Sunday, December 11, 2011
I have four siblings, all of whom have at least two kids. I have no kids and one salary. How do I gracefully reduce my gift giving? I want to be a good sister and aunt, but I've started to dread birthdays and holidays.
Suggest the following arrangement with your sibs: Once there are children involved, presents go to them only. This way, you are being both a good sister and aunt, and keeping the cost manageable. You're making your sibs' kids happy...which should make your sibs happy in the process. Give the grown-ups cards and/or things like homemade goods or coupons for a night of babysitting. Let them continue to buy things for you if they wish...until you have children of your own.
I'm a clueless but well meaning uncle. What can I give my seven year old niece for Christmas that won't make either her or her mom hate me?
I love questions from well-meaning uncles. Especially ones who realize that we moms might not always agree with our daughters about what's cool or appropriate.
Some great options in this situation:
A charm bracelet. The first occasion, buy the bracelet and one charm (there are fab options online, most big department stores sell charms, or you can go upscale for the bracelet and first charm and do Tiffany.) For any or all gift occasions after that, you can give a charm that says something about her life at that point. My goddaughter, now 8 years old, has an extensive collection of charms that recall milestone memories in her life: a bikini charm for the year she learned to swim, a chihuahua charm when she got a puppy, a tutu during her ballet phase, a tiara for her princess obsession. This Christmas she's getting a microphone to commemorate her recent performance in her school's musical production. (Much as I adore my niece, I thankfully live too far away to attend. I'll watch the edited version of her scenes when I see her on Christmas.)
A book/toy combo. This is great for boys, too. Amazon.com or a good bookstore clerk can tell you what's hot and intelligent for the recipient's age group (you should have an idea whether the child is on the more- or less- mature-for-her/his-age end of the spectrum- ask the mother if you need to). Mom will love the book. We hope the kid will, too, but kids will never complain if you add a toy that's somehow connected. Like The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane with a stuffed bunny. The wonderful yet overlooked Ozma of Oz with a bling-y crown/tiara. Big Truck and Little Truck with a toy truck. Lily's Purple Plastic Purse with, I bet you can guess. The Invention of Hugo Cabret with a toy robot.
Or put the two together: a book with a charm: a copy of Charlotte's Web with a pig charm. The Spiderwick Chronicles with a fairy charm or a little key to go with A Secret Garden"...
Happy Holidays, Graces. Remember, it's the thought that counts, even if the kids haven't learned that yet.
Posted by Social Grace at 8:48 PM