Monday, August 15, 2016

Thoughts on Gifts

While I was devising the rules for the different categories of things I shop for, a thought occurred to me that really excited me when I was contemplating Gifts (this post). I had quite the problem last year. I gave the kids (daughter, niece, nephew) much too grand of a Christmas and broke the bank in the process. It was all my fault, I was overly excited about Christmas (this was the first year my daughter was old enough to care) and over-purchased for the kids. My daughter and niece were getting into American-girl style dolls, and I wanted to give them all kinds of things. I never had nice toys and I think that’s why I was so into giving them so much. Well, it became too much too fast, and I had to make it even between my daughter, my niece,  and then my nephew (who were all there together for present opening Christmas Eve) and I spent MUCH too much money. It was shameful! I don’t want to recount what I spent or what I purchased, it’s that bad.

This year, I want to do things very differently. I want to give a much smaller amount of gifts, and spend as little as possible. As I wrote in my precious post, I’m the kind of person who gives BIG gifts- almost as if I believe a present reflects on how much I care about them. For a while, I couldn’t think of how to balance a small budget + fewer gifts with how I feel about gift giving going forward. I cannot stand the idea of giving my dear family nothing or cheap, crappy gifts.

Enter the brilliant idea I had while examining my newfound ‘intentional’ mantra. I’m a creative person with some modest artistic talent. My family has professed interest and enthusiasm about my projects, and my mom even requested that I paint her a painting. I’m going to paint something for each of the adults as their gift. I even already found out what my SIL’s favorite animal is in anticipation. Please see the examples below (pulled from google) of what I’ll be doing.

I’ve done this style of painting rocks before and I know I can do these, but they will be a real gift of labor- they take a long time to do and I’m rusty, so I’ll have to do a couple before I can start on the ‘real’ ones. I am pretty sure they will really love them- but if they don’t, they can always stick them in the garden.

While this is all well and dandy when it comes to gifts for the adults (each of their favorite animals), what am I going to do for the children? I’m certain that they will not value a painted rock for a present- not an 8, 6, or 4-year old, and certainly not an 8 month old. So, I spent some time contemplating their gifts. I truly spoiled them last year, and I don’t want them to feel ‘famine’ after a ‘feast’. I recognized one gift each would likely be met with disappointment by the elder ones, and luckily these children are not materialistic and wouldn’t be disappointed because they didn’t get a brand new $XXX whatever kids like today. I’m sure they’d be happy with a nice balance.

So what is the plan? I think 3 is a nice number for gifts. Not too few, not too many. All three of the bigger kids are super creative. They love to draw, paint, cut &glue projects, etc. So I thought I’d make a custom craft case for each- get a double-sided adjustable compartment plastic storage case and fill it with all the things they could need to create stuff such as scissors, glue, washi tape, pretty and plain papers, paint brushes, paints, foam shapes, buttons, etc and coordinate it with their favorite things (trucks & dinasours, princesses, etc). That solves ONE gift each. I also want to do the second gift like I did last year- a movie night box with soft comfy pajamas, a movie (Disney movie club to the rescue for price!), and instead of a stuffed animal I was thinking popcorn and hot cocoa mix. The third gift is a little more tricky and will be more traditional. I know my niece wants a table and chairs for her dolls, and while they’re expensive I’m willing to get her them. I don’t know what to get yet for my daughter or nephew, but they’ll likely be a purchased toy of some kind. This leaves out the baby, who couldn’t care less about gifts at this age. I’ll likely get her clothing and a little wooden toy.

I'm pretty excited about Christmas (and it's August lol)!

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