I Want to Buy All of the Things

christmas_gift_wrap

Welcome to the December 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Greatest Gifts

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have suggested go-to gifts and gifting experiences for the holiday season for all your loved ones.

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I’ve never been much of a gifty person – I just don’t really like stuff. I like my personal space and I don’t like it cluttered. 99% of the things I see strike me as useless junk. I hate spending money. Walking through the mall usually just makes me sad. All of this makes me a pretty bad gift giver – and gift receiver.

However, as I mentioned. I do have a major weakness for kid stuff, especially toys and books. It’s the perfect blend of cute and childhood nostalgia, probably with a cherry of marketing on top.

While I was pregnant, I managed to exercise an impressive amount of restraint, helped by three factors. First, my husband and I were crammed into a tiny studio apartment at the time. I felt like my belly alone filled the place up and I had no desire to accumulate more. Second, we were saving up to buy a townhouse so that we could leave said tiny studio apartment. Third, I didn’t know the baby’s gender, ruling out most of the baby stuff I saw.

So instead of buying things, I spent my time browsing Amazon and planning what I wanted to buy. And I ended up bookmarking dozens of toys, books, and clothes.

Now I have an adorable baby girl and we are approaching the first major gift-giving occasion (Hannukah, for our family). And I want to buy ALL OF THE THINGS.

Is there a way to buy lots of fun gifts but still raise my daughter the value of money, respect for the environment, humility, and charity? I want my daughter to grow up happy and loved but not showered in plastic crap.

When I was growing up, my mom also loved birthdays and holidays and it often seemed like our living room floor would collapse from the weight of all the new toys. But my sisters and I managed to grow up into (mostly) financially self-sufficient, environmentally responsible, and reflective citizens.

At the end of the day, I suppose my daughter will learn these values from my actions and our conversations 365 days of the year, not just the eight nights of Hannukah. Maybe she does not need all of the things, but hopefully it won’t hurt if she gets many of the things. And then maybe we can go adopt a family and give them the rest.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • I Want to Buy All of the ThingsThe Economama discusses whether there’s a way to buy all of the baby stuff she desperately wants for her daughter without spoiling her.
  • The “Collectors” and the “Concentrators”: How Children React to Lots of Presents — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., at Parental Intelligence discusses two types of children who receive gifts: the “Collectors” who rip open the wrappings on their their presents and love to count them and the “Concentrators” who spend endless time on each gift ignoring the array of presents around them.
  • The Joy of Giving and Receiving — Ellen at Life With Lucien shares her three-year-old son’s new favorite toy for imaginative play.
  • Books: Best Present Ever! — Holly at Leaves of Lavender discusses some of the many reasons why books are the ideal gifts for little ones.
  • 10 DIY Gifts You Still Have Time To Make — A roundup of 10 DIY gifts that don’t take much time to make from Doña at Nurtured Mama.
  • Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaves – A Delicious Holiday Gift — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares one of her favorite recipes to make and give during the holidays. This Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf is much anticipated by her friends and loved ones. Learn how to create this delicious gift from the heart!
  • Christmas gifts for dreamers — Tat at Mum in search shares her favourite books and resources that have helped her get inspired and move forward towards her dreams this year.
  • Natural parent’s baby shower registry — Since she had everything already for baby #3, Lauren at Hobo Mama is amusing herself by building a list of essentials and a few fun fripperies for a natural-parenting nursery.
  • Gifts of love — Charlie at PeelingClementines recalls her favourite Christmas gift of all time and thinks about how to add this magic to her little one’s first Christmas.
  • The Gift of Letting Go — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has discovered that when you’re a perfectionist, sometimes the best gift is simply releasing yourself from self-imposed expectations.
  • Montessori Inspired Gifts for Babies and Toddlers — Rachel at Bread and Roses shares gift ideas that were a hit with her son last year and what’s on her wishlist for this year.
  • Giftmas Ideas for KidsMomma Jorje offers an original gift idea that hasn’t been overdone and is good for the kids!
  • Favorite CDs for Babies and Toddlers {Gift Guide} — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s favorite CDs for babies and toddlers, some of which were favorites of her children and are now favorites of her granddaughter.
  • The Birthday Turned Christmas Wish ListThat Mama Gretchen forgot to share her birthday wish list this fall, but she’s still wishin’ and hopin’ a present or two will arrive for Christmas!
  • 8 Thoughtful Non-Toy Gifts for Baby — Is your family asking for hints for presents to give baby? Moorea, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, offers this list of ideas that won’t overwhelm your little one with toys.

11 thoughts on “I Want to Buy All of the Things

  1. That is always the dilemma, isn’t it? When there are enough resources in the family to give a lot, how much is too much? We’ve had to figure out how to strike the right balance (considering grandparent gifts & toys bought with allowance & so on along with things we give), and we don’t always succeed, in my opinion. One thing we try to do is rotate things out so at least the toy clutter isn’t omnipresent, and then give away the things that aren’t so popular. I wish it could be a learning experience for our kids to do with us, but my oldest is an accomplished packrat!

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  2. Adopting a family is a wonderful idea🙂 We’ve also done an advent calendar where we many of the daily activities were acts of kindness. There are so many ways to de-emphasize all of the things of the holiday season – I’m sure she’ll be just fine!

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  3. I totally know what you mean. And it gets harder the older my son gets, as he starts expressing an interest in different toys and books and other things. I have always wanted to not overwhelm my son with toys and things, but every time I go to the store for any reason (or even just spend some time scrolling through my Facebook feed), I find things that I want to get him, things that he most likely doesn’t actually *need.* Sometimes I think I want to get him things just to see that deliriously happy grin he gets when presented with a new toy, even though I know he has more than enough toys already!

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  4. Oh my goodness, did I ever go overboard at my son’s first Christmas! Bravo to you – you are much more self-aware than I was🙂 Now when I look back, the number of presents (that he couldn’t even open, understand, or appreciate!) was ridiculous! I suppose it is just a natural drive – another way we want I show our love for them. But as my son gets older and I am trying to teach/model self-control and gratitude for him, showing self-control when buying gifts is getting easier!

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  5. I struggle with this, too! Year-long is it all the cute clothes I want to buy her (which was find until she started having opinions about her clothes) and it is always a struggle at the holidays. I help manage it by keeping a list of ideas and what I’ve purchased so I can really see when it is getting to be enough. And now that she’s bigger, I have a better idea of what she’d actually like and what I’m attracted to because *I* like it. I love the idea of 8 service actions during Hanukkah!

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  6. I know the feeling of wanting to buy all the things on my list and the kids’ lists, too, but I limit myself because I want to have the time to really enjoy what I give to my kids with my kids. I want to play with them!

    Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence.

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