkster MN, USAMember Posts: 897
    Your original list does seem like a lot for one holiday, but who am I to say- maybe you do Xmas big!

    I have two 4-1/2 yo boys, told my wife you can never have enough LEGO, the more LEGO, the greater the creative possibilities, & more mess I've noted. We've doubled our LEGO collection in a yr or 2 from what I had growing up. I keep "my" collection (from 30yrs back) separate from theirs (mostly boxed recent sets) but both collections are loose.

    I also told her & relatives it's an easy gift idea, LEGO always makes a good gift! We'll celebrate here this year w/ the City Mine, I dont believe in overdoing birthday/Xmas gifts so they always share one large set for birthday or Xmas. I luck out w/ a large set too :)

    You'll find being married, there's lots you & the wife won't agree on (often seemingly insignificant) but it can blow up in a big way. Compromise is the key. after that, better safe than sorry...listen to her.
  • stoneboistoneboi Member Posts: 42
    kids these days are so lucky, getting multiple lego my days, getting one good set a year is a blessing..
  • jtrjtr Member Posts: 37
    I know it's a big list, but I started to buy from when they drop the price a lot, to make the shipping worth while i need to buy two or more sets.

    I get the two sets plus shipping for less than the retail price of one item here in AUS.

    I really enjoy just mucking around and playing with the kids, building Lego and pretending the 'goodies' get the 'baddies' and basically being a big kid myself, it's my present as much as their's.
  • VimesVimes Member Posts: 24
    I have been picking sets on sale up all year, some for me and some for my 2 boys (5 and 3). So far I have Alien Conquest Earth Defence HQ, Space Shuttle, Batcave, Batmobile, Toy Story Woodys Roundup and Lego Kingdom's King's Castle squirrelled away for the boys but find myself also debating what to actually give them. My youngest has a birthday in Dec and is lego and Woody mad so he is getting the Toy Story set for his birthday. I reckon I will then give them 1 big set each for Christmas and keep the others for other occassions in the year.

    Of course I also have 4 (QAR, BP, Slave 1, Helm's Deep) sets set aside for me, but ironically feel a little guilty if I opened mine but told the boys you cant have yours, so may keep mine for christmas as well!!

    Need to stop checking on here for sales and deals though!
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