Gift Guide : la la littles

1/ Rootview 2/Doodle Cook 3/Pallina Game 4/iGuy 5/Little Pim French 6/Micro Microscope 7/Who Was That Mustache Man 8/Twig Pencil Set 9/Personal Library Kit 10/Necklace 11/Star Projector 12/Timex Camper Watch

Gift giving.  Do you find that is just not what it used to be?  I do.  It’s just not the same as looking through the Sears Catalog when you were a kid, writing Santa and hoping you’d get at least one thing you were wishing for.

This gift giving [and receiving] thing has gotten way major complicated.  And I’m not gonna lie.  I am a full on complicator myself.  Should I admit to you that I just found 2 unopened presents from last Christmas in the playroom?  That bothers me [and for more than one reason].  But being intentional is a lot of work.  It takes a lot of thought and a lot of planning. Don’t get me wrong, there will be some useless Barbie, Transformer type junk mixed in the lot but I’m hoping that the majority of the lot sparks creativity, makes you use your imagination and doesn’t add a lot too much clutter [for my sake].

Let’s talk specifics.  How do you do presents for your children at your house?  I always wonder?  I mean, really, everyone does things very differently.  Clearly, my husband and I have different views, as we grew up differently.  I suppose we’ve kind of mixed up our childhood Christmas gift giving ways and have come to somewhat of an unspoken agreed upon middle ground.  And I like to think we are quite middle “ish” on the presents.  I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum.  I’m sure you have too.  Parents that are very conservative with their gift giving both in cost and quantity.  And parents that are lavish and over the top.

Where do you fall on this spectrum?  Do most of the gifts come from you or from Santa or is it an even split.  Do you make sure you spend the exact same dollor amount on each child to make it fair or does each child have the same number of presents to open.  Or do you just buy what you buy for each kid and not worry about keeping score?  I can’t be too crazy about this aspect though though.  It just may happen that one child might get a different number of presents than the other but we try to keep it in a close range.  And truly, as they start to get older it all shifts anyways.  Small items cost more and more expensive presents equals a few less to open.  I always like to have one biggish present for the kids that is from us, and then a mix of gifts from santa and us.

What about you?  Do you have a method?  And tell me, how do you keep the toy overload at bay?



  • Mary
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 9:00am

    I always find it interesting to see how others handle gift-giving as well. My little boys are still pretty little – 5 and 2 – but so far we’ve handled it pretty well I think. I’m sure it will evolve as the years progress and Santa is no longer in the picture. For now, Santa gets them one big present (last year it was a train table/train set, this year it’s a scooter for each of them), and he fills their stockings (trains, art/craft supplies, marbles, and the like). We get them each a book, and this year we’re getting them pajamas to open on Christmas Eve. That’s really it. Somehow the tree ends up stuffed with presents from aunts/uncles and grandmas, so they end up with plenty of toys overall. My son’s birthday is also in December, so I definitely want to keep the toy intake under control.

    Also, in an effort to manage clutter, I go through their toys on a pretty regular basis and get rid of stuff they no longer use. I got rid of four boxes of stuff last month in an effort to clear things out for all that December brings.

    ps – I really want that star projector!

  • Trina
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 3:36pm

    Mary – that is so great you went through the clutter and got rid of things. That is on my to do list and fingers crossed I get to it before Christmas ;) I know… I want that projector too, which is why probably one of my kids is gonna get it- is that wrong?

  • Sharilyn
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 10:06am

    We try and keep it pretty simple- our families always go over the top with gifts to our kids- often plastic and “popular”- so my husband and I try to keep our(Santa) gifts simple, creative, and fun. Usually the gifts are something we can work on or do as a family. Our kids are still pretty little and we figure they dont know any different at this point so we are going to keep it simple as long as we can! Ditto on the birthday gifts!

  • Trina
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 3:37pm

    Love the idea of simple, creative and fun gifts. I’m going to through in one popular and plastic but I think that is it since, like you, they get those from everyone else!

  • Lisa
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 10:34am

    I can’t wait to read everyone’s responses on this!! Since our oldest no longer believes in Santa and we have a 2 yr old and 2 mo old, we’re changing Santa gifts up this yr (and from now one). They will get a few gifts from us – slippers, books, purse, a toy, some clothes, etc. This yr it ends up that they’re getting 3-4 small things each from us. Stockings are normally necessities (toothpaste, toothbrush, underwear) mixed with fun (lipgloss, a car, etc). Then they will get 1 Santa gift. Can be big or small. For instance, A is getting a guitar and R is getting the IKEA car play rug. On Christmas morning they will play with Santa gifts while I make breakfast. Eat. Then do family gifts. I don’t worry too much about keeping cost equal, like the guitar was over $100 but I only spent about $75 on all of R’s gifts combined. I don’t worry about keeping number of gifts equal. I come from (divorced) parents who STILL try to keep number of gifts and $$ spent exactly equal. It drives me nuts!

