It is that time of the year again. Christmas is approaching and with it comes the shopping season. But I am not getting too deep into thatÂ in this post. I want to talk about children and their gifts. I have three young children and a host of well-intentioned extended family. That being said, it means that my children get tons of toys, every single year.
I canÂ´t seem to put a hold on my relatives, but I have developed strategies not to be sunk deep in new toys. Mind you, I might seem ungrateful, but one child can have enough toys. And sometimes a interesting and or funÂ experience, or something a child really needs, can be way better.
How do we go about reducing the toy gifts and converting them to something more useful? If you have a large extended family, maybe Christmas is the time of the year to ask for clothes or a good pair of shoes for your little ones. Or you could suggest a special outing. If you have to pay for school books, a good idea is to ask a portion of the money that would be spend on toys to be designated to buy school books, or even go to a college fund.
However, you will meet with plenty of resistance. The older generations were the ones that had one new toy every year, if they where lucky, or none at all. Sometimes they are not thinking only about this child they are gifting now, but remembering their own disappointments of never getting that special toy or game, so they tend to overcompensate. With that in mind, approach them with calm, way before Christmas shopping gets underway, and gently suggest that your child is not deprived of toys, and that an experience would be greatly appreciated, such asÂ tickets to a childâ€™s favourite cartoon character movie, a fun sporting activity like roller skating or wall climbing, a visit to a zoo, theme park or museum etc.Â
On the other hand sometimes we, as parents, are very pressed for cash, and a few good clothing items and new pair of shoes would be a help, because children need lots of clothes! I would like to explain that a little better. When we are grown ups, we donâ€™t â€œloseâ€ clothes so much. We gain weight, we lose weight, clothes tear from too much use so we need to buy new items occasionally. Children on the other hand â€œloseâ€ clothes all the time. Sometimes an entire wardrobe becomes obsolete from one winter to the next. That lovely pair of trainers you kept for outings, suddenly is not fitting anymore, in a short space of one month. Thankfully I get lots of hand me downs, but I am equally passing on a lot of things that my children have grown out of, so bigger clothes are always needed.
So, now the silly season is coming, think about what your children really need or would enjoy rather than toys and conveying that to those well intention relatives who would probably appreciate your suggestions. I am sure children would enjoy something other than just another toy to add to the pile. Â I remember going on outings with my grandmother and otherÂ experiences we had together a lot more than any material gifts I ever received. On the other had I also fondly remember a real nice doll I got one Christmas. I certainly wouldnâ€™t remember that one special giftÂ had I received a dozen similar year after year. Our children willÂ enjoy the season all the more when not being swarmed by it.