What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The gift

Papa told her to get ready for her gift and she put her hands out. Must have been expecting a book or soemthing... WA ha hahaha.

Call us crazy but we don't usually go all out on gifts around holiday times. Not in order to save money (though it certainly does and that IS a perk!) but moreso, to instill in our children a sense of thankfulness and to bypass the whole 'greed' factor. Not to mention: it helps them to grow with a right and good understanding of quantity- it isn't healthy to be overrun with "stuff"-at any age.

There is no rule in our "Newman Household Handbook" stating a certain number of gifts allotted for birthdays, but, for the last few it has been UNO. What's interesting (and fun!) is that the children don't mind in the slightest. In fact, they LOVE getting their one gift-and end up playing with it for the rest of the day and future days. They don't expect more and don't feel gipped in the slightest. I think it could be just because they have never been overwhelmed by roomfuls of gifts from the getgo. We've always had a three gift limit at Christmas-but that doesn't mean they always GET three and at birthdaytime, well, whatever goes.

Another rule NOT in our handbook (hypothetical handbook, that is...) is that the gift HAS to be brandnew. As in this birthday gift.

A bigger bike for the cool biker chick was necessary and I knew that this gift alone would thrill her so fully that no other gift could top it- so why try?!?

I went looking at yardsales and voila! A bigger bike, for five bucks. Got some cutesy spraypaint, a new spiffy basket and a really cool horn and called it good. Just so happens, Uncle John and Aunt Holly knew of our plans and got some danglies for the handbars and some other stuff to bling it out.

This is what it looked like before:

Not a bad transformation, eh?

Best of all was the little speed demon racing down the road on her new bike, all smiles..and the "Thank you Papa, for painting it pink- I love pink!"
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Nanci @ Brambleberry Cottage said...

Happy Birthday Corryn!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From our whole clan.

Grandma Bibby said...

Great Job! It looks brand new, and she is so pleased with it. Way to go.

Michelle said...

How fun! I love the girly colors, too. :)

abigail said...

I LOVE her watermelon bike, and she looks so rightfully pleased! I hear five dollar bikes are the new rage for fifth birthday parties. Millie got a five dollar bike from Grandpa for her fifth birthday last year, but, alas, it has no basket (though I did tie ribbons to the handlebars. Plus, it was already pink.)

You give the best gifts, and I wish grandparents followed that same one-three-however-many-as-long-as-they're-few policy. Our girls could climb up the mountain they get each year, and though I'm thankful for the love shown through them, I wish they came in much fewer quantities, for all the reasons you mention.

Carolyn said...

How do you stop the cycle of massive gift giving by family members? Our daughter is two and we don't want her to become greedy; we want a simplier holiday. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Rebecca said...

Carolyn: this is an issue in our home and one reason why we don't feel too bad about giving just one or two gifts. After all, our kids would be all the way up to a handful each from extended family alone-and that, only if they got one from each, which rarely happens.

If you are one of the lucky ones that family TAKES your suggestions, maybe suggest one nicer gift versus lots of little, crummy ones-perhaps something she would really love or is into at that time. Or suggest a year membership to a museum or discovery center. That is always fun.

Not everyone HAS family who would do that though, often they want to spoil anyway. In that case, the only thing you CAN do is to limit YOUR gift giving to something particularly special or handmade then lead her to thankfulness during the gift-opening process.

Make it a point to gush over everything. Let her open it and play with it for a while before opening another. This will help her focus and be thankful on the ONE thing and helps prevent "Where's the next one?!?" syndrome.

Make her go and give a kiss to the giver before opening another one (this is a biggy for us). This also prolongs the one gift, and emphasises gratefulness.

It sounds like you have only one, but in our case, each family member takes TURNS opening a gift. The whole family enjoys seeing what everyone got, the giver has time in the spotlight, and the children aren't begging for more before they are even done unwrapping the ones in their hands.

Also- before Christmas, we always go through our stuff. Teach her to give to others by having her pick out a few things to send to a thrift store or Salvation Army.

Just a few suggestions. Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones, whose family heeds your suggestions. Certainly makes things easier. ;-) For those of us not quite so fortunate, we just have to get more creative!

Carolyn said...

Thank you so much Rebecca! I think now is the time to institute some change while my daughter is young. My husband's family is much better at taking turns, but my family is larger with more younger kids so I think the thought is that it would be harder to keep them all waiting. Lots of good things to think about - thanks again!

abigail said...

"Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones, whose family heeds your suggestions."

I love my Owen family, and they are super-generous and loving and supportive, but, alas, my gentle nudges and, lately, full-blown, all-out DON'T BUY TOYS! SPEND YOUR MONEY ON YOUR HOUSE! OR A POOL! OR A NEW CAAAAAR! "suggestions" just ain't doing anything...

I think we'll implement the kiss idea. Good one. Grandmas can always use more smooches.