Avoiding Toy Mountain: Gift Giving Tips

‘Tis gift giving season again. We’ve all witnessed the “toy mountain” effect: loads of gifts under the tree, so many that your children can’t enjoy or appreciate them. Or a child getting a pair of pants from Grandma instead of a longed-for toy. How do you decide what to buy children for the holidays? How do you guide your relatives so that your children end up smiling? These Fort Wayne women share their gift giving tips.

In Amy Hackney’s family, “We talk about something they (her children) would like Santa to bring to them. I tend to stay in tune to things they express interest with in the store.” When it’s her turn to give to other children, she simply calls the parents of her nieces and nephews and asks what the children would like. That avoids duplication and ensures they get a gift they will enjoy.

Because Natalie Marie Gleaves’ children are so young, “I look for second hand toys/stuff that is educational, etc. and clothes.” To guide relatives in buying gifts she says, “I keep a list on my phone for when aunts/grandparents start asking around and I always make sure it is available online,” because that’s where the majority of her family shops now. She also asks for “practical stuff that will make life more enjoyable (wagon, car seats, bigger indoor toys for winter, etc).”

“Jenna” says she has watched gifts she enjoyed giving be promptly ignored. As a result, she offers this advice: “Don’t give a gift based on something YOU like or feel passionate about. Just because it is something that you would really appreciate doesn’t mean everyone else will.”

Kimberly Cox says she is trying to prevent the “gift mountain” syndrome by limiting what she buys for her children and educating them on what the holiday season is all about: “This year, they are getting books and art supplies and also some Duplo blocks. We are trying to teach them that the holidays are more about family and friends and less about gifts.” That’s a sentiment well worth considering.

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About Drema Drudge

Drema Drudge received her MFA in Creative Writing at Spalding University and has had her fiction most recently published in The Louisville Review, Mused, ATG, Mother Earth News, and Penumbra. She is a frequent contributor to the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Drema is married to musician Barry Drudge. They have two grown children, Mia and Zack. Feel free to visit Drema's website where she explores her passion for writing about art at dremadrudge.com.

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