This year, my kids are getting a TON of presents under the Christmas tree. I’m so excited, just look at the great big pile! There’s 8 Nerf Guns (because one for each child just isn’t enough), two Sphero SPRK + STEAM education robots (yep… one for each of the older boys), Lego Mindstorms (because my oldest has been pining and asking for this since he was 4 years old), a rock tumbler and crystal growing set (for my budding geologist/gemologist), Circuit Scribe Kit (for my budding engineer), Pokemon cards (about 600 of them total but who is counting) and Basketball cards (just shy of 300 cards I believe). I can’t wait to see their surprised little faces when they open them all up and find that these are their old Christmas toys from previous years.
Why we are doing this
Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t bad kids. I’m not doing this because they’ve gotten onto Santa’s Naughty Christmas List. Whenever we get new toys, they play well with them and play quite deeply I might add. They are so involved with the new toys during the Christmas holidays that we hardly do anything else. It’s just good old fashion play. And then school starts. And homework. Extra-curricular activities and after-school care. They get home late, eat dinner and then it’s time for bed. Our kids HARDLY have time to play. My light bulb moment came a few weeks ago when I started searching for Christmas presents and realized that my young bunnykins has pretty much everything possible they could want. No more gifts for gifts’ sake!!
I was chatting with my friend, Lea and she mentioned that she still has unopened Christmas presents from last year. So I came up with the idea of giving our kids the gift of TIME. Time to play and just be. We are consciously paring down our lives to fit in empty days without any after-school activities to fit in play dates, to be bored or just spend time with family.
When I first approached the Christmas gift idea with my husband, he laughed saying it was evil and yet brilliant. But as we talked further and fleshed out the idea, we were able to brainstorm for gifts that are meaningful, have purpose and bring joy (or all three). We’re not being a Christmas Scrooge as you might first imagine and some of these gifts build upon what they already have so that they can deepen their play and skills. So here are the IttyBittyFoodies Christmas gifts for 2017.
Something for the mind, body and spirit
For my first born, eleven-year of Pikelet (the one with the basketball card collection) we got him a pair of spiffy, retro Air Jordans and a two-day basketball camp. We’ve not had time to fit in basketball for him this term due to my tumor diagnosis and he’s been patiently waiting on the sidelines to find a basketball team to play with when I get better. The shoes he can wear every week will bring him joy and the basketball camp is something that can build on his skills. Plus it’s an experience rather than another thing to clutter up the house with.
Lollo my eight year old budding gemologist/geologist will receive new rocks to tumble in his rock tumbler. Rock tumbling takes patience, six weeks for the rocks to be ready. We’ve also signed him up for an art class in the interim where he can incorporate his love for gems and rocks. He is also my gardener and he will receive a trip to the nursery to pick out seeds for next season’s planting.
All the boys will receive Grace Lin books with a personal dedication from the author herself!! The personalized book plate dedication was Grace Lin’s holiday gift to her fans in celebration of her newest book, When the Sea Turned to Silver so this years’ books will be extra special.
For a completely new experience, we got a family season subscription to the Dallas Opera. The operas are short (just 45 minutes), with a craft reception prior and we all get to experience it in the world class Winspear Opera House. We are so grateful to the patrons of the art who make it so affordable for families to experience these events. Our Family Subscription for three operas cost us $4 a ticket. It doesn’t get any better does it?
To brace for rainy and cold (or extremely hot) days, we bought the kids more Kinect games for their Xbox. We’re not a big fan of screen time but we love that the Kinect gets the children off the couch and get quite a big workout.
To lift the spirit, we have a glitter snow globe for them. The idea stems from the Settle Your Glitter app from Dallas-based Momentous Institute. The app helps children calm down when they are worried or angry. It’s a virtual glitter ball that you shake up and encourages you to breathe in and out in time with the cute, little pufferfish on the app till the glitter settles. We brought the idea to life with a real, glittery snow globe with the word ‘Love’ inside it. I have a feeling that after opening all their old Christmas toys, they will need to open this gift first and calm down.
But gifting is just not for us, this year, we are going to start volunteering regularly as a family to give back to the community. In previous years, the children have made origami cards and ornaments and sold it at various places to raise money for Project Transformation, a program that helps with literacy in low income families. As my two older ones are avid readers, we’d like to start looking into mentoring and spending time to help these children read. Other kid-friendly volunteer organizations we’re looking are The Birthday Party Project who holds birthday parties each month for homeless children and Tango Tab which has Feed The City events for sandwich making and food delivery.
Lastly, we’re going to head to Shinola up in downtown Plano to pick up a beautiful journal. Shinola has this cool machine that lets you monogram your item. The journal is supposed to be a place to share thoughts of gratefulness, send love, write down worries and prayers throughout 2017. It’s been a tough year. Can’t wait for new beginnings! I’d love to hear your ideas, please feel free to put them in the comments section below!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all who celebrate.
Till our next Happy Meal!
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