Posts filed under ‘gifts’
Before giving birth to an October baby I never factored in the number of gift list requests that would come between the time the first leaves fall and Christmas begins. I don’t know what to include on these lists anymore. I feel quite inundated by the number of toys currently overflowing in our living room and that doesn’t count the droves of items I’ve already moved to the basement.
I need help! No seriously. I really could use some advice on this topic. I know that everyone wants to see the little guy’s eyes light up when he rips open the wrapping paper and reveals his gifts, but I don’t want another mound of toys joining the piles we already have to contend with.
I’ve told everyone in my family that time is really the best gift of all, but with that suggestion they all seem to shrug their shoulders and say “uh-huh, but what can I buy the little guy?”
A few friends have suggested sticking to the good old rhyme:
- something they WANT
- something they NEED
- something to WEAR
- something to READ
I’ve also thought about asking them to wrap gifts of food and other consumable items. My kid loves fruit. Maybe they could just wrap up some oranges and apples. I know it sounds crazy, but at this age I think he’d love that more than any big box they’d give him. Perhaps they could buy a paint brush, paints and paper all wrapped separately. Maybe they could wrap a helium inflated balloon. Hmm, maybe these ideas do sound a bit crazy?
It’s not that I’m trying to deny him toys. If he didn’t have a room full of them I wouldn’t think twice about adding a few to his wish list. And if his birthday didn’t occur two months before Christmas he might be in need of some new ones.
I’ve written about this topic more times than I can count, but I can’t seem to find a real resolution for the problem. I’m open to any and all suggestions! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any ideas!
I bought one and only one gift for my son’s second birthday. My family buys a lot of presents for the little guy so he really doesn’t need a whole lot of new toys from my husband or I. He has a room full of hand-me-downs he still plays with and two or three inexpensive toys I purchased from Ross and Marshalls earlier this year. The new toys tend to sit in a big plastic bin in the basement and make their appearance only after a couple of dreary, rainy days.
Actually, (don’t tell my in-laws or parents this), but I also store a lot of his birthday and Christmas gifts in the basement. He opens the wrapped gifts on each special occasion but after he turns in for the night I typically place a bunch of them in storage. Then I rotate these toys throughout the year so he doesn’t tire of them too quickly. I know this technique won’t work forever. Actually we’ll see if I can get away with it this year. At two years old he might notice that his new toys are missing.
I’ve written a couple of times before about my two gift rule, but this year I actually only purchased one gift for him. I bought him a book of nursery rhymes, which he asks me to read/sing at least three or four times a day. I knew he’d love this book because he has a similar one called This Little Piggy that he absolutely adores. There’s actually a whole series of these books and I considered buying him a couple of different ones. I really liked the Old McDonald version, but settled on just one.
I purchased the book at Babies-R-Us using a $10 off coupon that I received via text message. Actually I threw another item in the cart so I could use the entire coupon and ended up paying just a few pennies for both.
On his birthday we placed two candles in a cupcake and sang to him. Then when we climbed in bed that night to read stories I showed him the new book I purchased. I didn’t even wrap it. Instead my husband and I snuggled close next to him and spent a long time reading and singing just like we do every night. That’s definitely the way I wanted to spend the evening with our two year old. Snuggling and singing and enjoying every minute of being together.
After reading yesterday’s post a long time reader of this blog sent me a disapproving email. In short she said that I shouldn’t post wish lists for a two year old. That it goes against the very nature of everything that I’ve previously touted as important. I see her point, but I must admit that I don’t agree.
In an ideal world I would tell my parents, in-laws and siblings that gifts aren’t important. I would tell them that a two year old doesn’t need much in life. I would tell them that a child doesn’t need to open boxes covered in shiny paper and bows. The truth is that I’ve told them all that many times before.
I believe that time is the greatest gift any parent, grandparent or relative can provide to a child. It could be a big trip to places like the aquarium, the zoo or a local pick-your-own farm, but it could just as easily be time spent making pancakes in the kitchen, rolling out play-dough at the dining room table or putting puzzles together on the living room floor. I certainly believe that experiences trump physical gifts.
I also believe that sometimes gifts are more for the giver than the receiver. Grandparents love to dress boxes up in pretty paper and ribbons. They think long and hard about what to buy their grandchildren and wait with anticipation as the paper is pulled away from the cardboard.
While I can limit the number of toys my son receives I certainly don’t want to take the joy out of gift giving for members of my family. In an effort to facilitate the gift giving process I created a list for them to choose from. They can pick from this list or buy them something of their liking, but either way my son will only receive a handful of gifts for his second birthday.
