When They Were Little and The Gift Giving Came Easy
This year I’ve been fumbling about with shopping for my oldest two kids. We have a teenage boy and a tween girl (who thinks she’s 20, but that’s another story) and both of them are at that point where they are moving beyond Barbies, G.I. Joe, and Legos for Christmas.
That makes me wish for the days of stepping on Barbie shoes and Legos all over again, mostly because it was easy. There’s a never ending supply of things to build from and add on to.
When I sat them down and asked what they each wanted for Christmas, I got the same response to gift ideas that I had on my own, “I’m not sure what I want this year.”
That’s uber-helpful. Thanks kids.
Let’s examine the gift ideas shall we?
- Gift Cards for clothes (if they don’t like shopping with you or what you pick out for them.)
- Video Games
- Super expensive electronics and cell phones
It seems like until they hit the age of 16 where you can buy them things that they’ll need (like car insurance and fuzzy dice) you’re limited in your gift giving options.
Shopping for teens and tweens can be extremely difficult, especially for extended friends and family who might not know what to give but still want to give something anyway. And let’s not forget that teens and tweens are sensitive and can be super picky. If I get my son an Axe Gift Set (stuff to make him smell good), he might think that I think he stinks (which, he’s a teenage boy, all teenage boys stink. Let’s just be clear about that), but that’s not the intended plan behind the gift and any unsuspecting grandparent, aunt or uncle could unwittingly throw the hormonal teen into a tizzy with a gift that leans to suspect the teen’s personal hygiene.
I finally decided to turn the Spanish Inquisition on them… meaning I followed them from room to room until I got answers. Answers that I could take into the stores and purchase; answers that I could hand off to others and say, “This is what they told me” and wash my hands of the situation.
One thing I will say is that I believe there has to be limits on what they get. In some ways you could say that my kids aren’t spoiled so there’s a large part of their list that will go untouched and I won’t buy for them simply because I don’t think we need three different game systems in the house right now. Santa may love my children but he loves mommy’s sanity even more.
As they all continue to get older (who allows that by the way and how do I put a stop to it?) and slowly begin to let childhood go, I know that this is only the beginning. I need to get tough on my Spanish Inquisition techniques and let go of the notion that Barbie and G.I. Joe have a future beyond me keeping the children small.
Maybe it’s not so much about how difficult it is to shop for my growing teen and tween (and tweens to-be). Maybe it’s more about them just moving beyond what was easy and comfortable for me and how our definitions of growing up differ. This year I got lucky, tween girl wants a doll and the teenage boy wants a Lego set. Who knows? I might just be able to keep them little a little bit longer after all.There’s a lesson in this somewhere. I’m just struggling to see it beyond the growing children in front of me.