Coping with holiday gift giving (and four birthdays)

By Jason Thomson on December 27, 2012

This week is our Super Bowl of gift giving. 

It’s not enough that we have six kids, it’s that four of those kids have birthdays over the next week. Not just near Christmas Day, but on Christmas Day. And Christmas Eve. And Boxing Day. And New Year’s Eve. Frank Capra couldn’t have planned it any better. 

Our goal is to find this group some nifty gifts, while ensuring that we don’t a) go bankrupt and b) add more to this house while c) ensuring everybody is happy. 

This is kinda-sorta our second go at this. We were together for two years, but our Boxing Day baby was imminent.  Last year, we’d just moved into our new house. We muddled through (it was actually pretty charming). This year, we’re putting together a process. Here’s how it works: 

Everybody gets something that looks like the other person’s stuff.

Sibling rivalry can get compounded pretty quickly around here. We sit down and made a structural list – everybody gets a book, a movie and a treat in the stockings, for example. 

We’re (trying) to shop online.

Shopping online does two things – it gets us done faster and it keeps us to our budget (fewer impulse buys). If we weren’t preoccupied by the move, we would have done this in November when Toys R Us and Mastermind have their best seasonal sales. 

We’re looking for cool toys.

It’s jarring when you realize you’ve been made into a TV character. But watching a Modern Family episode this season where Phil Dunphy espouses his love for onion goggles, I realized I’d become this (wonderful) caricature. And so this year, I’m embracing it. Awesome toys for all. 

We’re saving the party for June.

There’s so much going on around here that we’ve decided to do the birthday parties in June. In fact, the goal is one mega ten-hour party. Little ones in the morning/afternoon, big ones in the afternoon/evening. I’ve vetted this one with a few friends born in late December and I always get the same reaction. “Oh wow. I wish my parents did that for me when I was a kid.” Here’s hoping ours feel the same.


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