Monday, 18 October 2010

Holiday gift giving

I'm about to gear up for holiday gift season. And because our boys are all born in November/December, it means we have one huge gift buying time of year. My mind has waffled over the years about how best to manage it all. At times we have purchased one big gift. Other times I have bought a little less this time of year in order to surprise the boys with something else in the summertime.

More than anything, I want my boys to grow up appreciating when they receive a present. Inundation of toys only means too much stuff in the house, too many toys to play with, and never a real appreciation for what they do have.

The past few months, whenever the boys have mentioned something they want, our standard answer has been "put it on your birthday/Christmas list." There doesn't actually exist such a list in physical form, but I have filed away all the suggestions and compiled my own list. This not only makes it easier for me to choose a gift, but because the list in created in my email, it is easily forwarded on to friends and family who are looking for ideas.

Recently I read this in a parenting magazine article, and I thought it was the perfect answer to the question "How much do I buy my kids for Christmas?"

"We buy four gifts per child: something he wants, something he needs, something to wear and something to read. Also, we give each child money to buy gifts for their siblings ($10 per gift) and take them each out for a day of relaxed Christmas shopping and lunch with Mom or Dad."

Four gifts - for me, that seems like just the right amount. For us, we also consider that we have lots of extended family nearby, which means our gifts are only the beginning. I also like the suggestion of one gift in each of these areas. I would amend the "something to read" to "something educational." We have an endless collection of books already, and so at this point we don't need many more. As they get older, however, I would definitely include something to read on that list (which could be a book, or a magazine subscription)

I have also never attached specific (or identical) price limits for gifts. Sure, I start with a general Christmas budget, but I don't break it down to x amount per child or gift. Instead I just try to buy something my boys (or gift recipient) will truly love and appreciate. Sometimes the gift is more pricey, sometimes it is inexpensive. I find that in the end it all evens out, but for me, it is really about the perfect gift, not the perfect dollar amount.

So here we go! I absolutely love everything about shopping for presents, so this is a wonderful time of year for me.

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