Christmas, Christmas time is here…

Ok, not really. But the time for me to start figuring out the birthday and Christmas lists for my dear children is here. Since my oldest have fall birthdays, I usually start brainstorming and plotting out my suggestion lists for family around September. Most of our family lives in Kentucky, so they don’t really know what the girls are interested in or what they already have. They are usually glad to have a recommendation list. It also helps me avoid less desirable toys, like too many things that require batteries.

I usually start out by perusing the Toys ‘R’ Us website for age appropriate ideas. I pay extra attention to subjects the kids find interesting and try to find a matching toy or activity. Sometimes I just flat out ask them what they think they might want for their birthday or Christmas. And if they ask for anything they’ve seen on television, I suggest we add it to the list.

When you read books like Little House in the Big Woods and see how excited Laura and her sister Mary were to receive so little for Christmas (a doll, an orange, and a piece of candy), it really puts things in perspective. Kids really don’t need that much to play with. It’s hard for parents sometimes to realize this and overcome our want to give the kids lots of presents. Then there is the issue of equality when you have more than one child, so you have to balance the number of presents with the cost of each present.

Therefore, each child gets two birthday presents and two wrapped Christmas presents; one is from us and the other is a joint gift from her sisters. Then we suggest that Santa give no more than three individual gifts per child and then stocking stuffers. With three kids that’s six birthday presents, six Christmas presents, and nine Santa presents per year. That’s a pretty good haul in my opinion, and it doesn’t even include presents from Granny, Memaw and Papaw, my sister and her husband, and my mother’s best friend.   Since all of the girls are close in age, they pretty much share everything. (My oldest daughter always keeps this in mind when helping pick a present for her little sisters.)

Now obviously that’s a lot of stuff to squeeze into a small home in addition to all of the stuff we already have. I do try to pare down our junk on a regular basis, despite the protests of my oldest who has apparently inherited my father’s pack-rat tendencies. I find it is often more effective to come up with some non-toy present ideas. For instance, I have a deal with my mother’s best friend that I will provide a list of desired art supplies. Every Christmas we get the big box of stuff to last us until the next year. This year my parents are paying for the older girls’ gymnastics classes for their birthdays and Christmas; they are also subscribing them to Highlights magazines. After talking to my sister, I gave her a list of children’s books to add to our personal library.

I’ve almost got the shopping list for my oldest completed.  She always wants everything, so she is easy to shop for.  I’ll probably kind of wing it for the baby with a combination of clothing and replacement toys.  The hardest to shop for is my middle daughter.  She gets a lot of enjoyment out of stuff previously belonging to her older sister.  I did ask her yesterday what she wanted Santa to bring her.  She said, “A present.”  “What kind of present?” “A pretty present.”

Later last night she asked for a pink Barbie car that she saw on television, but when I looked it up I realized that she meant this Power Wheels Barbie Jammin’ Jeep.  As much as I would love for her to have it, since she rarely asks for anything, it ain’t happenin’.  That one item costs more than our entire Christmas budget for all three girls.  Thankfully she is a pretty new three, so by the time Christmas actually gets here she should have forgotten all about it and will happily enjoy whatever Santa does bring.

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One Comment on “Christmas, Christmas time is here…”

  1. llmom Says:

    I am thinking about Christmas too. I like your ideas about simple and small amounts. That is so important for large families, especially.


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