  • Trina
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 3:38pm

    I think it is amazing that you split the opening the presents up and put breakfast in the middle. I remember as a kid just having to wait for my dad to make coffee and I thought I might die – ha!

  • Katie
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 1:00pm

    It’s tricky! We have three kids: 11, 8 and 5, so what they ask for, what the items cost and how many presents they ask for is pretty varied. For the past 5 years, we’ve stuck with the Want, Need, Wear, Read gifts (with a price limit that they don’t know about, although the $ spent is not necessarily equal–the 5 yr old is much easier than the 11 yr old!) It still seems like too much, though, so Santa is bringing the Want present this year. We also choose a nonprofit as a family to donate/volunteer. I really want the kids to remember that it’s not all about what you get…each year I think it sinks in a little bit more. I think. ;)

  • Trina
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 3:41pm

    Katie- that is really brilliant …WANT, NEED, Wear & Read…. I’m putting that idea in my pocket! I def always like to include a book in my mix too. I feel a little better knowing everyone doesn’t do even amounts on each kid. You’re right when the there is a age gap it makes it kind of hard.
    AND I LOVE that you a non profit or family to help out. We are planning to do something like that this year too!

  • Miz.November
    Commented on December 1st, 2011 at 6:43pm

    Oh, Lord. The gift thing has really gotten out of hand, hasn’t it? My little 6 year old niece cannot seem to think of one single thing that she wants for Christmas. Kids have too much. I think that’s sad. The age differences would have to pose a problem. Older kids understand the cost thing, but younger ones only understand quantity.

    I tell ya another thing. My parents never ever said that a gift was from Santa. Never. So, intuitively, my brother and I never thought he was real. We played along when other adults asked us what we wanted Santa to bring us. But, really, we knew it was all mom and dad. Of course, I understand that many parents like their kids to believe. It’s magic. But that’s just how we grew up.

  • Trina
    Commented on December 5th, 2011 at 10:34pm

    I always find it interesting to hear how others did/do presents and did/do the whole santa thing. It is so different for everyone. I remember most of my presents being from santa and my husband says only a few small things from santa and the bigger items are from us. why should santa get all the credit, he says! ha.

  • belinda
    Commented on December 2nd, 2011 at 7:57am

    oooh i saw that star projector in a shop today! we also try to stick to the “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” and this year aside from the “things they want” section (layla chose a pink remote-control scooter for a doll?!?!), I’m going for quality/traditional/creative/educational as much as i can. they’ll probably only open four presents each, have their stockings (this year I’m making them stockings – small so they don’t get stuffed with a lot of crap.) and then they’ll have one or two presents for all of them. this year they’re getting the speil and holz large stacking rainbow and a kids monopoly.
    and then we’ll go to the inlaws where my mother-in-law will give them a huge sack full of plastic rubbish and lollies as well as about 5 wrapped gifts. i tell her every year ONE PRESENT IS ENOUGH but noone ever listens to me…
    good luck with it! I feel like i’m going to be broke this year with 3 – poor you with 4!!! xxx

  • Trina
    Commented on December 5th, 2011 at 10:32pm

    Grandmas never seem to listen when it comes to presents. Not sure what to do about it and not sure there is anything I can do ;) I’m still loving the idea of want, need, wear, read and a few group gifts! Yes, 4 is a lot. Thankfully the 2 younger ones don’t know too much of what is going on. Poor Rocco is only getting a few little things and are def more in the “need” category.” xo

  • Genni
    Commented on December 2nd, 2011 at 3:55pm

    I went to the Hearthsong website and got a few things for the kids. (great website, I loved the buddy bumper ball for the boys, lets hope there is no broken teeth!) Having 3 (12, 11, and 6 years old) kids, I find it’s best for them NOT to get everything they want. I don’t think it’s healthy, and spoiling them only makes life for them as they get older, tougher. I do as you, We get a few small things, and one big gift. My friends and I were just having this conversation today. Besides, with a girl (and Ella is a lot like Lauryn!!) she wants soo much! THe boys are easier to please. I think getting nice things they learn to take care of is great, but overindulgence on anything isn’t good. Besides, Grandma usually goes overboard. I’m guessing maybe your mom is the same way! :)

  • Trina
    Commented on December 5th, 2011 at 10:28pm

    Genni – my mom go overboard? never! ha. So funny we ordered the buddy bumper balls too. Hope they are as fun as they look!

  • Sharilyn
    Commented on December 5th, 2011 at 12:38pm

    ps- I forgot to say I really like your gift guide! Particularly the root view set- so cool!

  • Trina
    Commented on December 5th, 2011 at 10:17pm

    Thanks so much, Sharilyn. It was fun putting it together!

  • paula
    Commented on December 5th, 2011 at 1:51pm

    love all your picks!

Leave a Reply

Get On The List

Join thousands of readers and receive Trina’s weekly letter: The Weekly Three.
3 things of note, along with encouragement and inspiration for your soul & everyday life.