The “I wants” are beginning to invade homes around the country. Christmas toy catalogs are appearing in every mailbox and every single store, including the grocery store, is piping in Christmas music and setting up elaborate toy displays right inside the door. Even my kids aren't immune to the marketing.
We do keep things in check, though. We managed to implement a basic gift giving protocol when the boys were young that has helped manage some of the “I wants.” First and foremost, the boys get one Santa gift, a stocking full of small, inexpensive or homemade items, then four parent gifts. The first gift is actually a Christmas Eve gift, usually new pajamas handmade by mom. Then they always get a book and two “I want” gifts. Family and friends send plenty of gifts so they aren't shafted at all.
This year we have run into a conundrum. Everything my youngest son wants is very, very expensive. He has a penchant for robotics and science, so is list includes things like a $200 robotics and programming kit, a radio telescope kit and a solar filter for his telescope. My older son is at that awkward age where he doesn't know if he wants toys or more grownup stuff, so thus far only has a Lego set, some clothing and a computer game on his list.
We are going to have to change up our gift giving routine now that the kids are older, it seems. We may need to do a dollar amount limit, and inform the kids of it, so one isn't upset that the other received more items. I'm not sure how we will handle it yet and it is stressing me out, because I like to be done with Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving.
How do you handle gift giving in your family?