Sunday, October 19, 2008

Christmas in October?

I'm having a hard time getting pumped up for Christmas shopping for the kids (yes, we are already thinking of this at our house) when a lot of their toys are still wrapped in garbage bags from this summer's lice infestation. They haven't missed them at all.

It's disheartening to have so much junk that you need to get rid of some before bringing more in. I feel bad about it, but we grant Jake's gift requests much more willingly than Molly's because he wants things like Legos. Okay, he just wants Legos. Tom was a big Lego guy when he was little, so we have the nostalgia factor going on. I don't like the outrageous prices, considering he already has thousands of pieces, but the plus for me is that they store neatly in nice plastic tubs. I like order.

Molly's requests usually cost 1/10th the amount of Jake's, but they just don't have the same appeal to us. She is as happy playing with a piece of yarn, a roll of scotch tape and a tube of lip gloss as a $50 toy. This leads to good, creative play that is a cheaper, but exponentially messier than Jake's. It kind of makes me just want to buy her a pack of pipe cleaners and a cool temp glue gun and set her loose with them.

She is not a hoarder, but she could be described as a collector. Chaff and grain are thrown together in various piles around her very small pink bedroom. Clothes mingle with stuffed animals, schoolwork, and Ranger Rick magazines. Sometimes I go in and throw away little slips of paper and various treasures when she's off at school, but I feel like a jerk doing so. Why is a plastic Lego precious, but not a scribbled song lyric by a future Rock and Roll star?

If she asked for one high quality item (read: American Girl doll) rather than a dozen little plastic items (Littlest Pet Shop animals again!) it'd be easier to comply. But the American Girl dolls have been in lice quarantine since September and have not been missed. Now I'm afraid she's going to ask for MORE stuffed animals to bring into the fold.

When the kids were younger we got them each three gifts: one book, one toy, and one board game. We got this number from the gifts the 3 Wise Men brought baby Jesus. I am not sure when we stopped doing this, but it wasn't because the kids asked for more. As parents, we would just see one more cute thing and want to buy it-- another book, a calendar, a toy car. Before we knew it, our 3 gift limit was shot. Last year I had a whole stocking full of thrift shop goodies that were simply overflow presents.

When I was little, we seldom got anything on our lists. I now know that's probably because I asked for crap and my mom was crap-averse. I'd like to post a Christmas list I found in which I asked for a Shrunken Head Kit that could turn an ordinary apple into a delightful shrunken head. Hmmm. I usually moped around on Christmas thinking I'd gotten the shaft once again. Calling my neighbors, the Joneses, never helped matters. Keeping up with them, as I'm sure you could guess, proved almost impossible.

Oh well, I have 2 1/2 months to ponder these things. The economy could answer some of these questions for me, or at least motivate us to re-institute the 3 gift tradition.


Gretchen said...

Once again, super fabulous post. And, I have to ask, how can you not LOVE the littlest pet shop pets? Peppermint Patty has dozens of them and that's all she ever wants for presents. they are like barbies, only more unique! She likes to collect more than play, but she does play with them from time to time. And they're so cheap! And Legos? I will NEVER ever ever buy even one more lego as long as I live. Those things are everywhere in the house, and they are tiny, and once you buy a kit, IF it ever gets put together even once, it never happens twice. It's a waste of money. I'd rather spend the money on the giant tub of legos. That's if we didn't already have 5 hundred bazillion of them.

Mags said...

I love the 3 gift tradition. I'd love to do one BIG gift for each of the kids, and two smaller ones. I'm also leaning toward getting one FAMILY gift. We have a large family, and while we draw names for all the adults, all the kids get presents. The kids are in hog heaven.

Shana said...

I'm already Christmas shopping too. This year I think all four of my kids are getting the same thing, which is quite a trick when the ages are 21 yrs, 20 yrs, 16 yrs and 9 yrs, but they are all getting that Flip camcorder. 21 yr daughter can videotape the baby, 20 year old son loves to make skateboarding videos, 16 year old daughter loves to put video clips on her My Space page and the nine year old LIVES to make corny movies.

Unknown said...

My husband is an absolute fanatic when it comes to gadgets; he's always looking for the latest stuff to hit the markets. So for this Christmas I thought I would do a bit of research and try to find a gift that he would appreciate. So I’ve decided to scour the Internet for some inspiration and came across a website that specialises in gadgets and gizmos called I want one of those.

The only problem I have now is finding something that he would like!!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

A shrunken head kit?? That is a riot. My mom was like yours and tended to ignore the requests for messy/crappy toys (I remember the Holly Hobby Oven and the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine). I always got beautiful gifts that I think I appreciated at least 50% of the time.

My kids are still so little that we barely even buy them presents. We get a few, the grandparents get them a few, etc. and suddenly there isn't even room under the tree. Then they just play with the boxes. I am trying to cherish this special time...

Unknown said...

Might you know where I could find a shrunken head kit? That just sounds fun.

And I, too, am trying my best to put a limit on Christmas gifts this year. We have two sets of grandparents that go way overboard, so I've already talked to them about it. And I plan to STAY FAR AWAY from all the amazon toy sales that seem to go on in December. Last year my son ended up with THREE stockings, because all the amazon sale crap couldn't fit in to one. And that is just RIDICULOUS. :)

Good luck!

Mrs. G. said...

I remember begging for one of those dried apple head old lady dolls. Who knew there was a kit?

Yes, why buy crap just to feel full.