As we approach our son’s first Christmas I’ve been thinking a lot about holiday gift giving and how it may impact him. We are the proud parents of the first grandbaby on both sides of two large, close-knit families. Right away, our little guy had pluck, sweetness, strength, curiosity, and SO. MUCH. CRAP.
There’s no way around it – that kid is going to win Christmas this year. By about ten a.m., he will be the center of attention, blissfully ignoring a growing pile of carefully selected age-appropriate gifts. Instead, he’ll be ripping around the room climbing the gift boxes and trying to get his hands on a candy cane.
Today I am putting myself in his socks (we usually don’t bother with shoes) and documenting his holiday wish list.
1. Kitchen utensils
He’s got a monstrous collection of stimulating toys designed by experts to appeal to babies his age. Somehow, in spite of that, his favorite toys are a whisk and a set of plastic measuring spoons. My in-laws actually got a jump on this one and bought him this tiny pot and pan set. We keep them with our regular sized pots and pans and he gets a huge kick out of collecting them from the cabinet and clanking them together.
2. Boxes and wrapping paper
Let’s be honest, there’s a 100% chance he’s more interested in the wrapping paper and the boxes than anything they contain.
3. Dog biscuits
He goes absolutely nuts when we open up the drawer where we keep the dog biscuits. His job is to hold a biscuit and gently hand it over to our dog, Mo. The baby thinks this whole process is hilarious, we think it’s incredibly cute and our getting-fatter-by-the-day dog thinks it’s very lucrative.
4. Whatever is on My Plate
Now that he’s old enough to share the food we eat, three things have happened. 1) He LOVES the new tastes and flavors. 2) His hand-control has improved amazingly quickly. 3) The lightbulb went off that this is what we’ve been eating all along while we shoveled homemade pea puree into his face. Justifiably, he’s developed a lasting suspicion that we are sandbagging him at mealtime. As a result, even when he and I are eating the same exact meal, he prefers the food that’s on my plate.
He wants a day without cell phones where he can turn to anyone in the room and we’ll be right there smiling back at him. We won’t look away to check some inconsequential emails, texts, scores or social media posts. All eyes will be where they belong, watching him take in the magic of his first Christmas.
6. A Bubble Bath
Bubble baths combine two of his favorite things – bubbles and not wearing pants
There’s nothing our aspiring acrobat loves more than climbing to the top of the stairs while I hover nervously behind him. About 600 times a day he makes a break for the stairs and we have to chase him down. He’s a little too young for a stair-stepper so I settled on a never-ending staircase. On a totally unrelated note, my husband and I should probably add a baby gate to our wish list.
8. A selfie stick
None of the aforementioned doting grandparents live locally so he does a lot of FaceTiming. A selfie stick on the end of the high-chair would be a fun way for them to entertain him (or more accurately, for him to entertain them). As an added bonus my husband and I will have our hands free to round up the mini pots and pans he’s scattered across the house and return them to the cabinet from whence they came.
9. A Robot Arm
He would like a mechanical arm permanently affixed to his high chair next to his new selfie stick. The arm’s main purpose will be to give him something to laugh at while it picks up his sippy cup each time he drops it on the floor. This process will continue on a constant loop through all meals indefinitely.
I doubt there’s another person out there who gets as amped up for cheerios as our son does. He starts kicking and screeching in his high chair as soon as he catches a glimpse of that yellow box. His reaction to cheerios is so outrageously adorable that I’ve actually considered submitting a video to General Mills.
How do you avoid spoiling your kids at Christmas-time?
To all the gift givers out there, I hope I don’t sound ungrateful. Believe me, I get how lucky we are to have so many generous friends and family members. I’ll be the first to admit that I plan to spend Christmas day cheering my son on as he learns to rip wrapping paper off of present after present after present. I can’t wait to play with new toys, read new books and dress him up in new outfits.
But it’s also my job to make sure he grows up understanding how fortunate he is. Hopefully, as he gets older, he’ll think of the holidays as a time for family traditions, acts of kindness and gift giving. Although it may be tough to impart these values on a one-year-old, it’s never too early to try.
I would love to hear from you. What do your little ones want for Christmas this year? And more importantly, how do you encourage them to be grateful and generous during the holiday season?