I love the festive spirit of Christmas and now that I have a little boy to shop for it’s even more exciting. As much as I love gift giving, I am not a fan of excess and I hope to be able to reign myself in whenever I am tempted to overspend and spoil Diego.

I love wooden toys and prefer any toy that isn’t battery powered over one that is. These open ended toys have lots of possibilities when it comes to play. They’re not uni-taskers.  They can be more expensive than their flashy counterparts but they last a lot longer. They grow with the child, and as a result you end up buying less toys. My toy philosophy is that if it runs on batteries I am not going to buy it. That’s not to say that those toys don’t have their place in our lives because they do. Diego has enjoyed a few of these, mostly they have been gifts, and they’re great! We’ve certainly had a lot of fun with some of them.

When I started thinking about what to get Diego for Christmas I knew in the direction in which I wanted to go. We have bought very few toys for Diego as he has been kept fully stocked by generous family and friends. The first thing I picked up was a set of toy cans by Melissa and Doug. These are plastic and have removable lids that allow you to fill them up, etc. I like these because Diego loves to be in the kitchen and he now has his own designated drawer. I know these cans will entertain him. 

I also picked up a set of stacking plastic cups. I got these because Diego loves his nesting cardboard cubes but he’s taken to peeling them and so I wanted something more durable than paper. The cups are meant to be played with in many different scenarios, such as sand and water. 

The last present I picked up is a band in a box by Melissa and Doug. 

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Now that the presents are bought and wrapped I feel charged with establishing our own family traditions. Growing up, my parents saved the big presents for Three Kings Day, and while I still want to honor the day for its cultural and sentimental value to me I am unsure as to what role it will play in our lives. I recently heard about a family that does Christmas a little different, instead of receiving gifts from Santa they GIVE by donating toys to charity. This is great because it allows you to thin out your collection and also shop for the less fortunate. I think it’s an important lesson for children of all ages and once Diego is old enough to understand I will definitely incorporate this not just into our holiday traditions but into our lives in general. We already donate throughout the year but this will be something he will be actively involved in. 

It isn’t until Three Kings day that the aforementioned family exchanges gifts. Their rule is one present from each king. I really like this idea, even though I am a nonbeliever so the religious aspect isn’t what interests me. I really like the notion of becoming involved in the community and teaching children about the realities of life. Teaching them about their own privilege is important and it’s never too soon to start raising self aware and socially conscious members of society. 

Even though it seems as though it’s far off, I have already started to think about what I will do once Diego starts asking for specific things for Christmas. I may have mentioned this before; one thing he wants, one thing he needs, one thing to wear and one thing to read. This limits the amount of gifts but it also serves as a guide. I think it would be a good idea to have Diego write down a few things in each category and then receive one of each. That way he will be surprised. It’s also good to teach him that he can’t have everything he wants. 

Hopefully this will be of interest to some and a reminder for me in the future when maybe I’ve forgotten all this levelheaded planning. 

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