Purchasing gifts during the holiday season can be overwhelming. We want to get it “right,” especially when it comes to the children in our lives. Nobody wants to see a child’s anticipation-filled face crumble into disappointment when a gift falls flat. Thankfully, microblogger Nicole Pierson of Maple Grove offers her tips for lightening this year’s gift-giving load.
Maple Grove Magazine: What’s your game plan?
Nicole Pierson: … Want, Need, Wear, Read. Each child gets four gifts from us, and each gift is based in one of these categories. This system works well in our house because we aim to generally have less “stuff” in our home.
How can parents temper kids’ expectations?
Set the stage early. If the holiday season is going to look different this year, have the conversation with your [children]. Children often surprise us with their understanding and resilience. Most things that are impactful during the holiday season can’t be bought [baking, watching a movie or decorating the tree].
What are some pitfalls to avoid?
Avoid falling for the consumer culture and overbuying. Every year, there will be a popular toy or gift. Curate your child’s gifts to suit them. Being intentional with your gifts means less wasted money, time and space in your home ... I’ve lived by the mantra “fewer better things,” and that aligns with my gift-giving as well.
How about giving wins or fails?
Experience gifts have been a huge win. Last year, [our sons] received two books about animals along with a zoo membership, which provided us with many fun day trips throughout the year … A teenager may love a gift certificate to get a pedicure and a 9-year-old aspiring chef would enjoy a coupon for a day of cooking …
The biggest fails have almost always been gifts that we’ve purchased because they were “trendy.”
What about go-to methods for buying for friends and family?
Consider an online wish list via Amazon or another site. This may seem impersonal, but it can be a game changer. You can keep a running list of wants throughout the year and always have ideas ready when family asks. Second, it takes the pressure off of the gift giver …
How should parents handle their kids receiving expensive gifts?
Choose gratitude. What an honor that a family member chose to be so generous toward your child. Remember that you are the parent. If you want to put the majority of the cash in their college fund, great, or put it toward an activity or sport. If you feel uncomfortable with the monetary value of gifts, it's time to have a conversation with the gift giver.
How do you remember those in need?
[We focus] on acts of kindness between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. My boys go shopping with saved money and choose toys for Toys for Tots. We drop off cards and floral arrangements at a local nursing home. We focus on generosity toward others rather than gifts throughout the season.