I realized two years ago that I had never given my own children that same opportunity for a sense of pride and giving come Christmas morning. I knew that I had to remedy that situation. However, the thought of taking them into a store and asking them to pick out things frightened me. So, I took a cue from my memory of Christmas shopping at school and carried on with my idea.
Then, I invited each of our boys (then aged eight and six) to shop without each other. For instance, when Noah came to shop, I had one area of gifts to choose from for Jack and one area of gifts to choose from for Molly. I allowed Noah shop for one gift for each of them, and we worked on wrapping the gifts together. Then, I put away the gifts that were possible for Jack, and I put out the ones for Noah. I invited Jack up and let him shop and wrap. The boys used money from their own allowances to shop.
Last year, we were excited to allow Molly to shop as well. Since she was only just barely three when we began this new tradition, we envisioned her trying to keep all of the toys for the boys for herself and throwing a fit. Because we didn’t allow her to shop, I just picked out an item from her for each of the boys from the leftover toys.
One of the things that I really like with this method of shopping is that I can pre-select things that I think are appropriate, and my kids don’t have to be overwhelmed with deciding from a whole store of toys.
I had thought to just return the extras to Walmart for a refund. But, then I realized, “Hey — why not just keep the leftovers to fill their stockings?” (My kids didn’t remember that they are the same.)
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