Gifts or Memories. Thirsties. Bert AndersonHave you ever looked around at your house and wondered how on earth you acquired so much stuff? Seriously, we have so much stuff in our house that’s kid related; I think a pre-holiday purge is a necessary event this year. From hand-me-down toys to new toys, mismatched toys to full on sets, you name it my kids have it. And within 38 days they’ll have even more toys, games, books, puzzles, etc. I’m not knocking the generosity of our friends and family; I’m grateful for it but often I look around my house and think, “We could have less.”

This week on the Huffington Post one mom daringly wrote about how her children do not need gifts and she was going to tell her family this before the holidays. I was appalled at first at the thought of my children not receiving any presents for Christmas. How could I deny this right of passage? Then I read what she had to say and saw her point: It’s not the giving that’s the problem it’s the copious amount of stuff that they don’t need. Instead, the author makes a plea for family and friends to give her children the gift of quality time or experiences. So rather than giving my two-year-old daughter, Kendall, a toy farm because she loves animals my sister and her husband would offer to take her to the Minnesota Zoo. Not only are they giving her an experience that she’ll remember but they’re also building a relationship with Kendall by giving her the gift of quality time. 

She also writes that family members could also help contribute towards extracurricular activities that her children want to participate in. Sure it may not be something that the children appreciate at the time but I promise you that when they’re older, especially if the activity becomes more of a passion than a hobby. I’ve actually thought of this as an option for my “push present” when I have baby #3. (More on a push present later…) Rather than wanting a fancy new necklace or a nifty new gadget, I want for my husband to buy me a few sessions with my favorite personal trainer as a way to get back in shape post baby.

At first glance the article seems harsh but in reality what the author, Christella Morris, is doing for her children (and undoubtedly her own sanity) is giving them something that money can’t buy: a childhood memory. She’s giving them life experience and encouraging those special people in her children’s lives to cultivate a relationship with them. It won’t run out of batteries, it won’t become worn down and it won’t break. Memories; it’s something to consider during this gift giving season.