Christmas Presents

This week at e2s, Emily and I will be talking a little about how we manage Christmas presents for our kids. Christmas presents, and presents in general, can be a sticky topic. Every family has different traditions and expectations, and I don’t want anybody to think that anything we say here should trump their family’s traditions. But we wanted to give you a peek into what and how we’re doing presents, so that, if you’re looking for ideas, maybe you’ll be helped.

PresentsAs I’ve told you before, I’m kind of a toy nazi. I don’t want my house to be flooded with toys, and, more importantly, I don’t want my kids to be obsessed with toys. So I try to limit what they have. At Christmas, this becomes especially important, as I don’t want their little minds focusing solely on the wish-lists and the presents, but also on the celebration of what’s happening: Christ incarnate has come to earth. Next week, I’ll be talking a little more about what the means in our family, so stay tuned!

That being said, we generally get our kids something in the ballpark of three presents: an item of clothing, a book, and a toy. We also stuff their stockings with candy, and an item they need (this year, it’s underwear. Exciting stuff!). I pick out the clothing and book(s), and I ask for suggestions for what they would like as a toy. They know, going into the toy-suggestion time, that they will not be getting everything they would like, and they might not even get anything they would like, but I want them to be able to give them a chance to tell me what they would really enjoy for Christmas. In addition, we do a few group gifts. This year, it will be a game and a new storage bag for all their handicraft items, complete with new skeins of chunky yarn for finger knitting, instructions and materials for making friendship bracelets, and Rainbow Loom refills, which my son loves.

As far as grandparents go, as I have mentioned before, I have been really blessed with parents who run things by me and ask for suggestions before getting them for the kids. Every year, my suggestions are a little different, but in an effort to keep the toys at bay, I will often give non-toy suggestions. I have asked grandparents for things such as math manipulatives, new PJs all around, books, art supplies, cameras for my older kids, games, puzzles, a kindle (I can’t believe my kids are that old!), season passes to the zoo, and tickets to events (for example, we would really like to take all the kids to the Statue of Liberty, so that was on our list this year). But, in all fairness, I know that sometimes grandparents enjoy giving toys, and ours have done a fair amount of that over the years. Sometimes it’s fun to ask for a larger toy for all the kids–a bag of wooden blocks, or an electric train set. I know every family is different in their expectations for asking for certain items, so if you’re going to go this route, just remember to be tactful!!

What do you do for gifts for your kids?

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