Saturday, November 28, 2009

Some Weekend Questions

Yesterday was a golden and glorious day from my husband-at-home, children-were-sleepy, 68-degree viewpoint. We had a wonderfully uneventful day, and I can't say I'd even like to imagine the chaos that some people endured in the wee hours of the morning in the name of shopping.

As I've said before, I'm not big on shopping. I am big on new things to hold in my greedy little hands, but the effort it sometimes takes to get to that point just wears me out and overwhelms my simple sensibilities. So yesterday morning at 4 am, when some of my family members were trekking to their must-shop venues, I was snuggled warm in my bed, with my cold toes shoved among my husband's shins. It was probably blissful -- I don't really know, since I slept through it.

However, I do have shopping on my mind these days. You see, I'm not historically good at getting my Christmas shopping done early. In fact, I've been known to be one of the frantic few shoppers left on Christmas Eve morning, still hunting for something -- anything -- to give as a gift for a difficult recipient. Not that my recipients are difficult, mind you; It's me that causes trouble. I overthink things and get the perfect specific gift in my head, and then end up not being able to find exactly what I had in mind, so nothing will do. And then...gift card. I end up with a plain, boring gift card. Why is it that I SO hesitate to give those for fear of being unoriginal, but I SO love to receive them? How is that logical?

This year, I've made a bigger than usual effort to shop early, and shop often. If I saw something I liked for someone in September? I got it. And I've been collecting gifts pretty regularly since then. Let's just hope I remember where all of them are stashed, and what I've purchased so I don't go buy more gifts than we can afford.

Because of my early shopping efforts, I can gladly say that at this point, there's not much left for which I need to shop. What I do need are a couple of really good gifts for the girls. I have plenty of cute toys and goodies that will provide for more than enough delighted screaming (I hope...), but we still haven't found the one.

The crowning glory.

The piece de resistance.

The big kahuna.

Do you all usually try to have an...I don't know....anchoring gift? Something that's the main attraction under the tree? Or do you stick with a handful of smaller items? Do you just have a few small presents, and you're currently overwhelmed by the unnecessary cost and trouble of a big, messy Christmas morning? How do you handle your gift-giving?

If you do try to have an anchoring gift (and I feel like such a dork for even naming it), what are you getting this year? I need suggestions. I'm trying really hard to not go overboard on gifts for the girls, because I hate to set that precedent. I don't want them to grow up expecting loads of presents, just because they get them now; it's so easy to buy several inexpensive things for toddlers, but as they get older, they quality of items seems to count a little bit more. But the anchoring gift...that I'd like to be good quality and have the ability to stick around for awhile.

So, what gifts are you excited about giving this year? What items will your kids or grandkids or nieces & nephews love the most?

Thank you for your kind attention to my deep thoughts about a shallow subject.

15 comments:

  1. so I LOVE that you just gave me a name for the Anchoring Gift! Its a much more eloquent way of putting it than saying, 'one BIG present and a bunch of little ones' like I usually do!

    I definitely do that for my husband, and plan to for my daughter, but probably not so much this year. She's nine months old. Her favorite present will probably be the wrapping paper! I'm looking for something unique and handcrafted, though, like a beautiful cloth doll or... something... not made by Fisher Price... or something!

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  2. Lucy - I KNOW what you mean about wanting something other than Fisher Price! I hate to tell my in laws and anyone else who's buying gifts *what* I want my daughters to have, and they love all the plastic gifts anyway, but I really want something original and creative. Plus, I'd love to suggest open-ended gifts, but...I don't even know where to find those!

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  3. I'm afraid to admit that I haven't figured out this whole equation yet. Every year since we've been parents, my husband and I have purchased an "anchor gift" that we thought our kid would go NUTS about. And, as Lucy said, our child ended up being more thrilled about the wrapping paper than about the present.

    I've been pondering "original and creative" gifts this year, especially for my 3 1/2 year old. I feel like our house is filled to the brim with primary-colored plastic stuff! I think I'm going to browse around on Etsy for some original, homemade toys that hopefully, my kids will truly enjoy. I'll let you know if I find anything! :D

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  4. Nothing special to put under a tree, because we don't even have a tree! We have one cat who eats all plants and gets sick, so there is no way to have a tree anymore. We enjoy our kids' trees. Our gifts tend to be of time and event, not physical matter. We learned a long time ago that the former are quite special.

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  5. We believe in Santa Claus at our house, so Santa usually brings the kids one big present and then they get smaller presents from Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, etc. I have it on good authority that Santa's bringing Penelope a little stroller and a doll this year, but Katherine's gift is tricky. She keeps asking for a canopy bed. And the elves? Well, they're working on it--the canopy that is, but not a whole new bed.

