While I know that Christmas is not about presents, BUT we use a method of buying gifts around here that I thought I’d share about, and maybe offer up some ideas for those of you who do things similar to us, or might to in the future.
Firstly, we were not able to do our Christmas savings plan this year, for the sake of general disorganization. If you all remember, we moved a ton in the beginning of the year, and just couldn’t remember anything beyond necessities. So we didn’t get to prepare the way we would have liked, but what we did the year before was a weekly savings plan. Every week, we set aside money in a jar. Being that there are 52 weeks in a year, we started on the first week, and saved $52. The next week, $51. So yes, its an expensive kick off, but then you’re not trying to save that much towards the end of the year when you want to be buying for Christmas. In our case, once we reach $20, we do $20 each week until the end of October, and have saved about $1400 already! We use that money for everything for Christmas. Gifts, food, a date, traditions, new jackets, gas if we travel, etc. If we don’t use it all (like for instance, this year, when we’re staying home and in) the money carries over or moves into a separate savings account.) But I digress. If you like this savings idea, an even easier way would be to save a $20 every week. By the end of December, you’d have just over $1000. So if you were to double up once in a while to finish it up early, you can have a nice chunk of change in preparation for Christmas. (or a trip, or a purchase, or really whatever you want.) Thats how we like to make Christmas not feel like a super broke season.
That was quite a rant about money, haha! Onto bigger and better things! Our method of gift buying is likely familiar to a lot of you. We get each kid something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. On top of that, we get them a thing or two for everyone to share, jammies, and socks and underwear if needed. This year, the kids picked names and they each bought a gift for one of their siblings. Thats it! Yes, with four kids, it comes out to a LOT of gifts, but its a really great way for everyone to be involved, and to also not end up with SO MANY TOYS. They’re going to get toys from everyone else anyway, so its ok if some of their gifts from mom and dad (or Santa, if you do Santa) are a bit more practical.
I know it took a lot of brainstorming for me to think of good gifts for each kid in each category, but I think thats part of what makes it awesome. Helps parents get creative and think before going into stores and coming out with whatever looked good. While I TOTALLY respect going in blindly and finding THE thing, it doesn’t always happen that way. Its nice to be prepared sometimes.
Ok, onto the presents!! If you’ve made it this far, I hope its worth it! I’m going to be annoying and detailed, in case someone wants to use these ideas in the future, because I personally am really happy with what we ended up with, and the kids aren’t complaining either.
Starting with Dekker, I’ll say he’s a five year old, in his first year of school. For his “want,” we got him a LEGO Creative set that is specifically designed to build different kinds of race cars, which is RIGHT up his alley. Wheels from any toy are always a hot commodity around here, so it seemed quite perfect. Dekker’s “need” was tricky because if our kids need something, we get it for them, so we just took this category as a suggestion to get a more practical gift. For this category, we got Dekker a new pillow. His is flat as a pancake and isn’t even rectangular anymore. His “something to wear” is a digital watch, as he’s learning about numbers and time at school. Plus, I think it’ll be nice to be able to give him a timeframe and for him to understand what that means a little bit better than he does now. So, an orange watch, with a button for it to light up. So far thats the best part 😉 Lastly, Dekker’s “something to read” is a subscription to Clubhouse Jr. Unfortunately, his first issue hasn’t come yet, so we had to explain to him why he didn’t actually get a present for that round. He was really cool about it, though.
Laela is next. She is three. For her “want,” we got her two beautiful, soft little dollies. We wrapped them in their blankets, and put them in this special little baby crib that I had when I was a little girl. When I got it, it was white and beautiful and weathered, and years later as a gift, it was refinished, and a beautiful little teddy was painted on the side. Now, little miss has it in her possession, and even a couple of little dollies to care for. Her “need” is also a very special gift, because Brady built her a jewelry box! I know, if she needs a jewelry box, her life is pretty good, but I thought a handmade jewelry box would last forever, and be nicer than the Dollarama baskets that her necklaces are currently tangled in. Her “something to wear” is a chain necklace with a name pendant on it. I ordered it off of Etsy, and it came out even prettier than I expected! Its her first chain necklace, and she loves it. Lastly, her “something to read” is a subscription to Chirp. To be honest, I was really hoping to get her Highlights instead, because I loved that magazine when I was little, and there is even a younger version called High Five that looked great for her. But they were SO EXPENSIVE!!! So maybe another year. We’ll see how she likes Chirp this year.
