One is lonely, two is company, and three is a crowd. Six months after the birth of my 3rd (and last) child, here I am realizing that I must buy toys and Christmas shop, for a crowd. Although I could shop competitively as a sport, the start of this yearly tradition had to be well thought out. What’s the budget? Is there a budget? Stick to a list or go rogue? I didn’t want to overthink it but also didn’t want to create an issue I would have to deal with for years to come. These ideas lead me to recognize that I needed to discover how to effectively allow my kids to have a fun Christmas, but not stress myself out in the process.
Consider the Ages
Let’s be real, from about age 5 and under, they aren’t going to remember anything. Other than snapping some pictures for our own memories, infants, toddlers, and small kids won’t even remember the gifts they receive let alone actual Christmas Day. For them, they don’t quite yet understand the excitement and commotion surrounding the holidays. Their little innocent minds haven’t yet been poisoned by retail marketing!
Don’t Break the Bank
Unless I hit the Powerball, going to the store, and buying every cute little thing I see for two little girls and one little boy is out of the question. It’s no surprise young children tend to easily hop off one trend onto another. Therefore, buying exactly what they want or are into can get expensive, fast. On average, it seems all the “good” toys are at least $50. I can’t help but wonder, “Was this what our parents were spending?!” This means I would spend at least $300 getting each one of my kids two of those “good” toys. Not happening. The reality is, we could potentially spend all this money on 1 -2 items per child, not realizing they have more fun with the box it came in. Alternatively, try other stores and brands that cost much less.
Throughout the year, I don’t buy my kids random toys all the time. Certainly, for birthdays or things such as good grades, behavior, etc., I would more than likely reward them with something new. Due to this drought, they are extremely excited and grateful for the one time of year they can get new toys for “free”!
Make it About More than Just Toys
Wandering up and down every cartoon and video game-themed aisle for the perfect toy is not my idea of retail therapy. This is when I realized that I didn’t want my kids to only view Christmas as the Get-Whatever-Toy-I-Want Day, I want them to understand at an early age how important the time is for giving and spending time with their family. Whether it be playing games together, going to see lights, ice-skate, or any other fun physical activity. At the end of the day, all small kids want is your love and attention anyways.
Overall, my goal is to use this age to take the focus off the expectation that they will always receive lots of expensive gifts on Christmas. Personally, I don’t want to get to a point where my kids are older and don’t care because they have everything. As moms, we all know there will come a point where our babies will grow up and not be phased by anything. My hope is that these ways help buy a little more time, forever keeping Christmas a special time of year.