I have no business writing about what to get our kids for Christmas. To be honest, we've never given our kids Christmas gifts. At first, it was because we couldn't afford anything, and knew that kids under three would never remember that they didn't get a Christmas gift from their parents those first few Christmases.
Then two years ago, we decided that we could afford to buy each of the kids a gift. We spent a couple of dollars on each kid for a really nice garage sale toy and wrapped them up.
After Christmas at Nani and Papa's on the 23rd, and Christmas at Grandma and Papa Dewey on the 24th, the kids were so overwhelmed with gifts that it seemed cruel to stack more new toys on them. So we left the gifts, wrapped, in a closet. They're still there.
We've realized that it's going to be the same every year. Our kids get so many gifts from Aunts, Uncles, Grandma's and Grandpas that anything Mom and Dad might buy is definitely not special.
This year we decided to change our focus. No gifts inside our nuclear family. Even Mom and Dad aren't going to get each other gifts. Instead, we're going to make a family project of giving to others. The kids are involved not only in getting gifts for some of the extended family (we draw names), but we as a family will make it a point each year to give either time or money to something we consider worthwhile.
We received a Christmas gift catalog from Samaritan's Purse a few weeks ago. In the center spread was gifts that kids can buy for other kids. Fresh milk to a kid in Africa for $4. This year, we'll do a project that involves the kids working (like raking the neighbor's lawn), and pay them enough money for them to buy something from that catalog for a kid in need. Mom and Dad will do the same - giving enough money that it actually hurts to a family in need.
I don't know how it will work for us. I don't know whether the philosophy that "Christmas is about giving, not getting" will actually come through. I don't know if I can handle not buying gifts for my husband and kids. But we're trying it.
By the way, my kids favorite toys, hands down, are dress-up clothes.
We all want to give good gifts to our kids, be they material or not. Since I'm in the Fall clean-up mode, I have some good gifts that I'd like to give to your kids.
So up today we have an educational game: National Geographic's Global Pursuit. It's trivial pursuit on a global level - complete with chips, lots of cards, a 12 sided die and a world map that you build during the game. It looks to be lots of fun for families with older kids.
Leave a comment if you'd like to win. I'll close comments on Saturday, November 8th, draw a winner and mail it out next week.