It's an annual rite of passage — grandparents who overindulge their grandchildren at the holidays. The kids love it, of course, and so do the grandparents, but it can make life difficult for parents who are trying to keep their kids from being spoiled and who may want to restrict the amount of new toys entering their household.

The key is to make your feelings known long before the holidays. It can be a difficult discussion — after all, grandparents' actions are coming from a place of love and generosity. But if you want to maintain some control over the gift giving at Christmas you need to speak up. Loudly.

Here are a few ways to approach the topic:

1. Set Limits

Explain to the grandparents that you would like them to set a specific dollar amount for each of your children and stick to it. You'll need to get an idea of what that amount will be so you can be prepared for tip #2.

2. Send Gift Ideas

You know your children best and you know what types of toys or gifts will best stimulate them through the coming year. Send a detailed list of ideas — toys, books, games and puzzles that can fill up the area under the tree. Make sure to build in some leeway for the grandparents to put their own touch on the items but by sending a list it lays the groundwork for what your kids will want and enjoy the most on Christmas.

3. Gifts That Are Needs

Explain to your parents or in-laws that what your children truly need this holiday are everyday items like clothes for school, shoes, sporting equipment, or costumes for an upcoming dance recital. Certainly, grandparents can give fun gifts, too, but these "needs" might help ease the burden on your family's budget.

4. Gifts That Will Last

If your kids are looking for a big ticket item — new game system, smartphone, computer, or camera — grandma or grandpa might be in a better financial position to purchase it. It will thrill your kids to get it and put a huge smile on their grandparents' faces to be able to provide it for them.

5. Gifts for the Future

The best gift for your children might be a gift that grows over time like a donation to their college fund or savings account. A gift of stock will also provide a benefit years down the road.

6. Think Annually

Another option is for grandparents to purchase an annual membership to a theme park, children's museum, or other attraction that your kids love. This type of gift provides year-long enjoyment and enables the grandparents to partake as well.