Having a child at Christmas time makes everything more magical.
I know I've said this before, and that it's super cliché, but it's so true!
Typically, I think shopping for Christmas gifts is a huge chore, but this year I actually had some fun with it, because I got to spend most of my time looking at TOYS! After quite a bit of research and browsing, here are the items that we liked most for Ryder, who will be almost 8 months old this Christmas.
3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride Elephant
|Ryder is right on the verge of crawling and pulling himself up, and he loves things that bounce, so I thought this was the perfect gift. This adorable elephant friend has lights, music, fun sounds, and three "grow-with-me" ways to play to get him moving: first bouncing up and down, then steading his first steps as a walker, and finally as a baby-powered ride-on pal! (Fisher-Price)|
Laugh & Learn Click 'n Learn Remote
|This kid LOVES electronics. He has lots of awesome toys, but does he want to play with them? Not if there's a remote control or iPhone in his sightline. So I thought I would indulge him with his very own remote control! Somehow I doubt he'll be fooled or lured away from the real thing, but we'll see... (Fisher-Price)|
Baby's First Blocks and Rock-a-Stack
|These are just some classic toys that I knew Ryder would like now that he's getting better with grasping and hand/eye coordination. (Fisher-Price)|
|Contrary to what you've seen above, I really don't like electronic toys. I think good old-fashioned, wooden toys are everything that a kid could want to stimulate the imagination and promote learning. Plus, I had a set like this when I was a kid, so I wanted Ryder to have his own wooden block collection. He may be a bit young for them now, but I got excited and put them on the list. (Melissa & Doug)|
Wooden ABC/123 Blocks
|Once again, this is something that I had as a kid and loved, so of course it went onto Ryder's list. (Melissa & Doug)|
Shape Sorting Cube
|And once again, a wooden learning toy. I was beginning to go overboard here, I think... (Melissa & Doug)|
The Night Night Book
|I saw a Groupon a while back for Personalized Kids' Books, and immediately snagged one. I am a huge book nerd, and I really hope that Ryder inherits my love of reading. And hopefully having a book specially made for and about him will help! I can't wait to start reading this to him every night at bedtime... (Put Me in the Story)|
Fire Station Set
|Of course this one went onto the list right away. I think it's inevitable that Ryder will develop a passion for Daddy's line of work, so we might as well go along with it. (KidKraft)|
My First Fire Station
|And what kid doesn't have fond memories of playing with LEGOs? It seems fitting that Ryder's first set should be a fire station. (LEGO)|
|It's winter, and we're going to White Pass in a few weeks, so of course Ryder needed a snowsuit on his list as well. (Carter's)|
Santa Christmas Hat
|And Christmas would not be complete unless we got our new baby boy his very own Santa hat. Oh, the photo ops... (Carter's)|
Is Ryder going to get every single one of these gifts? Absolutely not! I don't want to spoil my child rotten. Is he going to get the vast majority of them? Probably.
It's a complicated situation.
(1) I'm sharing an Amazon Prime membership with my mom this Christmas, and when I set up a Wish List for Ryder, she immediately noticed it and proceeded to buy almost all of the gifts I had selected! Therefore, I had to shop for more. Obviously.
(2) Shopping online, with free shipping, is just way too easy and fun.
(3) Gifts for kids are just so darn cheap! And when you're buying them here and there for $14.99 or $9.99 or whatever, it doesn't seem like you're spending a lot of your Christmas budget. Until you do the math on Christmas Eve and realize that you can't turn your heat on in January. At least Ryder has a brand new snow suit he can wear.
I've definitely learned that it's extremely easy to go completely overboard on your kid for Christmas.
Luckily, this year Ryder is too young to realize how spoiled he is. But next year we should probably rein it in a bit.
I talked to some of my friends about this conundrum, and my friend Jamie probably gave the best advice. She said each year her girls receive four presents from Santa:
Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.
She said those things alone are more than enough gifts, but when they're also combined with presents received from family and friends, her girls have a fantastic Christmas filled with gifts, but not complete over-indulgence.
I like it.
What are your gift giving strategies for your kiddos?