What do you think of when you hear the word ‘birthdays’? I think of themes, of décor, of food, a table full of sweet treats and being super excited – me, that is. I’m sure Ameli will be more into it this year too. And of course, presents. As a Blogging Mama, we receive more than our fair share of goodies through the letter box, and my kids think it’s Christmas every other day. I’ve been struggling with this for the past six months or so, and have drastically reduced the toy-related reviews that I’ve been doing, because honestly, the fact that my child had zero appreciation for her toys really bugged me.
If you get something fun every couple of days, you’re not going to appreciate the big things, like birthdays and Christmas, are you? Blogging and a bit of savvy organising have meant that for Ameli’s birthday this year, I’ve bought and popped a dolls house in the cupboard. However, I’ve been able to get her a gorgeous play kitchen for her birthday now, so I’ll put the doll’s house away for Christmas, I think. She always makes a beeline for kitchens and the related toys at other people’s houses, and she’s going to be over the moon.
Presents are a sensitive issue with a lot of people though; something of a taboo. I was speaking to a friend recently who has the largest collection of wooden toys, yet her mother-in-law will arrive with some large, plastic monstrosity at every visit. These toys often ‘disappear’. Since you have to put up with the toys once the visitors leave, I totally understand her reasoning, and have done the same on an occasion or two.
Right now, I’m wondering about Ameli’s third birthday. Do I give people a list of toys that we’d like? Something that can complement what she has – like furniture for her dolls house or pots and pans for the new play kitchen? Or do we ask for Amazon vouchers? (I love Amazon vouchers, because then I can buy things we need as we need them. I receive a few pounds worth for Aviya’s babyshower and a few weeks ago used them to buy new nappy wraps, because she needed them. That’s a gift I was grateful for, and I think of our friends every time I put a new one on her!)
Rather than a bunch of stuff she’ll probably rarely play with, I’d ask people to contribute to dance classes for her, or pay towards playgroup fees, or put it in the girls’ bank accounts to save up for later.
It’s not as much fun as unwrapping a present, I know that, but buying toys for children should be done in conference with parents, shouldn’t it? Or is that just one of the things that we learn to put up with when we have children? I know prescribing gifts annoys some people, some find it even rude, but when you don’t have money to give your children the things you really want to, isn’t it better to ask than to half-heartedly receive?