I thought I’d do a two-parter starting this week: One part “What does a Broke-Ass kid want?” and one part “What does a Broke-Ass Mom want?” You know what’s so great about kids? Up until a certain age (I’ve yet to discover at what age this changes) kids love the simplest things. I’ll never forget my son’s first couple of Christmases. At his first Christmas, he could barely hold himself up. He sat on my lap and we just watched his three cousins go to town opening their presents. This was plenty fun and entertaining for him. Therefore, my advice for the first year, buy him next to nothing. Maybe you buy something simple, a board book, or a bath toy, and you let them “help” you unwrap that gift in the slowest possible way. Buying a gift for your child in the first year is really more about you than it is about them. They are perfectly content to sit on the sidelines and watch.
The second Christmas came, and my son was WAY into the wrapping, the ribbons, and the boxes. He could have cared less about the contents. My advice for the second Christmas is similar to the first. Buy them something simple, and let them just enjoy the boxes and the wrapping paper to their heart’s content. Once your child becomes fully mobile and more communicative, that’s when you up the ante. They may not understand what Christmas is, but they probably understand that someone has bought them something, and that something is inside the box. But guess what, they’ll still enjoy the wrapping paper, ribbons, and box.
For the third Christmas, you can still get away with a few presents. Hell, they’ll love it if you only get them one present. They still won’t understand the meaning of multiple gifts, so why not buy them one or two really fun gifts and save your money (and time for that matter)? A little quick tip: unwrap, untie, and unclasp the toy inside the box so that it’s ready to play with once they finally unwrap and open the box.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the kid world. But the moral of the story is that less really is more. They’ll love anything or nothing that you buy them. I swear if you don’t have a single penny to spend this year, then take some newspaper, an old shoe box lying around, and some string and wrap an empty shoe box for them this year. They’ll have tons of fun unwrapping it no matter what their age is (assuming they can still appreciate the beauty of the empty box) and the best part is that they can use their imagination to determine how and what to do with that box (parking garage, step stool, box to hold some toys, a “bus” that they can push around the floor, a hiding place for a doll, etc). Happy Holidays, and tune in next week to find out what I (and all other Broke-Ass Moms) want.
photo by: istockphoto knape