I think every parent faces this quandary at some point during their children’s lives. I know that my son doesn’t need a lot of toys to make him happy. I also know that it makes my parents and in-laws happy to buy him toys.
I wrote a detailed letter to the long time reader who emailed me explaining this situation. I also let her know that more lists will probably pop up in the future. I plan to create another list of toys my son currently loves and I promised my sister-in-law a must-have list for her baby registry.
I’m not a fan of overwhelming children’s birthdays with towers of gifts. In fact, last year my husband and I purchased only one gift for my son’s birthday and two for Christmas. In lieu of gifts I typically encourage my family to contribute to my son’s 529, but I can’t force them to be practical, so this year I gave in and created an Amazon wish list.
Many of the toys on this list include warnings about small parts, but my son doesn’t put anything into his mouth these days, so I’m not worried. I also supervise him exclusively when we play with anything that might be dangerous.
Here is my list in no particular order.
- Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table (because my son adores water)
- Classic Doodler With 2 Stampers, Classic Blue (something to occupy him on long car rides)
- Little Helper Broom Set (because he loves to help mommy)
- Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo (fun building shapes)
- California Baby Bubble Bath Calendula — 13 fl oz (nontoxic bubble bath)
- Crayola Washable Watercolors 24ct Pan w/brush (for a little art time)
- Quercetti Georello Kaleido Gears, 55 pieces (for my little engineer)
- Educational Insights Design and Drill Activity Center (for my little builder)
- Battat Take Apart Crane (more toys for my little engineer)
- Battat Take Apart Airplane (more toys for my little engineer)
- VTech Kidizoom FFP Camera (for my future photographer)
- Gymnic / Rody Inflatable Hopping Horse, Lime (too work out a little energy on a rainy day)
- HexActly (more fun building toys)
- Gears! Gears! Gears!® Beginner’s Building Set (more engineering toys)
- Gears! Gears! Gears!® Motorized Spin & Glow Building Set (more engineering toys)
- Silicone Alphabet Letter Ice / Bake Tray Set (so many great uses for this)
- Night of the Moonjellies: 15th Anniversary Edition (a beloved book)
- Maxim Everearth Junior Racer (a fun little race track)
- Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike (his first bike)
- KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table (first train set)
If you have any other great ideas please leave a comment in the form below.
I was wondering if any of my glorious readers have ever tried Citrus Lane.
For those of you who aren’t familiar Citrus Lane ships boxes of innovative baby products each and every month based on the age and gender of your child. Each product has been reviewed by an advisory board and recommended by parents in their community. It seems the boxes may include food, toys, personal care items and more!
My sister-in-law recently announced that she’s expecting and I’m considering trying it out on her behalf. If the box contains fun products I’ll keep the subscription and surprise her each month. If it’s just okay I’ll quit the subscription and use the items inside as part of her shower gift.
New Citrus Lane customers can receive half off their first box, ($12.50 rather than $25), when they use promo code TAKEHALF. For only $12.50 it seems like it might be worth a try.
There’s also an offer to buy two for the price of one when you use coupon code BLOG2FOR1. That guarantees you two boxes for the total price of $25.
I wouldn’t typically sign up for something like this, but it seems like it might be a fun way to surprise the new mom once her son or daughter arrives. There is a lot of flurry before the baby arrives and just after, but it might be a nice little pick me up a few months down the line.
What do you think? Have you ever signed up for anything like this?
Note: If you choose to sign up for this deal you will be signing up for their monthly subscription plan.
This morning I woke up and realized that the comforter my husband and I share is literally falling apart. A few weeks ago I noticed a very small hole in the corner of the blanket. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I could have sewed in a patch, but we were leaving for vacation and the idea of fixing it simply slipped my mind.
The day after we returned I entered my bedroom and found tiny tufts of cotton all over the floor. It seems my cat found that small hole and decided to stick his paws inside of it. I’m sure his claws caught hold of that material and he pulled and pulled on it until the stuffing popped out.
Unfortunately, once he realized how much fun it was to rip out that cottony goodness he decided to poke additional holes into the bedspread. What started as one tiny hole that I should’ve patched, became four or five significant tears. It’s so bad that when we sleep at night I sometimes stick my foot right through the outer lining and into the blanket itself.