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  6. I've got boys, so my gifts may be a wee bit different, but some suggestions for girl gifts
    A really good doll
    A kitchen set
    A bike
    A doll house
    A reading nook (bean bag chairs a cute rug, little bookshelves)
    New bedding (I remember getting a new set one year and was DEEE-lighted)

    AS for our gifts, we are cheap and trying to avoid the materialism of christmas (as much as possible) so the boys will be getting coupons for stuff that they can do with us throughout the year (swimming dates, a zoo trip, ice cream trips by themselves etc.) Our kids have plenty of toys and we are going for the relationship stuff this year, not just stuff.

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  7. We tried to impress L with a bright green gymnastics mat and a perfectly pink leotard literally hanging from the tree last year, but a week later, I realized it didn't have that "wow!" effect beyond the first moments of Christmas morning like N and I had hoped it would.

    Therefor, we decided to scale back. This year, C and L are expecting a new sibling at Christmas and that's it.

    Santa will bring fresh packages of nice-quality crayons, markers and paints for their stockings and I'm stitching some personalized aprons for each of them.

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  8. We also struggle with coming up with gifts that are of quaility and not just those they see on tv. We try to watch what they play with and how many times they mention something. We usually try to save more expensive gifts for christmas and go for quanity a bit more on birthdays since we are only buying for one at those times. This year, we think we did pretty good (better than years before) and got the boys one item they really wanted that cost a little more. Santa brings each a small toy and hides it somewhere in the house. They find a clue (one for the little boys and two for the older one) and go looking. They love this game!! At christmas our boys get two or three gifts each from us and santa. They get gifts from grandparents and we want to make sure they understand now that this time of year is not all about the presents!! Good luck, we have been stuck in many years past with finding the "one"!!! Forgive my rambling, you bring up so many good points I wanted to make sure I talked about them all!!

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  9. In this house, it is Santa's job to bring the "big gift." Last year we started a tradition to only give the kids 3 small gifts...if three were good enough for Jesus, three is good enough for us. And one of those three usually includes a pair of PJ's, which they get to open up Christmas Eve and wear to bed that night. We have a very LARGE extended family so the kids end up having 7(!) Christmas celebrations and my family doesn't always hold back when it comes to gift giving. So we attempt to keep it simple at home.

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  10. I am trying to give more from the heart this year. We are limited financially more so than in previous years, so we are making more gifts. One of the best gifts I have given (although not homemade) is doing a photo calendar of my children, nieces, and nephews for the grandparents. It's become something that they expect each year and they even save it as the last gift opened so they can savor it. I love that it has become so special to them.

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  11. I get tired of having so many toys around the house that barely get played with, so this year Addie's "anchoring gift" is going to be tap dancing lessons. We'll buy her tap shoes and wrap them up under the tree and explain to her that the classes will start in a few weeks. I just hope she really likes it!

    Millie is harder to buy for since she's too young to care about classes and because of her big sister, she has more toys than she needs. I could use some suggestions for her!

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  12. We always do three gifts as well in honor of the gifts baby Jesus received. Usually one of them is an "anchoring gift." One year it was bicycles, one year it was a kitten, one year it was personalized chairs for their rooms. Sometimes it's separate things (like the chairs), but other times it's one thing for all of them (like the ktiten).

    This year we are getting them a wii. Why am I embarrassed to say that? Maybe because I have never owned a video game system in my life. Anyway, that's what we are getting, so obviously it's for all of them. We will get them each two other (SMALL) things, and they will get fun socks, bubble bath, and candy in their stockings.

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  13. No kids here yet, so I don't actually have any suggestions. But we did always have an anchoring gift, all the way through college (when mine included a vacuum cleaner, a sewing machine, a set of luggage - all thrilling things I requested!).

    I really like MommyMonkey's suggestion of 3 gifts. If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for us - love it!

    Good luck!

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  14. You described my shopping technique to a T...out Christmas Eve, looking for the perfect gift that only exists in my head. The only year I was actually done early was the year Savannah was born because I thought I might be having a baby instead of out shopping Christmas Eve ha ha.
    My parents always did a Santa gift-one unwrapped present sitting out on that wonderful morning...a game or some sort of toy-something fun. I'd like to do that for Savannah too, don't have one yet...we are thinking about a tricycle but that might be birthday..we'll see. Savannah already has sooo many toys I think we might just get her clothes. I did get her some diapers etc. for her babies, she's real big into that right now. Um if you are into internet shopping check out uncommongoods.com for unique stuff.
    Good luck! Oh and way to go on the shopping through out the year, I say I'm going to do that every year but have yet to actually do it.

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  15. I've always done the anchor gift plus a few small things with my nieces. This year my whole family is calling off gifts. Drew and I are getting one thing for Abigail (her first stuffed animal for her first Christmas!) and that's it. At the family get together we are having games for the children instead of gifts.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?