Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The art of Christmas Gifts

Anyone else in the full swing of present buying?
{I want mine all done before they finish school - cause then I have no time}

Every year I seem to be having an internal debate over present giving.

There can be several reasons why:
Restricted budget
Against excessive consumer consumption
No room for any more toys!
Trying to show the real meaning of Christmas versus getting

I've heard many ideas and have several swirling around and there are pros and cons for each.

:: 3 presents each. Good enough for Baby Jesus.. Good enough for you

:: 1 present from each person in the house. ie in our house that would equal 5 gifts each.

:: 1 present full stop. Let kids choose a really great most favourite thing in the world type gift.

:: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.

:: Just buy them what they want (within budget). Happy for them, Easy for mum.

:: Mum just shop and shell out whatever (our usual tradition ;)

I've heard of and loved most of the above ideas for years.
There always seems to be a reason why I can't implement any of these sayings as longterm traditions

Too many gifts (usually)
Too few gifts
I don't usually buy big ticket/expensive toys
I didn't find a 'need' for one kid or a 'book' - is the saying now cancelled out?
Do all the trinkents in stockings count in the present count?
How to teach the above reasons or the thoughts behind our gift giving to the kids

Last year I was impressed when a family I know said they put the names in the hat and they all get (and buy) ONE present each, little kids included!
Is it bad that I actually thought that sounds refreshing? But regardless I've already bought more than that. I'm not sure I would even know how to buy just one gift each. I think that would give me more worries about getting it right! I like to increase my odds of at least one successful gift :)

There's a little pressure around Christmas to get it right and make kids happy for that magical day of the year.

My kids are usually very happy with basic toys and don't write long lists or anything but there is also the yearly dilemma of what kids want and what I want to buy for them. Many times the gifts are what 'I think' will make great gifts. Sometimes I'm a winner! sometimes not! It's hard not to discount what kids want in favour for educational gifts, or battery free gifts, or toys I'd prefer around the house. It's hard not to want to sneak in new school supplies and underwear and pass it off as a gift.

There is also the dilemma of favourite gift of Christmas day versus the most used gift for the rest of the year.

There seems to be a strange coincidence that the gift most played with on Christmas day is never the most used gift the rest of the year.

The handmade note and pen pouches were our most used gift from last year. Used every Sunday in church and during trips to restaurants, visiting people (without kids or toys), used in boring places that kids need to be quiet.  Even though the girls love them it wasn't something that got them excited on Christmas Day.

The 'it' gifts are often left untouched once the excitement wears off (mega annoying!!)
(how many walking/talking/moving stuffed animals do we have not played with!? How many Crayola glow in the dark art stations and zhu zhu pet houses were thrown away only weeks after?)


Do you try to cover Christmas with buying both types of gifts?
Dispense with even bothering with 'it/must have' toys?  (wasted money!! But makes you a Grinch!)
Buy toys to get the quick joy and forget about how long it will be played with?

The art of the Christmas Gift is a very fine line

This year my goal was that they could choose anything they wanted at all (within reason) the girls actually balked at that and said 'no mum, just do Christmas how you usually do...'

ha ha ha ha.

Hopefully they are happy with my choices :)

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