Tis the season of gift giving – that incredible time of year when you can force your children into good behavior by threatening to cancel Christmas or Hanukkah. Nothing beats a snow-covered morning at home, sipping coffee quietly while your delightful children beam like angels…because they’re scared half to death that you’re going to give all their toys away. 😉
But it’s also a challenging time of year. All. That. Holiday. Pressure!!!!! All that work to create the perfect holiday ambiance inside your home and spread the happ-happ-happiest holiday cheer outside the home.
I scroll through my newsfeed every evening thanking God that I was born a Jew – I would crumble into dust under the pressure that is Elf on a Shelf. The hours of time and creativity that people put into this tiny little stuffed elf… I’m in awe, truly I am. Someone recently told me I should purchase the Mensch on a Bench for my kids (because it’s not really a holiday until there is a socially acceptable Jewish Hallmark spinoff item) and I literally turned and ran away from the conversation as fast as my feet could carry me. In my house, if the dog didn’t manage to grab it first and claim it as her own, that Mensch would just sit and wait patiently on his bench while his furry little brown beard turned Santa Claus white. Eventually he would be covered by all the mounds of crap that I let pile up all over my house…until the following year, when I would find him the day after Hanukkah ended, and silently curse at myself for buying a new one after my yearlong search had failed. Stupid Mensch. If he were smart, he would run off with the elf and they would live out the rest of their days sipping Pina Coladas on the beach.
As I was heading for my room this evening, my daughter’s latest Hanukkah gift caught my eye, a Light Bright wrapped in the same classic 70’s packaging as mine was when I was a little girl. A little thrill filled me, “I can’t wait to play with that with her tomorrow!” (Full disclosure, I strongly considered opening it up and playing with it right then.) But it really got me thinking, when was the last time I was excited to play with one of my kids’ toys? Um… never! I’ll be honest, I find dressing and putting baby dolls to sleep mind numbingly boring. And no matter how many times Man attempts to engage me in lively conversation about Minecraft, I really just “yes” and “uh-huh” him to the point where he could be asking me to buy him a horse and I wouldn’t even realize that I had agreed to do so. My big question is, why don’t we get our kids presents that we want to play with- that we would enjoy partaking in ourselves? Wouldn’t that be so much better for everyone!?
I say, down with gifts that are torture to parents!! No longer do we have to stand for painfully stepping on that random tiny LEGO piece stranded in the hallway from the Millennium Falcon that is taking your child forever to finish! No longer do we have to follow our daughters around with the vacuum cleaning up tiny beads and glitter from our daughter’s art boxes. I’m here to say, I will no longer pretend that Barbie is strutting the fashion runway!!!!!
Here are the perfect gifts for your child… that are really for you!!
The Easy Bake Oven: Not only is this a classic from your childhood, but you get to enjoy the tasty treats of your efforts. Even if baking isn’t your thing, who wouldn’t want an excuse to snack on a bite size, full fat, full gluten, full sugar, full flavor brownie?
Nintendo DS or Atari: Yes, I say bring back Mario and Luigi in a big way!!! Go to town with your kid while you try and save the princess and battle the Kublai Khan! Have a blast while you achieve your lifelong dream of finally getting Frogger across the street safely!
Tickets… to anything: Whether it’s tickets to the movies, or, if you can swing it, a show, this is the gift that keeps on giving. I don’t know about you, but I spend most kid’s movie outings taking a quick snooze, or catching up on e mails. If you can make it to a show, double bonus! Now you get the pleasure of being entertained while, simultaneously watching your kids be dazzled!
DVD’s: Need I say more…?
“Spa Day”: This is a great one for the little ladies in your life. They can get their nails polished up like a rainbow while you enjoy a pedi and a quick 10-minute back rub!
Mail Order Mystery: Once I convinced Man that there wouldn’t be a pirate curse descending upon us if we didn’t figure out the clues in time, this proved to be fantastically fun! I was just as eager as he was- and my husband would likely tell you that I was even more eager- to break that code and figure out the next clue. I go to the mailbox every day hoping to find another envelope from International Office with my, er, Man’s name on it. https://www.mailordermystery.com/
A Deep Space Planetarium: Just picture it, you snuggled in bed with your kids at night while they are entertained by simply gazing at the ceiling. That sounds like a little slice of heaven… literally.
Books from your childhood: Even if your kids can read on their own, how nice would it be to sit and read Harry Potter with them? I eagerly await the day that I can read Anne of Green Gables to Lady. To be able to share the love of your favorite series with you kids while enjoying it again yourself, there is really no better gift!
In this season of giving, I say it’s ok to be a little selfish. Go forth, and gift the gifts that YOU will enjoy as well!!