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Gifted children

I’ve done the math.

If our 8 kids gave each sibling a gift, there would be at least 56 gifts under the tree representing just the Lifenut junior set. I can’t justify that on any level.

For several years, we’ve had the kids draw names. This year, we did it on the day after Thanksgiving. I was bracing for everyone to draw his or her own name out of the hat after our astonishing Jack-o-lantern vote. Everyone managed to draw someone else’s name.

We had some giggles over the match-ups. Teddy is giving to Aidan, which makes her nervous. Left to his own devices, he’d present her with a Baby Elmo Pampers at half-capacity. She’s already dealt with a few of those, so I must step in and save the day. I took Teddy shopping for Aidan and whispered in his ear that she’d like that or that or maybe that.

Another fun pairing is Beatrix —> Archie. Being a 4-year-old girl means being intensely focused on things a 4-year-old girl adores. One of the beauties of the sibling gift exchange is how it encourages the kiddos to consider the likes and wishes of a brother or sister. Archie knows Hello Kitty and considers her a friend. But she’s hardly BFF material. Beatrix had to challenge herself when it came to choosing an Archie-friendly gift, and I’m proud of the choice she ultimately made. Think: Feline-free.

Think: Feline-full. That would define the Ryley —> Beatrix duo. Again, an almost 12-year-old boy shopping for a preschool-aged girl was fun to watch. It’s a wise brother who knows his baby sister.

The kids will wrap the presents, too. This is a handy life skill. When I was in high school, I wrapped Christmas presents at a women’s clothing store at the mall. 90% of the customers were men who had no idea that I didn’t know what I was doing, either. Their wives and girlfriends probably thought the men wrapped the gifts themselves because they looked pretty awful by the time I was done. I’ve improved a little, but I can’t do that curly ribbon/scissors thing very well. I’m determined to not let my kids be inept at the art of wrap.

My favorite part of the sibling gift exchange is that I get to spend (almost) one-on-one time with the kids. We shop, we wrap, we talk about our family. I can’t think of a better gift to give myself. Funny how it works that way.

12 comments to Gifted children

  • Sheila @momfessions

    We only have 3 kids right now but this I how I would like to have our kids “gift”. I took my daughter shopping tonight for her brother an throughly enjoyed our time together AND seeing her pick something her brother would love!

  • This is a great idea!

    I hate wrapping presents. My husband loves it. He’s also very good at it and offers to do it. Yes, I’m keeping him.

    I still have to wrap his, but for what it’s worth McGuckin’s in Boulder offers free gift wrapping! And they do a GREAT job! Last year was a VERY happy holiday for THIS gift-wrapper; that’s for sure! 🙂 This year, Claire helped me wrap. (That’s my story anyway…) Ha.

  • I wish I could be a fly on the wall during some of your shopping sessions–I’d love to hear the conversations! And how kind of you to help Teddy out. 🙂

  • My six kids exchange names too. Shop and wrap. They love it, and so do I. Now we’ve added the first in-law!
    Isn’t it crazy how fast gifts add up when you have a multiplier of 6 or 8? 🙂

  • We do this too. Can you imagine all those gifts… just the thought of 56 pieces of bark or gravel or twigs with green leaves that are anything but green on the day of unveiling. All carefully wrapped up in copious rolls of gift wrap leaves me staggering!!! So everyone has a name and everyone has to make something lovely for their sibling. They have made some really cool gifts previously: felt masks and decorated notebooks. It has been very quiet this year and I am wondering if they know there is less than a week to go – Of course they do!!! Maybe a little chat about giving what you expect to be receiving is in order… I will see if I remember it at breakfast time!!!

  • What a perfect and family-focused Christmas tradition. I love it.3

  • Our kids exchange names with each other for gifts, too.

  • I had my three older kids shop for two of their siblings at the school Christmas shop. I don’t know if they’ll love what they get, but they did enjoy shopping for each other. Each kid was assigned one younger sibling and one school-age sibling.

  • I love this idea! This is how the adults in our family handle gift giving… but I never thought of the kids doing it too. Might lessen the cost of Christmas next year that way. I can’t wait to hear what Aidan gets from Teddy!

  • Amy

    I love this idea. Makes me wish I had a house full so that we could do the same thing.

  • I love this! I bet it is fun for them and special for you to spend time with them individually and seeing how they perceive what their brother or sister would like for Christmas.

    Now that Peter is 9 (as of today!), we’ve told him he is old enough that we expect him to come up with a gift for his brother. He purchased a birtday gift for Jacob with his own money. I told him I’d subsidize his Christmas purchase, but also reminded him that great gifts need not be expensive.

    Merry Christmas to the Casa de Lifenut!

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