Is a birthday present necessary?
This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post is a plea for help – do I really have to buy a birthday present for a child who inherits her big sister’s everything, and doesn’t even know what she wants for her 11th birthday? For more info about gifts – giving and receiving – see my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting, click here.
I know, this post’s title “is a birthday present necessary” sounds a cruel question, but my 10 year old, Nell, isn’t sure what she wants for her fast approaching 11th birthday. My feeling is that this will be the last birthday she has when she isn’t clamouring for things – and we should take advantage of that. After all, the moment a child goes to secondary school there’s a sudden leap in acquisitiveness. Next birthday I’m certain that she’ll be wanting a particular type of shoe, outfit or gadget.
Her dad thinks we should get Nell something. I’m not so sure.
Our sitting room is full of toys, many bought at car boot sales, or given to her. And she still plays with them, just. Although Nell’s current favourite is a round slice from a Christmas tree base, found in the road where it had been put out for the dustman. I rescued it for the log burner, but Nell reckons it makes a perfect theatre for her collection of plastic toy dogs. That’s creative, often buying toys seems to stop the creativity.
As ever with children, it’s not always toys that they want. It’s just that us adults often fail to understand this. We buy, because we know how to do it.
Interestingly the Frugal Dad blog in the US published a piece on the strange rise in toy buying. And it’s all thanks to the economic recession… it makes us spoil our kids with new toys. Here is the post.
Back to the dilemma: the choices are darts board (why???), pogo stick (hard to use) or more Sylvanians (this girl has enough). I’m tempted to give her riding lessons (her Christmas present), or another skill developer (like skating lessons), but first have to battle with dad Pete about what he thinks is appropriate. He’s big on unwrapping... To be honest, Nell is too.
Over to you
What would you do? Get a gift or wrap up a chocolate bar knowing there’s some money saved up for when the birthday girl really needs something (rather than has a seasonal want).