The past two years we have been at my in-laws for Christmas. My MIL, who I love dearly, goes a bit overboard on the presents for my daughter. Although, I must admit that the ball pit pictured above was from my husband’s cousin and she did love it, but we left it at Gigi and Papa’s due to room in our car and I don’t think she has been in it since. That, my friends, is indicative of a typical Christmas present pattern. She always gets something that she absolutely wants and loves (e.g. an ambulance with a full cast of driver, accident victim, gurney, etc.), but she also gets a bunch of stuff that she is excited about when she gets it and then hardly glances at after-the-fact. In fact, last year, we had so much stuff to take home that we left the ball pit there, we told Gigi to “take back and save” one of her presents (an actual guitar, which I don’t think she was ready for mentally or physically – she got a fun little pre-school dog guitar that she loves) and we still were filled to the gills. Then, she has a birthday in February, so in less than two months, she gets another on-slot of presents. It is just crazy. And we live in a relatively small place and it isn’t like me and my husband are hoarders, but we aren’t exactly living minimalists either. So, we have a lot of STUFF.
So, as I mentioned yesterday, I have adopted the Four Gift approach this year. I don’t know where the idea came from originally. I read about it on a blog post last year and thought it was perfect. Four gifts for each person on your list – something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Simple, covers the bases and doesn’t end up producing a million toys that one child could never possibly find the time to play with during the year, even without the prospect of accumulating yet more at a later date. My daughter will also get a few things from Santa Claus – her big gift will come from Santa – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Lego set. It is a little above her age and the prospect of 480 parts really disturbs me, but she has been asking for that and not much else for the past month, so I feel like it is THE gift for her this year. My sister got her a bunch of little things that are TMNT as well. I would also like to get her a little bike with training wheels. Right now she has a Big Wheel type ride with a handle for pushing and she has definitely advanced beyond that. She also has a second-hand scooter that someone DIY fixed with a bolt that was too long as an axle and it threatens to take out her ankle every time she uses it, so I may get her a scooter instead. I thought with the bike that maybe my husband and I could get bikes in the new year and make that our family thing since we have a bike trail about 1/4 mile away from our house, but I think that may be a little optimistic on my part. We’ll see. So, tomorrow I will be shopping for six or seven gifts for her – four from us in the categories I named and two or three from Santa, most of which will be small and cheap.
I decided a while ago that her reaction to dollar store items is often as or more excited as when we spend $30 on an item. So, why be searching for something that costs a lot instead of searching for something that will make her happy. If the TMNT Legos were something I could get secondhand, I would. They are expensive. I realize she will lose a lot of the pieces during the course of using them (it is inevitable). I also realize that she may get them and decide she doesn’t really like them much (always a chance of that). I am ready for all scenarios. But, beyond that, she doesn’t need a ton of money spent on her. She loves the little things. She gets a lot of stuff all the time, so it isn’t like she is in need of much or hurting for items. I am undecided on what I will get her in each category. I am thinking of doing the same for some of my family members. It makes it simple and doable and it has a theme, which I love.
So, that is what I will be doing tomorrow. We have the sitter coming at 11:30 a.m. and we’ll head out, hoping most people are working and there won’t be impossible crowds to deal with. I’m hoping I can get all the shopping done tomorrow, but we shall see. I have also RAOKed a family that someone posted on our local freecycle list about – struggling financially, not having a Christmas, so I’m going to make all four of their kids stockings. No big items there, but the dollar store will provide a lot for $15 or so on each kid and it makes me feel good to be giving someone something who needs it. I got my husband a subscription to Beer Connoisseur magazine, so that takes care of his something to read. I kind of hate shopping this last minute, but it will get done, so I’m not going to stress about it.
What about you? Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you have all your shopping done? Do you limit gifts to your kids? Do you spend a ton on Christmas? I would love to hear about other’s Christmas gift giving plans!