My mother-in-law might be the primary reason that QVC and The Home Shopping network have survived the recession. Lets just say that she is at least paying some exec's yearly salary! They probably notice a little bump in sales on a certain day in December - That is the day that she buys Christmas.
The MIL is ALL about the presents at Christmas. I try to tell her that we really don't need as much as last year - we're trying to teach the boys the value of things - that they don't need to have so much - blah blah blah. She insists and asks what the kids want, what size clothes/shoes they wear and what toys they are interested in. Then she buys the opposite!
I used to think that she was just forgetting or that she was getting the info from my husband (love him, but I know he struggles with sizes). She always asks and she always buy clothes that are way too small or way too big. My husband had lost a significant amount of weight last year and she got him XXL shirts, a size he has never worn. I told her that my oldest needs size 2 shoes - he got 1's. If the baby is in 3-6 months, we get 3-month size clothes for next season. I'm starting to think that it's like her own little practical joke.
Now, here is the important part: I never say a word (I guess it's a good thing that she doesn't have a computer). If we aren't visiting them for Christmas, we send thank you notes and make sure the kids call when they open their gifts. I have never asked if she meant to get the three year-old a Rubiks Cube and a pocket knife. I've never even mentioned that she always gets me size 7 slippers when I wear a 10-11. I can't ask or say anything now because it's been happening for 10 years and I feel like I'm in too deep. What if the home shopping people have been shipping us the wrong things all this time? What if she's just waiting for me to say something so she can blast me for being ungrateful?
Lucky for us, we have worked hard to make Christmas more about the memories than presents. I want my kids to think more about the time they spent with her than material things. She loves to bake homemade pies and cookies when she visits - especially if I mention that I'm try to limit the amount of sugar that the kids get. If there is one lesson that being a mom will teach you, it's that you have to choose your battles wisely and appreciate the little things. So every year, I just smile, count my blessings and donate those cushy little slippers