Christmas Gifts for Children: A Guideline
Overwhelmed by demands for Christmas presents? Try this handy guideline to keep it simple.
If you are anything like me, when Christmas comes you can get a little overwhelmed by the array of things that are available to choose from as potential gifts for your children. Your children may get a little overwhelmed as well; we've all seen the humorous cartoons of kids on Santa's knee with a wish list that runs to the floor. In the case of my family, there was stress added because of the pressure to make sure all three children felt they had each been treated fairly in comparison to the other two. Juggling the expectations could be a little stressful until I learned this simple formula for choosing Christmas presents for my kids. If you want to give kids useful things, or educational things or fun things - this guideline has you covered. There are four parts to it.
Something They Want
Kids everywhere have got at least one of these - that big ticket item that haunts their dreams and tops their list and was written down in crooked letters when they wrote down their wish list for Santa. It's the shiniest bike, the hottest video game, the special doll, the big fad toy that everybody is getting this year. When Santa asks what they want for Christmas, this is what they are going to ask for first.
This category is the one that often breaks the bank, because there can be the temptation to buy children more than one of these big "want" items. This guideline exists primarily so we don't get carried away and buy so many wish list items that the children cease to be excited about each individual present.
At my house, one child has asked for a particular video game, and another wants a movie. A third wants a particular very complicated kind of three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Because of this guideline, I will hone on the specific gift that each child wants the very most, and keep the rest under control. Possibly some of the other things on the list can be gift suggestions for the grandparents or uncles and aunts. And, of course, if wish list items remain, there's always the opportunity to discuss the concept of saving your allowance for special things throughout the year, or doing extra chores.
Make sure this gift - the big wish list item - is in really pretty wrapping, and have them open it last..
Something They Need
If your kids have been needing something for awhile, and you've been putting it off because of the expense, Christmas might be a good time to take the plunge, go ahead and buy it for them. Example: my youngest son had his bicycle stolen earlier this year, and we have not replaced it yet. We will be taking care of that now. In a related note, his older brother somehow managed to forget the combination to his locker. Fortunately, his lock was off the locker at the time. We will be replacing that lock now. My daughter, who has been expressing an interest in creating an art portfolio of her best drawings, will be getting an art portfolio to put them in.
Something to Wear
Something to wear: it can be the gorgeous blouse your daughter has been eyeing for weeks or a T-Shirt for your son's favorite television show. It might be a special treat for a child tired of hand-me-downs or a fashion solution for a teenager who suddenly grew four inches in three months. And... it might just be six pairs of socks, if that's what your kid really needs. Kids always need clothes. If you fear that your child will be bored by this relatively unexciting gift, get them a gift card to their favorite store and let them go shopping for the outfit they want most of all!
Something to Read
This is my favorite category. It's the place where parents have the opportunity to expand their children's experiences, offer them new adventures in places they've never seen, and broaden their outlook on the world. In my case, this Christmas one of my children, understanding that I am a librarian by profession, has already told me what books he wants. With The Hobbit coming out as a movie this fall, we've got the opportunity to encourage reading in our house by providing books about the making of the movie. (We've owned the Tolkien novel for years, and the kids have read it twice.)
- Introduce them to a great novel.
- Get them excited about places they've never been.
- Help them prepare for college.
- Teach them a skill, such as babysitting or first aid.
Tie the book you offer them into the activities they love most, and this will be one of their favorite presents.