‘Tis the Season: I Want This! I Want That!

Do you remember being a kid at Christmas time? The Christmas season used to be about a month long, but lately it seems that November 1st is the official start of the holiday shopping marketing blitz. Kids in 2011 are munching on their Halloween candy while making out their lists for Santa. 

I have to say, for as much as they appear enamored with Littlest Pet Shop and HotWheels, my kids aren’t overly into toys. There are days when they play for hours with them, and then there are weeks they spend doing other things. Christmas time for our family is filled with special traditions, time with loved ones, and yes, a few presents. We don’t go overboard, but giving a  fun toy or two on Christmas morning is a big parenting perk.

Because they believe in Santa with all their hearts, and because they are darn cute in their pajamas, this past Sunday morning I presented them a special treat. I presented them with three 2011 toy gift guides from the Sunday paper.

“Oh, look at that!”

“And see that? That would be fun!”

“I want that!”

“Mom, do you have a pen?”

And so it began.

They poured over the books for a good thirty minutes, circling items they’d like to have. After awhile, it was time to get ready for church, and they put the books aside. They haven’t looked at them since, but their gift radar is suddenly atuned.

At the store tonight, my daughter noticed the endcaps in the pharmacy, with cute toothbrush holders and bath sets. Rather than continually saying no as she asked for everything we passed, I’ve found an easier response is, “we can add that to your wish list.” Sometimes, just that response is enough. Now that she’s almost 61/2, she’s interested in having an actual wish list. On the way home, she decided she needed to find a small notebook to dedicate to 2011’s wish list.

Here are couple of options that can work for making a holiday wish list for your child (or heck, for yourself):

On your phone: snap a picture, or start a note in notepad. I’m sure there are apps out there, too.

On real paper: just start a list! Younger children can draw pictures or cut out pictures if they can’t write or won’t let you write their ideas for them.

Online: many online merchants offer wish list options, including AmazonElfster is a fun way to organize a gift exchange, and it builds a wish list too. Pinterest is also great way to build a visual gift list – install the “Pin It” button on your brower’s tool bar and links are a snap to capture.

The part that’s important is that the idea behind the wish list isn’t that these are all the things they are going to get, these are just ideas. In my experience, the wish list gets put by the wayside around December 15th, which is good because the last thing you want is someone treating a wish list like a checklist.

This year, in addition to keeping a list for herself, I’m going to have my daughter start a second list, a list of gift ideas other people might like. This way, when it’s time to get gifts for her brother, dad, and cousins, she’ll have some ideas.

How do you manage the “I want, I want, I want” of the season? Do you remember pouring over the wishbook catalogs as a kid yourself?

2 replies on “‘Tis the Season: I Want This! I Want That!”

I don’t have kids, but I definitely remember the Christmas wishlist experience. I always befuddled my parents – I spent all season thinking of and picking out things for my family members (usually things they would never buy or even think they need, but I would decide the thing my dad needed was a three-inch Christmas tree with tiny, tiny ornaments). I was exasperated by my parents asking what I wanted and would usually just write some kind of half-assed list on Christmas Eve for Santa, while I put out ALL OF THE COOKIES for the reindeer. All these years later, I still love giving gifts more than receiving. Getting gifts is so awkward and I HATE asking for things. God bless my parents, who learned to just take me shopping and watch carefully to see what I liked – usually anything with horses. Now my boyfriend is going through the same agony.

I can’t help it that my favorite thing about Christmas is watching the people I love open things that I picked out or made just for them (plus the fact that it is totally okay to start drinking at 6 am when we unwrap gifts).

I really like the idea of giving your kids methods of keeping track of things they ask for. If I see one more kid pitching a hissy over a toy, I am not leaving my house until January 2.

The camera phone has been a life saver for my holiday shopping experience.  With MiniB, it’s not so vital, she just generally wants all the pink things ever made.  If she consistently asks for the same thing, it will stick in my head.  However, I have teenage boys as well.  When you ask them what they want for Christmas, the typical answer is either “Uhh, I don’t know.  Socks?” or “A new car.”  The camera phone allows me to take pictures of the things they show interest in when I force them to go to the store with me.

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