presents

Swap old or unwanted presents?

So how many unwanted presents did you get for Christmas?

Most of us try hard to give gifts someone wants to get, but not everyone gets it right so we sometimes (often?) get gifts that are not useful or not suitable for us.

Christmas presents under a tree, caption 'dealing with unwanted presents'

What do you do with unwanted presents?

Seriously, what do you do with those presents? Let us know in the comments as we all come across this issue from time to time!

I can’t say I’ve tried all of these, but here are some ideas for those presents when you can’t openly improve the situation…

  1. take them to a shop and exchange them – particularly useful for swapping clothing sizes/colours or book titles.
  2. regift them if someone else would truly appreciate the gift
  3. swap the item with someone who wants it – maybe they got a present you would like!
  4. go to a swap shop session where the community can exchange unwanted gifts, such as run in Stevenage, UK, for Christmas 2015
  5. put them in a cupboard to collect dust – not my preferred option and not really a good use of resources…

Advent calendars are up to day 20…

2016 Lego advent calendar collage

Day 20 of the Lego Friends calendar showed up a stove and a big chicken leg – even the chicken had to be put together in Lego fashion!

a Lego stove, chicken leg and fry pan

A Lego stove and chicken leg to go with the cooking utensils!

And day 20 of the Lego City calendar produced two presents – very different ones to those in the Friends calendar on day 17.

Two Lego presents under a decorated tree

Two Lego presents under a decorated tree

Don’t forget you can go back and read day one of the advent calendars from this year, or from 2015!

Christmas mess…

I just came across this thought in a magazine (Your Child in Banyule & Nillumbik to be precise) and loved it:

one of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the lounge room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.

I love that mess (especially compared to the mess my kids usually make…) all the wrapping paper and packaging strewn across the floor, new clothes, books and toys scattered around, topped off with tinsel and decorations around the room. It evokes happy feelings of sharing and giving, and its bright and colourful. Love it!

I never clean it up before we go out for Christmas lunch, and generally leave it for Boxing Day (isn’t that the point of Boxing Day anyway??) Does that make me unusual?

No gifts for adults?

Adult with Christmas gifts under the treeI know a number of friends have a family arrangement where only the kids get Christmas presents now, but I don’t like it.

Yes, I get that it saves a lot of money and stress to cut down the list of people to buy for – and with a list of 35 or so, I am all for that concept! And kids are often easier to buy for than adults you don’t see very often.

But there are a number of downsides I think:
– adults deserve fun too – who says we grow out of presents?
– it teaches kids to expect a lot, and possibly at the exclusion of adults
– kids get so much it is overwhelming anyway

Why not let the kids watch adults get things for a change?

Or maybe make family gifts instead of for kids or adults – a board game all can play, tickets to the zoo or a movie, a recipe book they can use together, some vegetable seedlings to start a garden, a beach umbrella, and so on.

What do you think – if presents are being cut back, who should get them? Have you experienced this idea of kids only gifts – did it work well?

* Photo courtesy of 123rf

When do you wrap presents?

I’ve heard many people say they’re up late on Christmas Eve wrapping loads of presents, so I’m curious – when do you wrap your presents?

Do you make an event of it – getting the family together, having some nibbles and drinks and music as you work – or is it just something that gets done?

Mummy needs a stocking too…

I’ve been meaning to post this since Christmas!

This year, my kids decided that Mummy needed to have a stocking too, as Santa only brings gifts for kids. So, I gave them some shopping money (they’re 3 & 5 and don’t get pocket money yet), and they took their Oma to Chadstone to buy items for Mummy’s stocking. They made some great choices, include a Christmas angel with my name on it, a headband, a book to read, and some bubble bath.

On Christmas morning, we all had fun opening our stockings together, and the boys were so proud of the stocking they had put together for Mummy.

Where’s the spirit gone?

For many years now, our family has done a Kris Kringle for the adults – each family still gives something to the kids.

My mother has suddenly decided that this is the last year – from now on we won’t give any presents. When everyone else argued against her decree, she muttered about ‘saving everyone the hassle of choosing a present to give’ – nice to know that’s what we mean to her. Especially as even the KK has shrunk as family members have moved away and can’t join us anyway…

In the end, we overruled her and Kris Kringle lives – and with a higher budget, too (yep, Mum’s idea to reduce it to $20 a few years ago. I mean the idea of introducing KK in our family is to get one decent present instead of many small ones – not so good with a $20 cap!)

