I know Christmas is still a ways away, and I'm not ready to decorate or wrap presents that I don't have or skip over Halloween (which we're very excited about tomorrow!!) and Thanksgiving or anything, but Christmas is on the brain lately. I just can't help it! For me, it's just easier and way less stressful to NOT be last minute when it comes to the shopping part. This has become especially true since I became a parent. And this year my shopping days are fewer and farther between because of working and busy weekends. So I've got to at least get a mental start on things. At least.
Of course my financial planner of a husband has already come up with a tenative budget, so we're ready to make lists for the boys and ourselves. =) (I hope we're not the only family that does lists for the grown-ups too.) I start a list for myself and the boys every year sometime in October. The boys' lists usually start with more practical, stocking stuffer type items. Then, I move onto bigger and more expensive things. The only problem is the budget I mentioned above, plus the fact that after the 3 previous Christmases with Garrison, and last year Austin too, we've determined that we have a tendency to purchase gifts for our children just because.
Referring to Garrison...
Aww, he might like that. I'm sure he will. Let's just get it. We need more stocking stuffers. It has to be full so let's think of something. We only have 1 wrapped present so far. We have to come up with 2 or 3 more. Santa Claus can't get him everything... there has to be stuff from us too. (For some reason it bothers me if my children think Santa gave them tons and mama and daddy gave them, well, not a whole lot. )
Then, there's what we said about Austin...
I know he's only 3 months old, but it feels like we aren't getting him anything. Look at how much Garrison is getting. I feel guilty not getting Autstin more.
Oh my gracious. Bad habit. Do not fall into the trap. It's a waste. Of course there truly are times when you're confident your child will love such and such, but once they get it, they just don't. Or they have nothing to do with it for approximately 6 months and then they love it. (Although I'm happy as long as they love it eventually.) And trying to compare gifts for an almost 3 year old to a 3 month old? Ridiculous. Sometimes you know in your gut that it isn't worth it and it's just going to add clutter and take up space but you get it anyway just for the sake of adding another present under the tree. Or, you're too focused on appearances and how it will look to someone else or in pictures if you only get them X amount of gifts. I hope I'm not the only crazy mama who looks at it this way. Then again, there's a very real possibillity it's just me. Oh dear.
Another challenge for us is our kiddos. Garrison isn't really obsessed with or into any particular thing. He has general things he enjoys like playing outside, baseball, and books, but we don't really get into characters at our house. Garrison's big thing right now is taking things apart and putting them back together. He loves doing stuff like that. And working with tools and "fixing" things. And creating things and using his imagination. Sooo... we have some ideas of things he'll like but we haven't quite finalized his list yet.
Then there's Austin. Austin who will be 15 months old at Christmas. It's a tough age for gifts. You never really know what he'll like or what he'll just toss aside. Plus there's the fact that he's got several hand-me-down toys from Garrison that are in perfect condition. If we ever come across something that's very used or that we know has been updated since Garrison was a baby, we'll get Austin the same or possibly updated toy, brand new. But when it comes to things that are pretty perfect it doesn't make since to get another one. Sooo.... again we have some ideas but nothing really final.
However, this year, while keeping our strict budget in mind we want to make our gift giving for our children more about quality. Things that are 1. practical or 2. they will use and enjoy and have fun with for months or even years to come. Not about appearances or quantity or "just because" gifts. It won't be easy breezy but we're up for the challenge and determined to make our gift giving different this year. Quality is the key. And sticking to the budget as closely as possible. Can't forget that part.
I also read something recently called the "4 Gift Rule" to use as a way to simplify gift-giving for kids...
1 Thing They Want
1 Thing They Need
1 Thing They Wear
1 Thing They Read
I like it because it's simple and can easily be used as a guideline and reminder. I know we'll get more than 4 gifts for our kids between Santa, us, stockings, and a gift from each other, but, this little 4 gift rule will help us out a LOT. It's a great reminder that does simplify things and focuses on quality, our #1 goal this year. Guess we better get to work. Time to research and brainstorm and analyze until we come up with the perfect gifts for our babies. Here's to shopping smart and getting it right! =)
PS... Today is my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday Daddy/George/Papa!! We love you!