A few weeks ago my husband asked me to purchase a new blanket for our bed at the beach. (It’s funny because he asked for this before I came home and found our tattered blanket.) After sleeping in the queen sized Tommy Hilfiger comforter set I purchased from Ross he begged me to buy a king sized one for us to use. I told him that those comforter sets often cost over $150 and that I haven’t seen any similar ones on sale. I only spent $25 on the one I purchased.
If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know that my husband and I don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to money. While I’ll shop at Ross, Marshalls and TJ Maxx in an effort to buy quality products at cheaper prices I am not willing to shell out $150 for a new comforter. No matter how soft that comforter might be. My husband on the other hand, looked at me and said, “I don’t care about the money. Just buy it.”
Knowing full well that I don’t want to spend that much money on a blanket I put off his request. I figured he’d forget about it or he’d finally remember and buy it himself after realizing I wouldn’t spend the money to do it.
Lucky for me a long time reader commented on a post I wrote this weekend and gave me a way out of this conundrum. She pointed out that wish lists should include gifts you might feel guilty about buying yourself.
Let’s say you really want a waffle maker or a food processor but don’t want to shell out the money for something you’ll only use a few times a year. If you are like me, (or my wonderful commenter), you might feel guilty for buying yourself something that sits on a shelf for extended periods of time.
The solution: rather than feeling guilty add that item to your wish list. That old blanket problem, now resolved with a link to a luxurious blanket that I never would’ve purchased for myself. I also added a juicer I’ve been dreaming about.
As usual I appear to be stumped for birthday ideas. The big day is just around the corner and I have absolutely no idea what I want. While my family asks for birthday lists I sit on the couch with a pen and a blank piece of paper.
I wish I would’ve thought ahead. I just bought a year long membership to the zoo, which would have made the perfect gift.
I seem to encounter the same problem every year. I really don’t need anything and tend to buy whatever I want myself. In general I don’t want a lot either, which means I can’t really remember the last thing I bought for myself.
So I figured I’d throw it out to readers and ask for suggestions. Do you have anything special on your wish list?
I’m considering my usual suspects: gift cards for massages and certificates to upscale grocery stores. Beyond that I haven’t a clue what to add to the list.
While it’s always nice to hear from readers who agree with my posts there is nothing I love more than finding an intelligent reader with a different point of view. I received an interesting response to a recent post in which I asked readers whether or not they would turn down a financial gift from their parents.
My post focused on the gift of financing a home, but the reader, (a long time reader at that), said I was being hypocritical and at the very least a bit unfair. She pointed out that I accepted a sizable gift from my parents in the form of tuition and at times room and board. It’s an interesting point, which made me reflect on parental gift giving.
In theory I like to believe that I will make the right decisions for my son. He is not even a year and a half old yet, but I still dream about who he will become. I want my son to be kind and compassionate without getting stepped on and walked over. I want him to stand his ground and simultaneously reach out his hand to help others stand up. I want him to be proud without being vain. I want him to take life seriously, but also to find happiness and joy in all of the little moments that make up his life.
Having said all of that I also believe that the majority of a child’s personality is programmed long before birth. I know that I will have an influence on my son, but I’m not certain how much. And of course as he grows and matures he will be whoever he is and we will love him because of who he is not in spite of it.
In terms of gift giving I want my son to appreciate what he has to work for as well as what he receives. The reader who emailed me asked if I would have appreciated my degree more if I had to pay for it. I can’t say for certain. I do feel that I have a greater appreciation for my homes because I had to work for them. If someone handed them to me I don’t know that I would feel the same. Do I have less appreciation for my degree, because I didn’t pay for it? Possibly.
My father did not make a lot of money when I was growing up. For as long as I can remember he stressed the importance of paying for our education. While a lot of parents pay for their children’s tuition I do not know how many of them stress the importance of the gift. My brother and I knew that my father was sacrificing his own goals in order to pay for our schooling. My brother struggled in his first semester at college and wrote my father a letter telling him that he would do better, that he knew my father wanted us to earn a degree and that he didn’t want to lose the gift our father had worked so hard to give us.
The reader’s question to me is an interesting one. In my opinion if your parents provide money for college you still have to study hard and perform well to graduate. The degree should help you maintain independence and self-reliance as you can now start your career and earn money for yourself.
I’m not sure you can compare the gift of a house with the gift of tuition, but I guess the real question is does the gift need to teach you something? Can’t your parents give you something just because they have the money to do so? Do you have to learn to be better or do better with every gift you receive?
I need to take a little more time to think about the answers to those questions. In the mean time I’d love to hear what you have to say. What do you think?
