Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Random Xmas Gift Thoughts 11/29/11

  • This is your annual reminder that Xmas is not X-ing out Christ.  The Greek letter chi (X) is the standard abbreviation for Christ.  In my sermon notes I write "X" for Christ, "Xn" for Christian, and "Xnty" for Christianity.
  • I'm already wrapping Christmas presents for the kids.  I wrap them at work and delight to see the kids meet me at the door to carry in a few presents and place them under the tree.  Homeschooling actually limits Shannon's ability to shop for and wrap presents but I sure don't mind.  In fact present-wrapping for my children is making this my favorite time of year.
  • Each present is numbered and I keep the super-secret master list of which numbers go to which child.  Who gets present number 17?  Nobody but Dad knows.  This cuts down on sneaking peeks and comparing numbers or sizes of presents.  It also gives me the flexibility to reassign a present, depending on how the shopping season shakes out.  One of the first presents under the tree this year is a generic boy's gift which will be assigned sometime later.
  • Yes, I keep the list in a spreadsheet so I can sort the list by both number and recipient. 
  • This year, since Christmas is on a Sunday, we probably won't open presents in our pajamas like usual.  Instead, we'll stuff stockings and open presents after lunch, when we get home from church.
  • Thank goodness for Google, Amazon, UPS, and online shopping.  With five kids, I can't imagine doing Christmas shopping without these money and time-savers.  As far as the internet is concerned, my shipping address is the church.
  • How do you keep Christmas shopping fair among multiple children?  Same number of presents?  Same amount of money spent on each child?  Same amount spent from year to year on that age of child?  Do you factor in inflation?  We try hard in our house to teach that "fair doesn't mean equal, fair means appropriate."  Teenagers don't want or need the same things as toddlers and girls certainly differ from boys.  Special needs are, of course, special.  So Mom and Dad have the responsibility to "do right" by each child, regardless of whether that meets the children's expectations or desires.  If their judgment was always right, they wouldn't need parents.
  • Another factor I try to weigh when buying gifts is the "splash" of each gift.  When I buy my oldest son a video game or book, that gift makes a pretty big "splash" in the sense that the rest of the children will enjoy that gift also as it's shared and handed down.  But the gifts I buy for my little girl, the only girl and youngest of five, have very little "splash" because the grade school aged boys probably won't touch a baby doll with a 10-foot poll.  In our house we're expected to share, so shopping for big splash items gets more of my attention.
  • This year I wrapped a present in a box with a hole in it, left open so the kids can see inside.  The box was a tall box that had an oval-shaped opening for a handle.  I carefully wrapped around the opening, leaving it as a little window into the big box.  Inside are two more separately wrapped presents.  Watching my little ones strain with glee to peek inside warms the cockles of heart.

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