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Kids Christmas Gifts – No more stuff!

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    By: Dawn Juntilla

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas - time with family, giving gifts, and of course all that yummy holiday food.  But, this year, I am just a bit exhausted by the whole idea of giving gifts to my children.  They truly have every toy they could possibly need, and then some.  And, with each new birthday and Christmas, the pile of neglected toys grows.

    In the past, I made efforts to combat the constant flow of toys with acts of giving.  We sponsor families at Christmas, give to Toys for Tots and participate in programs that provide food for less fortunate children.  Our children participate in all of these efforts either by helping select gifts, physically putting the gifts in the donation box, or helping to make food rations. These are all valuable experiences and I intend to continue them simply to counter my children’s notion of entitlement.  However, I just wonder if they fail to get at the root of the problem – too much stuff!

    Then I had an epiphany – don’t give stuff!  I am not saying that I will not be giving gifts to my children this holiday season, I just won’t be giving toys, games or the like.  Instead, I am giving my children experiences, opportunities to keep their minds and bodies active, and a chance to find new passions.  This year, I am giving the Gift of Activity. 

    So, no DS, Ipod or American Girl for my daughter this year.  Instead, she will be going to a play with me and her best friend.  And, her grandparents are giving her the chance to take horseback riding lessons.  No more Thomas & Friends trains for my son. This year, he is going to visit the local the train museum and we are signing him up for skiing lessons and floor hockey.

    Are they still very lucky children who should be grateful for the gifts they are receiving?  Absolutely!  However, this year, I can be sure that their gifts will be used and will help them grow rather than simply ending up as clutter. I feel better about this Christmas already!

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