I received an interesting question in response to my recent post on unequal gift giving. A reader emailed me about a situation in which parents provided financial assistance to a child who earned less money than her sibling.
Here is the scenario: The family consisted of two children who were both girls. The older daughter worked as a system administrator. According to the email this sister earned a high salary and was easily able to afford the items she desired. The younger daughter worked as a kindergarten teacher. Salaries were never discussed between the two sisters, but it was assumed that the older daughter earned at least twice as much as the younger one.
The parents routinely provided gifts to the younger daughter who taught elementary school. They paid for smaller items like sports equipment for their grandchildren as well as bigger items like summer vacations and the down payment on a new car.
The younger sister knew the older sister was upset about these gifts but she couldn’t understand why. In her mind her sister was set in life. She earned a lot of money and didn’t need anyone to hand her anything. The email went on to say, “I need the money to pay for sports equipment, cars and summer vacations, my sister doesn’t. So why is she so jealous?”
Based on the short email I received it’s difficult to say just how much financial assistance the younger sister received from her parents. Here are my thoughts based on the information I was given.
Need is an interesting choice of words. The reader says she “needed the money,” but her older sister may beg to differ about that. The older sister may think the younger sister could find used equipment for her children or ask them to play a sport that isn’t so expensive. I wanted to play the piano when I was little, but my parents couldn’t afford one. I played a rusty old, hand-me-down trumpet from my brother instead. This may have harmed me if I had been a musical prodigy, but since I wasn’t I survived just fine.
The reader doesn’t say what type of car she purchased. Her parents may have provided a down payment for a reliable used car or a less expensive sedan. On the other hand, she may have asked her parents to help her with a brand new, luxury model. Is the younger sister driving a nicer car then the sister who pays all of her own bills? The older sister may get jealous when the younger one receives bigger and better toys then she owns. Since the older sister does not receive financial assistance from her parents she only buys what she can afford, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want a nicer, bigger car too.
The reader didn’t mention where she went on vacation. Did her parents pay for a week’s stay at a luxury hotel that included ocean views and spa treatments or did her parents provide $300 for two nights at a nearby hotel? I wonder if the younger sister is taking a nicer vacation then the older sister who has to pay for everything herself.
One thing that should not be overlooked is job satisfaction. The younger sister may love teaching school. She may go to work smiling at the thought of teaching children to count and read. While she earns less per her hour her overall enjoyment and job satisfaction may be leaps and bounds higher than her sister who sits in a cubicle all afternoon.
As the older sister trudges to work each day she may be bitter that she doesn’t enjoy her chosen career. She’d love to quit her job to teach, but she also knows that it can be hard to support her lifestyle on a teacher’s salary. If the older sister quit would her parents support her like they do her younger sibling?
Perhaps the jealousy comes from being stable, following the rules, paying your bills on time and working at a job you don’t enjoy while your sibling works in a fulfilling career and lives a lifestyle that would be unachievable if it was not subsidized by her parents. It is possible that the older sister believes her younger sister should have chosen a higher paying career if she wanted all of the perks that come with having more money.
Of course, it is also possible that sibling rivalry started way back when the two sisters were children. Sometimes children feel that a sibling receives much more love and affection from their parents then they do. When you are a child you may use hugs and kisses as a barometer of your parents love for you. As an adult you may begin using gifts and dollars.
What do you think?
Last week I asked my readers if they would accept a gift from their parents. I wrote the post after learning of a friend who is about to receive a beach home from his folks. I appreciate the honest comments and emails that were sent to me. I wonder if I shouldn’t have also asked the opposite question, which is would you buy a large gift for your children?
I stumbled across an interesting article this weekend about Mick Jagger who, despite his wealth, does not believe he should buy homes for his three adult children. According to a recent CNN article, “Those who know Jagger well — including his oldest daughter, Jade, say that he strongly believes that children ought not think themselves entitled to their parents’ money and that they have to make their own way in life.”
His daughter Jade went on to say, “I was never a trust-fund child. Dad’s got a healthy attitude toward work. You have to look after yourself.”
So what do you think? If you had a lot of money, like Mick Jagger, would you buy properties for your children?
I imagine my husband and I will amass quite a bit of wealth throughout our lifetime and I want my son to understand that a lot of hard work and planning went into our bank accounts. At this point in time I can’t imagine buying him a home. I want him to experience the joy and pride of making it on his own. I also don’t want him to think that life is a cake walk.