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.
2 thoughts on “Time is the Best Gift of All”
I agree with you that time is the best gift of all and that giving gifts is often for the benefit of the giver. You can tell relatives not to bother with a gift but they won’t listen. Also, my relatives often don’t know what to get as a gift so a wish list can be very helpful and relieves their stress. Better than getting a bunch of stuff that’s not wanted/needed. My b-day passed recently and my daughter learned how to say “Happy Birthday Ma Ma”. Made my day. Now my daughter’s turning two in a few weeks and will know it’s her special day when we wish her a Happy Birthday!
My little guy can’t quite get the word birthday out yet, but he was definitely singing ‘happy day to you’ on his birthday 🙂