I miss when my child was younger. It was so easy to go to a store and purchase gifts for her. As she has aged, it has become a bit harder. When she turned double digits, it became nearly impossible. She is past the age of Santa and fully knows that it is Mommy and Daddy that actually purchase the gifts that are left under the tree, even if my husband still labels them “From Santa.” She knows Hanukkah Herschel is not responsible for the gifts provided during the holiday. It is a bit sad that she has lost that belief, but now because of that, there is no one fictitious my husband and I can blame when a gift is not one that is desired.
Santa and Herschel aside, the holidays are the time for gift giving. It starts the day after Thanksgiving with Black Friday and continues with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. And it isn’t just materialistic items for purchase. There is Giving Tuesday where you can give the gift of money to your favorite charity.
I love to give gifts. I am truly one who would rather give than receive (probably because no one ever knows what to buy me). When my daughter was younger, the gifts were larger. Her second Christmas (she was 14 months at the time) she received the Fisher Price Learning Home. This gift took up a good portion of our living room. It had lights and sounds, everything to catch the attention of a curious toddler. But, it was big. And it was not the only big gift that took up valuable real estate in our tiny condo.
The Preschool Years
When she began to grow out of the toddler toys, we entered the preschool years of gifts. My living room real estate now housed a Step 2 Play Kitchen and the Fisher Price Loving Family Dollhouse. Frankly, there was no room for the sofa. It was at this time that we converted a small bedroom into a play room. If only she kept the toys in this room. Everyday, like clockwork, my daughter would toddle out of her play room and drop everything on the living room floor so she could play while watching TV. She also had some separation anxiety and wanted to be where we were. During the ages of 2 – 6, my living room was a toy store.
Grade School Toys.. Yes, Smaller!
As my child went through the ranks of grade school, I noticed her gift choices were getting smaller. My husband and I breathed a sigh of relief because we could reclaim our living room back. Now instead of these big bulky toys, my daughter wanted Barbie, Disney Princesses and My Little Pony. With the exception of the Monster High High School, the gifts were tiny. Easy to buy, easy to wrap. These were probably the best gift giving years!
… elementary school age quickly developed into preteen girl! I would say it started at her 10th birthday, maybe 9th, and toys were out! Problem was, she didn’t know what she really wanted. So as the holidays approached, my husband and I purchased some things we knew she would like… jewelry, purses, art supplies, books, journals. Stocking-stuffers came from Five Below (and still do, that place is preteen girl heaven) instead of the Dollar Store. I noticed her gifts getting smaller and smaller, a nice change.
At 10, she requested a cell phone (see my past post I Got My Preteen A Cell Phone). She didn’t want just any cell phone, she wanted the latest and greatest iPhone (because Mom and Dad are just made of money). She also requested a FitBit, computer, and an iPad.
The Gifts Get Smaller, But…
Yes, the gifts have gotten smaller but in turn they have become more expensive. While I didn’t get my daughter the latest iPhone (we are an Android family), she did get a cell phone. I bought her a Kindle instead of an iPad and saved a boat load of money. My in-laws took care of the computer. The FitBit has not been purchased but she may be receiving my back up Garmin Vivofit this Christmas.
This year’s gift wishes from her has been art supplies. She is my creative girl, always drawing. But it can’t be just any art supplies. Gone are the days where a pack of Crayola crayons or markers would do. We’ve even surpassed Prismacolor. She has requested Copic Markers. Once again, smaller than her preschool toys, but more expensive. She understands this. A pack of 8 is roughly $50. These are alcohol based water color markers. Normally I would have laughed them off, but within this last year she hasn’t really requested anything. Heck, she didn’t even want a birthday party this year… not even a gathering at home with a few friends.