Why do we give our children useful gifts? Number One: the older children get, the bigger the price tags on everything! We were just informed that spring soccer starts in November, that we owe $100 plus some type of unnamed fine if my son does not play, and that if he plans to wear sweats on game days, they must be the $85 suit with the league logo! My reply? We might not be at the two days of the outdoor January tournament and my child will wear this get-up only if grandma wants to buy it for Christmas!
My desire is to put my foot down over these extra expenses, without watching my son shiver on the sidelines. Ladies and gentlemen, sports have gone over into the absurd, something you may discover when your child begins to play as if they are a mini pro. We have our children pay their own way in activities as much as possible (and we also are seeking a good recreational league!)
With sports comes the next size in cleats plus thermals under the uniform, which are necessary. He would prefer pricey name brands, however, lower-priced names will suffice. And these items are not simply handed over- not when they can be held until next week as the right type of reward for a good report card. Our daughter’s good grades will grant her the money for her next field trip to the state fair. Littlest receives useful prizes for reading such as “new-to-him” shoes or more books to read.
These gifts are what our children both need and want. When they have to wait a few weeks for them, any sense of entitlement is replaced by genuine gratitude. And our house is filled with just a little less worthless, forgotten-by-tomorrow junk.
The second reason we give the children useful gifts is that there is just So. Much. STUFF! coming into our home from the grandparents and other sources. It is nice of them, but extremely overwhelming for us all when we do not know what to do with carloads of gifts. Useful gifts are quite simply the best remedy.
Christmas in our home brings items such ski bibs, boots, and clothing as needed by each child. There is always something handmade and a fun toy or two, usually one that is wooden, metal, paper, or otherwise looking quite authentically handmade in the North Pole! One child even found nail trimmers in a plastic Easter egg last year- and is still glad to have them!
Other useful gifts we have given include:
-tees sporting the logos of their extracurricular activities
-headphones for school
-bandaids, lip balm, and more
And, maybe it is because they are accustomed to these types of gifts, but my children are always excited to open even the useful gifts since they know they needed these things!
If receiving socks and underwear is something new to your child, to minimize the shock, I recommend that you start small, cutting the number of toys back and adding in the useful items gradually. You can even add a fun little toy in the plain white box, right next to the long johns!
Please do tell: how do you give useful gifts to your children? Or do you?