Posted by: learningwoman | November 25, 2007

Present Frenzy

Here I am, trying to think of fun gifts for us to give our babies.

I’ve been taking photos of them together, collecting them all year, so that I can send away for one of those great photobooks. (See I’m going to title it ‘Brothers’, so they can have a visual history of them loving each other and having fun together as children. Maybe they need one each, for when they’re adults? Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that.

I also like the idea of giving S. a voucher to go and have lessons on how to do magic tricks. Card tricks, sleight of hand stuff, you know.

We’ve got him books too. Activities (how to make paper slippers, write with invisible ink etc…), football stickers and others.

These kids have got so much stuff and every year, I trek up to the charity shops, my car groaning with the effort of carrying a ton of plastic stuff that they’ve lost interest in, now that they’re a bit older.

This year, as every year, we’ve decided to be a bit restrained. Not so easy when there are many, many extended family members. (I know I sound ungrateful but really, there’s an avalanche of plastic every year.)

And so, creative gifts, things they can do together and with us; games, art stuff, puzzles, personalised pencil sets, a new football, books, sweets, things to build, and of course a bit of brightly coloured plastic stuff, so we don’t forget what it looks like. 🙂

I’m wary of spoiling our children.

I stayed at a cousin’s house once, for Christmas. It was lovely, but on Christmas morning, her kids came rushing down the stairs and, without even stopping to say hello or Happy Christmas, they ripped into the gifts under the tree, disappearing behind a flurry of paper and cardboard.

When all the presents had been opened (no thank yous by the way.) my cousin’s nine year old son stomped up the stairs, angry and complaining loudly because his mother had bought him the wrong gift.

Now I know that for weeks before, she had been searching for this gift. She’d looked in every shop she could find, tried everywhere she could think of, to get the thing her boy wanted. In the end, she gave up and got him something else. Something really great, but not what he’d written on his list!

And that’s another thing! (This is turning into a rant… 🙂 )

What’s the deal with Christmas lists? I know it’s convenient to have people tell you what they want, so you don’t have to think about it too much, or get it wrong, but have we forgotten that these are gifts?

It’s not a shopping list for goodness sakes!

So, S, my beautiful S, who hardly ever asks for anything and is so excited by everything, wrote a letter to Santa the other day. He and A. sat down together with catalogues!!!!!!!!! What?!

I won’t repeat the whole letter but the gist of it was; “Dear Santa, it’s Christmas. Give me stuff.” Aaaarrrggghhh!

I’ve asked him to re-write it, maybe include some things like ” thanks for the great toys you brought last year” and “how are the elves going?”

They are so lucky, our children. They have a warm home, good food, many, many people who love them, lots of fun stuff, holidays across the world, many treats. I don’t want them to become so jaded that they can’t see the beauty around them and end up chasing something they think they can find in a catalogue!

One of the things S. wrote on his list was a new Nintendo DS.

He has a Gameboy Advance. Yes, I know it isn’t the same thing and that the Nintendo DS is much better, has more features etc…. but he hardly uses the Gameboy! 

He’s an active boy, always running, climbing, jumping, racing, wrestling, etc… so the only time he uses it is when he remembers sometimes in the half hour before bed. Not often.

He wrote it on his list because A. asked him what he wanted for Christmas and, not being able to think of anything else, he wrote that.

So, A. told his Dad, who told us that’s what he’d buy S. for Christmas. We said thanks but we weren’t sure we wanted him to have one and that if we did, we’d get it as his special gift from us.

The next day, he came over while S. was at school, hands behind his back and proudly produced a small package, inside which was the Nintendo DS!!!

Aaaarrrggghhh again!!!



  1. Hi, I found your post by tag surfing. I totally agree with you about the present thing. My daughter is 2 1/2 and we are trying to get small, simple gifts for her, as we know the rest of the family will spoil her rotten. Besides 2 DVDs and a pair of slippers, I am planning on enrolling her in a little music class. Very short & sweet and she gets excited about the smallest things anyway!!
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Thanks Jenefur, Merry Christmas to you too and good luck with your C-Section. Another baby for Christmas, Yay!! 🙂

  3. I can remember being a kid and sitting down with a catalogue and writing up a list – it was not sent to Santa but given to my mom. I rarely, if ever, got anything off the list because I would say things like “I really want the chemistry set to see if you can actually blow things up!” or the Lite Brite I wanted that after my parents walked on the small pieces from every other game my brother and I had, they decided something with a ton of tiny plastic shrapnel like pieces was just not in the cards. ; ) is a great place to find educational and creative toys. One of my favorites that they no longer carry was a set of large, silk squares. They came in a rainbow of colors and they were meant for kids to play with and make whatever their imaginations directed them to – more for girls – but you get the idea.

    Happy Holidays.

  4. What a great website, thanks fallenangel. 🙂

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