Saturday, November 5, 2011

I want a Barbie, and a Princess House, and another American Girl Doll, and...

It's time.

The toy catalogues have arrived in the mail (our poor postal carrier...)

In large enough quantities that the kids can pass them around.  Again and again.

They pull out the scissors and glue, and begin cutting and pasting the pictures haphazardly all over their 'wish list' paper.

  They, of course, conveniently forget to include the price, or the actual name of the product.

Last year we managed to squeak by and get the bulk of our Christmas shopping done several weeks before Christmas and had it shipped to the in-laws, where we would be staying.  It felt so good having a lot of the stress out of the way last year, that I intend to get it done early again this year.

The in-laws like to have the wish lists about now, so that they can start shopping.  I've been bugging the kids for a couple of weeks to give me some ideas to pass on.  The catalogues help, but the requests are still very vague.  Jordan wants a new DS, which is expensive.  Rylan wants a plastic Disney princess make-up table, which is expensive (and a huge waste of money, IMHO).  Owen could care less, as long as it is a train, car or a 'pee-u-mer' (anything that resembles a gun).  Colin has no idea there is even a holiday coming up.

I am on the cusp of big change in our family life.  I am tired of chaos.  I am tired of clutter.  I want to have more time and fun with my kids.  I've discovered Fly Lady and all of her wonderful ideas about clearing our homes of clutter and inviting peace into our homes.  In regards to shopping, her ideas and those of parents and grandparents who 'fly' with her  are really beginning to change my outlook on how to purchase gifts for kids (and adults!)

Here are some ideas that truly resonated with me:
  • Stay clutter and stress free - purchase 'experiences' not 'things'
  • For example: purchase family memberships to the zoo, museum, science center, city pool, play gym
  • Classes: art, dance, cooking, pottery, music
  • Art supplies: paper, feathers, beads, paints, pompoms, foam, sequins
  • Shop the thrift store for fun and fancy things and create a dress-up trunk
  • take the grand kids on a special one-on-one outing: a play, musical, game, camping, overnight, movie, dinner, museum, zoo, sledding, skiing, swimming.  Kids want 'time'!
  • Purchase gear that pertains to the child's interest: skis, skates, tights & leotards, pads, helmets, sleds, hiking boots, snow boots, ski boots, snow pants, tap shoes
  • Annual passes to National or State Parks or ski passes
  • Make something that can be used again and again by a child: sew a chef's hat and apron, knit a doll blanket, make a book with pictures, record yourself reading a story to the child, make a photo album of different family members for the child that lives out-of-state.
  • Money gift: can be used in a large variety of ways - a way to save up for that 'big' gift: bike, computer, skis, backpack, handheld device, cell phone
  • Subscriptions to magazines like Ranger Rick, Highlights, Ladybug, Cricket, Nat. Geo for kids...
By gifting those you love with some of the ideas above, you can accomplish a sense of peace:
  • You don't have to fight the shopping frenzy going on at the local mall
  • Minimal wrapping!
  • The gifts will keep giving all year - and not eventually settle to the bottom of the toy bin
  • The gifts will keep minds busy and bodies physically active
  • You can take part in the gift - and spend some time with your child/grandchild
  • You won't be adding to a landfill, or inducing guilt when the toy is passed along to the thrift store a few months later
Now don't think that I am some meanie that won't ever buy another toy for the kids.  We have so much right now, that 2/3 of them are in the basement, waiting to be rotated back into play.  One or two new items this holiday won't really bother me, but 8-10 PER CHILD is a whole other story...

Happy Gifting!


Shawn Walter said...

We ask for a lot of the 'experience' kinds of things for our family and the children (things like zoo membership or a show.) For their birthdays, they also get money towards an activity they like from my parents (like soccer or 4H.) Sandis' favorite birthday present is still the Winter Wishes Ice Show tickets we got her one year :)

JrWhale said...

That's a perfect gift list!!! (coming from the woman who gave her kid a library card and nothing else for his 7th birthday)