This year I’m approaching gift giving for my niece and nephew a little bit differently than in years past. Every Christmas they each get a ton of gifts from their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. They race to unwrap each gift and hardly give any one gift a glance before ripping into the next one. At two and four they seem more interested in opening their presents than in the presents themselves. So this year, rather than buying them one gift that costs $20 – $25, I bought them each small gifts that cost a total of $10.
I went to the dollar store and picked up stickers, coloring books, construction paper, children’s scissors and glue. I also bought a pack of card games, which included crazy eights and go fish. I individually wrapped all of the gifts so they’ll each have eight or nine presents to open on Christmas day.
The basis for this decision wasn’t entirely financial. I certainly don’t begrudge my niece and nephew. In fact, in addition to purchasing toys each year I also buy them each a savings bond. I’m just not sure that they can really appreciate toys at this age. They have a couple of toys they play with often and love, but they also have a play room filled with toys they’ve barely touched.
Watching my niece and nephew over the years I’ve realized that the joy of opening their gifts is often as good as, if not better than the gift itself. With this year’s approach they’ll have seven more gifts to open than last year. I also hope that our gifts will provide them with quiet, creative time that will spark their imagination. Of course, I also know that my niece and nephew won’t be neglected on Christmas day. The rest of the family will purchase more than enough toys to make up for the ones that we won’t be giving this year.