Ro is 22 months today, so I guess I should stop saying he’s one and a half. Whoops! His “want” is a set of vehicles from Costco. They are bigger than Hot Wheels, but can still be held in one little hand, if you can picture that size. They are the kind of cars/trucks that you can pull back and then they drove across the floor. And they’re soft! They’re a bit rubberish and squishy, so I don’t fear them ramming into my walls, accidentally into heads, or wherever else. Very toddler friendly. Rowan’s “need” was a pillow, the same as Dekker’s. Ro doesn’t have a pillow yet, and he was THRILLED about it. He spent the rest of the morning sprawled out in the middle of the floor on top of his pillow. He’s a big fan. His “something to wear” is a headwrap from Buff. Brady used to wear them all the time when his hair was long. It can be a hat, headband, bandana, you name it. He wasn’t a super fan of it, but I’m not too worried. When I’m all congested, I don’t like stuff on my head either. We’ll try again down the road. I’m super excited for him to wear it! Its super cute and he’ll look so hardcore in it, haha! His “something to read” was actually two books by Leslie Patricelli. If you’ve never read her books, you should, because they’re hilarious! Very simple, but Dekker and Laela still love them and laugh through them. His from this Christmas are “Faster Faster” and “Blankie.” I highly recommend “Potty” to anyone potty training! Its really cute 🙂 Also “Toot” if you can appreciate that farts are funny. If you don’t, definitely don’t get it. Its SO funny.
I’ll admit that, once again, Solly has been asleep all day, but I’ll let you in on what we got him 😉 Hopefully he won’t read this before he opens his gifts. Solly boy is coming up on 7 months, so baby stage. He was the hardest to get creative for, because babies don’t need much, and don’t play with much, and being that he’s kid #4, we have pretty much everything that babies require. But! He still has to be involved, obviously. So here’s what we got him. For his “want,” we got him a Lamaze toy. They’re so great, and I never buy them because they’re just a bit pricey for a baby toy. But we’ve acquired a few along the way and they’re just really good. Conveniently, I even found one at The Bay when they were having a sale. Woot! His “need” is a baby record book, for me to one day actually fill in the information for. Yikes! Please tell me I’m not the only mom who sucks at this! But my intention is there anyway, haha! His “something to wear” is a lovely pair of boots that my talented friend, Nikki, made for him! Her shop is closed until after Christmas, but a girl must give credit where its due! Lastly, Solly’s “something to read” is actually two more Leslie Patricelli books, this time “Higher Higher” and “Hair.” Those books are just a win for everybody, but for sure for under 3.
On top of these gifts, each kid got two pairs of two piece jammies, and they all got a sleeper to match each other! I’ll see if we can swing a “matching siblings” picture but I make no promises! The little boys aren’t the most cooperative. Also, they got one book to add to their collection of “Little Blue Truck” books. They’re gold, and I randomly found a Christmas one at Walmart recently. The main gift I wanted to get them as a shared gift was a Paw Patrol set. They don’t watch the show too much anymore, but they still base SO MUCH on it. Their favorite colors are all based on their favorite pups. But we have a single character toy and that is it. So we got them a set with every single pup in it, in its uniform, in its vehicle. That was a HUGE hit.
The last gifts they got were from each other, because as I said earlier, they picked names and each bought for a sibling. Dekker and Solly pulled each others names, and Laela and Rowan picked each other as well. Dekker and Laela were the kids that grasped the idea more than the others, obviously. It was fun to talk with them about what they might like to get their brothers. Dekker wanted to give Solly a stuffed toy, because he figured a baby should have something soft. He opted for a stuffed Zuma, which I actually awesome, because Dekker would LOVE a stuffed Zuma, and he wanted to give Solly the best thing. He asked me to help Solly buy him a garbage truck. Laela had it in her head that Rowan should get a train for Christmas. We found the section with the Hot Wheels sized trains, but she wasn’t into those. She randomly found a single squishy train bath toy. She was instantly sold. And Ro was adamant on getting Laela an oversized stuffed puppy. He picked one out of the box, and that was that. I was so pleased to see everyone have ideas and opinions on what to get each other, and was even more thrilled that we could find each thing for a nice price. The kids all love the gifts they received from one another, and they were all very excited to see them opened. It was a pretty adorable exchange.
Aaaaand done! It sounds like a ton, and I know we are totally blessed to be able to buy this many gifts for our kids. But if you boil it down, I don’t feel like we overdid things. Everyone got 4-6 gifts, (in the case of the boys getting two books) some jammies, and a shared gift. The end! I am so happy with how it all turned out, and I hope you guys enjoyed this frightfully long winded post!! If not, sorry! Lol! You probably didn’t stick around this long if you were bored 😉 Thanks to those of you who did!
If anyone decides to do the yearly savings thing in the New Year, let me know! I know we want to get back into the habit of it, so some accountability would be great!
I hope your all really enjoying your Christmas seasons, or will begin celebrating very very soon.