But it just made we wonder – where is the spirit of giving? The ‘it is better to give than receive’?

memorable Christmas gifts

I love giving gifts that really mean something to the other person – it takes more time than buying a box of chocolates or a book voucher, but the look on their face and the knowledge that the present will last (in their memories at least) is well worth it to me.

I remember I once gave a babysitting voucher to my cousin who had a boisterous toddler – the look of joy on her face was priceless, and she treasured that voucher above her other gifts (by treasured I mean she kept it away from her toddler whereas he could look at her other gifts!) It was a simple gift and affordable as I had little money at the time, but meant a lot to her.

Another year I gave another cousin a calligraphy set because I remembered her saying she’d love to learn calligraphy. She had forgotten telling me that so her gift was a surprise but really suited her.

What presents have you given or received that are memorable for more than the price tag?

An Aussie Christmas

I think my childhood Christmases were pretty Australian.

We spent the day at my Uncle’s house every Christmas. They lived right on the beach so in between food and presents, we’d spend the day on the beach – mostly I remember playing cricket for hours on end.

It was hot, sunny and great fun!

Regardless, we had the traditional roast meal – lamb, pork and turkey I think were there most years, with loads of veggies, followed by Christmas pudding and custard and/or cream.

Present time was a bit mad, but it was controlled enough that we all watched what everyone got before the next presents were handed out – made it more fun to prolong the pleasure and enjoy everyone’s happiness at their gifts.

The day was loud and seemed to last forever, and we hated going home afterwards.

A Christmas Dream

Yesterday on a long drive, both my kids fell asleep in the car. After about an hour, my nearly 6 year old woke with a start telling me he’d just had a lovely big sleep and had a wonderful dream.

He dreamt there were lots of Santas in the world, making sure all the kids had “the most” presents.

I thought that was lovely, and spot on.

Through the eyes of children

When I was little my sisters and I would LOVE Christmas Eve. My step-father and his family were from Europe and so we celebrated the festive season on Christmas Eve at either my grandparent’s home or my Aunt’s home. Either way, it was special.

Grandpa would have lovingly put up the Christmas tree weeks before – a Christmas tree that stretched up to the ceiling and spread out across the room. We would feast on a range of Australian and European foods, including some specialities that Grandma would only make at this time of year, and there were never enough of those! But there was always MORE THAN ENOUGH food to feed us well for a week and then some!

After dinner we would open presents… piles and piles of gifts, carefully wrapped and decorated. But the present-opening wasn’t a frenzied free for all. We would hand out the gifts one at a time – that was always done by the kids – and then everyone would watch as the recipient opened their present, then we could hand out another.

The night continued with a myriad of Christmas music, dancing and performances by my sisters, cousin and myself, and perhaps some Christmas movies thrown in too.  And there were always on-going discussions throughout the night as to who was going to Midnight Mass and who was staying home. Grandma always chose Mass and at least one other adult would have to accompany her.

Somewhere between 1am and 2am we would be fighting to keep our eyes open and would eventually fall asleep in some corner of the loungeroom (or on an adult lap), only to be carried, still sleeping, to the car and then into bed (still fully dressed) when we arrived back home at around 3-4am.

We still celebrate on Christmas Eve but now that I’m grown up the tree doesn’t seem quite so big. And being allowed to stay up practically all night for one night of the year isn’t as big a deal as it was back then, yet the magic is still there. Instead, the magic now comes from watching the excitement in the eyes of the current generation of littlies – my son, nieces and nephew. As I watch their sparkling faces I fully understand their awe at the size of the Christmas tree and their excitement at being able to stay up waaaaay past bedtime.

Merry Christmas to all…

Where does Santa leave your presents?

Santa adapts well to each family’s preferences and traditions, leaving presents wherever suits the family, be it in a stocking or not, under the tree, indoors or even outdoors.

So let us know where Santa leaves presents in your house – is it the same as when you were younger? Is there a story or reason for that place?

Love Santa’s Elf

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