Thursday, November 19, 2009

Subtopic: How Not to Be A Stupid Maniac about Gifts

Hello friends. Welcome to this blog post almost entitled "Because You Need Help, Even if You Don't Want It." I'm thinking it'll be a new label on the blog. That way, I'm giving full disclosure and disclaimer that I realize I'm telling people who didn't ask for help, what to do. Which, I'm finding is what a lot of the blog world does. I just wanted to be a little more overt about my intentions. And by the way, no one is paying me to write this or to review Christmas gift giving in general.

Topic: Christmas

Subtopic: How Not to Be A Stupid Maniac about Gifts (and I don't use Stupid very often)

As previously posted, I love presents. I love to get them and give them and look for them and wrap them and watch people open them and open them myself! The WHOLE PACKAGE (hee,hee, ok...not really funny) of gifts is right up there with my top 10 favorite things to do in life.

Did I mention I like a LOT of presents. Tons. It doesn't matter how big or how much they cost, but I love the idea that someone thought of me many times when picking out many presents. Because that's why I give multiple presents for a person because I saw something and thought of them.

Anyway, this present issue can quickly become a present problem. Because we attend 5 Christmas celebrations each year, and I have 4 children and 1 husband.

For a while, I just went overboard finding lots of fun stuff that everybody would love and then stayed up way too late trying to locate all my hiding places so I could stay up even later doing the wrapping.

And then somewhere during the Christmas season last year I found this concept. 4 presents for each person.
Something You Want
Something You Need
Something to Wear and
Something to Read
AhhhhhhHaaaaa. Bliss in present land. And it even Rhymes!!!

So here's how it works. 4 presents for each person. That's still multiple gifts, it's still many thoughts about the person, but puts the whole "gimmee, gimmee, gimmee" part of Christmas morning in it's rightful place: Nowhere.

We did have to start prepping our kids along about Halloween that we're doing this 'cool new thing' for presents. Then we'd quote the little rhyme and explain what it meant. And you know what? Our kids started doing it right back to us. "What kind of book do you want, Mommy?" and "Since you don't need anything, can I have your Need present?"

Now, because the Something you Want gift is obviously going to be the highlight of Christmas morning, we open the gifts in reverse order. Read.Wear.Need.Want. Keeps everybody happy with anticipation.

If you were a mouse in the house last Christmas at the Robinson's, here's what you would have seen.

First, everyone opened their Something to Read.

Then came Something to Wear.

My boys don't get very excited about clothes, but when you put light-up shoes under the jeans and sweaters, they think Something to Wear becomes a pretty decent gift!

Then Something You Need. Here's where we're not talking about the basic human needs: food,clothing, shelter.

But I think every boy needs a baseball glove. So the twins each got ball gloves for Christmas. If you're wondering why that one already looks broken in, it's because it was! I got it at the thrift store for $1.99. Every boy does not need a $29.99 baseball glove when he's 5 years old and is going to leave it out in the rain 18 times in the first year.

And finally, the Something You Want.

Talk about anticipation, this is what my dear daughter did upon pulling the box top off of this Samantha doll on Christmas morning:

She folded her hands, and stared at it with joy. For like 2 minutes! Enthusiasm was bursting from her, but she wanted to enjoy every little ounce of that gift and soaked in the moment.

Oh, the things we can learn from the little people in our lives.

So, friends, don't be stupid. Don't go in debt this Christmas. Try to pry your mind away from the notion that you're out to impress, spoil, dote upon, buy love or fulfill dreams for Christmas or otherwise propagate the Christmas Gift Marketing Machine. If your kids know you love them every other day of the year, they will know you love them Christmas Day.

But, like I said, I did start mentioning the "You'll get 4 presents for Christmas" w-a-y in advance, because I had previously done all the no-no's in the aforementioned paragraph.

Want. Need. Wear. Read.

It rhymes. It works. Really.


Kelly said...

Great idea! My problem is that I find a ton of stuff I KNOW they would really love. And i just love watching their little faces light up with glee when they open it. I like you, shop the thrift store so I feel like I have even more money to work with which means MORE presents!!!!

Vicki said...

Gretchen told me that you told her about this. And guess what? We are going to do this too:) So excited even Bryce thinks it's a great dea!! And the kids think it's cool too.

Anonymous said...

That is a fun rhyme and clever idea. We usually give 3 presents (excluding stockings) to each of our children. Tying it to the the Wise Men who brought 3 gifts to Jesus.

But I do like your idea too....hmmm.

Jody said...

Okay, I should probably make another small addendum to this post. Because I do love to find the gifts, each present sometimes has more than one thing in it. Like, I might give 5-7 books for the read, or multiple things to wear. But the want and need are usually the bigger gifts and I don't stack them. I'm still recovering...

AKA said...

ooooh, I like this!

Ginger said...

Oh my gracious, if we gave 4 gifts to everyone we would go into debt! We don't even give our kids gifts; they get such an obscene amount from their grandparents, it would be more than overkill. They do a secret Santa-type exchange for their stockings, which they really enjoy.
I've heard lots of people do the 3 gifts per person rule since there were 3 wisemen, but again, with our commercially-conscience parents, that would be nuts for us to give that much.
I do like the "things you read" rule though. One can never have enough books!!

Amy said...

Jody. You are a brilliant woman. I am emailing Jason this link!! I love this idea! We are in the States this Christmas, so it will be way out of control with g-parents going nuts, but I think this plan will be in our future Christmases.

That idea could land you on Oprah, my friend.

The Hyde's said...

I will ditto Amy and say that this idea is brilliant! I love it and will email Jerod the link as well. I LOVE presents and unwrapping and stockings and the whole bit! Oh, by the way, what do you do with the stocking thing? Love your blog, especially the worship and the hammer bit.