Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Gift Giving Dilemma

Every year around Christmas time, my husband and I would end up in the same discussion.  What to buy the children for Christmas?  I'm the ever practical one who wants to buy them new clothing, shoes, socks and underwear.  And to splurge we then could buy them some books.  My husband groans.  He says that they need something fun.  You know--a new game, video, or toy.  I protest.  It just becomes more junk around the house.  And the discussion goes on and on.  Finally, I get to buy something practical while he rolls his eyes, and he buys something totally impractical while I roll my eyes.  And usually neither one of us quite feels satisfied.

Image: Simon Howden /

Last year we didn't buy any presents to put under the tree.  Well, my husband and I didn't.  The kids just bought gifts for each other.  Instead, we went on our first ever Christmas trip.  We only went a couple hours away, but we stayed in a hotel which was a real treat.  Oh, and the heated indoor swimming pool was like the cherry on top.  Amber, our youngest, could never remember having stayed in a hotel.  We went out to eat for supper at this little mom and pop diner.  The waitress gave the kids all nicknames like "Sweet pea" and "Cupcake," and made a big deal over our family.  As most with large families know, eating out isn't an option very often, so we made the most of it.  Afterwards we took them to a live theater and watched "The Christmas Carol."  Watching the older children enjoy the music and acting, and seeing the eyes of the younger ones get big when there was "real" smoke and revolving sets made it worth every minute.

The children have often talked about our Christmas trip since then.  The great part was my husband and I both were happy, and we didn't have a single argument (oops! I mean discussion) over what to give.  So, guess what, we're going on another trip this year.  I'm excited.  And it sure makes Christmas shopping a breeze.  Everyone gets the same thing.


  1. That sounds fun. I'll have to tuck that idea away for when the kids get just a little older.

  2. Jeff and I have limited our Christmas spending too! We have chosen to make memories with our kids instead of buy them tons of gifts that they don't need. This year we went to the Living Christmas tree and then Got a great deal at the Nutcraker Ballet in KC. This is my way of Amening what you did and encouraging other famlies to do the same. You kids will remember it forever.

  3. We thought about the Nutcracker in KC, too. Wasn't sure the five boys would enjoy it though. :0) We went to Union Station. Had a great time. Went to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Science Center, and the IMAX theater there. Nice hearing from you.