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What to Get the Kids for Christmas – When Less is More.

It’s 15 days, 9 hours and 2 minutes until Christmas. I feel like yesterday we were celebrating the new year and now we’re almost there again. But no, don’t worry, this is not an article about how life escapes us so fast you blink and it’s over. Not that it’s not true, but we’re not here to discuss depressing subjects. It is Christmas and if there is a demographic for whom this is important it’s children. Whatever the age, they can’t wait for Christmas morning to have their presents. But the questions is: what should those presents be?

Of course, kids expect toys. And there is no bigger dream that a room full of them. And the temptation is to comply with their tiny little desires.

Christmas, Gifts, Packed, Surprise, December, Advent

But the reality – and I’m not even going to into the financial reality, just the practical one – is that they’re not going to play with half of it. I bought my kids two toys for their birthdays. Barely touched them. After a couple of weeks, they were pretty much forgotten.

That’s partly our fault. Both kids have Kindle Fire Kids and they spend most of their time splaying with that rather than other toys. And I know, it’s not good, but that’s also a subject for another article.

The thing is, I am a fairly materialistic person. I like things. I like books, mostly, but technology too, so I’m not saying this lightly, but this year, they kids are getting one toy each.

Yes, they will have other presents and yes there will be some small, extraordinarily expensive for what they are, toys in their stockings, but they’re getting one single big toy this Christmas. They know about it too.

Of course, they will be getting books because a) it’s me, and b) we do Jolabokaflod in my house.

My eldest daughter is going to get a lot of unicorn stuff. Because, you know, she’s a girl and a girly one at that and the media got her. This said, I’ve noticed the powers at be pushing hard on Flamingos to be the next big thing but it doesn’t seem to be taking off… Poor flamingos.

My son will get a personalised water bottle and a Where is Wally? book, except that it’ll be star wars.

And some other stuff. But at least I won’t feel sad, a week later, when I am brushing pieces of their new toys off the floor.

I don’t know, I don’t remember being that bad with my toys. Then again, I was an only child, I only had my toys, so maybe I paid more attention to them, who knows.

The Four Gift Rule for gift-giving to our kids: 1 thing they want, 1 thing they need, 1 thing they wear, 1 thing they read.
I’m trying to follow this rule. Sort of…

I’m always shocked when people show their living rooms ready for Christmas and there is no space left for all the presents there are. Sometimes their children are really young. Don’t get me wrong, if it makes the parents happy to do that… but I can’t stop thinking so many present would be wasted on my kids… they’d barely manage to play with half of it all.

And the amount of wrapping paper to pick up!

I’ve just thought I’m not going to get wrapping paper next year. Sacks! One each.

I’m a genius.

Either way, not everybody can fill their living room with toys. Not everybody can afford it and not everybody want to. When I was a child, not having any brothers or sisters, I got a lot of presents.

And it was nice.

But I’d rather have had a brother or a sister to play with. To fight with.

Toys are good. Toys are fun. But toys don’t keep you warm at night nor do they talk back to you, run after you, tickle you, or annoy you.

My point is, there is more to Christmas than toys. Yes, there is love and family and stuff. But there are also coats, and books, and shoes, and pretty notebooks and very low pigment make-up. So there can be a bit more of that and a bit less of colourful plastic pieces that you’ll have to pick up off the floor for the rest of your life.

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