From birthdays to family holidays, children will expect to receive something during these special moments of the year. The earlier you start planning, the better! What parent hasn't been caught between an upcoming birthday and a household bill? If you learned anything from this past holiday season it most likely was "Next year I need to do something different." Then before you know it, next year is already here!
I recently discovered just how fast time has flown with one older child in his late tweens (lol) and now another older child who will become a teenager this year--their development has been simply amazing! One child is 5' 4" and he's just 11. (Meanwhile, the five-year-old and the four-year-old, at times, seem to be regressing especially when they have their share of tantrums.)
One day, while shopping, a fellow mom in the toy aisle suggested I get a video game or gift card for my older children after I asked her son had he heard what all the kids have been wanting lately since I was going to surprise the older ones with a few toys. But his mom interrupted, "They just aren't into toys that age." My tween still seems to be into the imaginative play toys such as action figures like wrestler men and toy soldiers who come with play sets. However, the soon-to-be teen, well, I guess not so much. The mom and her son saved me some money that day.
Nearing the end of last year, I realized that mixed in with the gift card and popular video games I bought my children, should be some educational videos, spiritual teachings, and something to help with extracurricular activities. So I bought a little bit of everything I thought would appeal to their interests. I wanted my children to start the New Year off to a good start mentally, physically and spiritually.
It was a nice shopping season and gift-giving experience in 2011, but I decided that yet again, I will be doing something different this year. Rather than buy most of the children's gifts nearing the holiday season, I think it would be better to give them a gift or two each month--you know, spread out the gift-giving thoughout the year and give less gifts by the end of the year. This way it encourages them to keep doing their best throughout the year and not just because a birthday, Christmas or our traditional Happy New Year celebration is right around the corner (we don't gift exchange on Christmas.) Besides, I think starting the New Year off paying debt is really getting old (sigh.)
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