Don’t Worry So Much About Your Children’s Gifts



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Pooh Bear teddy bear

Don’t Worry – My Unwarped Children

I shouldn’t laugh at young parents now because I was the same way years ago. I was so worried about every little thing in my children’s lives. I worried what would happen if I didn’t do this or that or if they didn’t get the finest educations. What about their social lives and, even worse, what if I couldn’t provide everything they wanted or needed? I even worried about what their friends and others thought.

I always worried and wondered, “Am I warping my kids for life in everything I do?” Guess what I found out. If you love your kids more than anything else, turn them over to God and do the best you can at that moment. They will turn out just fine. All those hours, days and years of blood, sweat and tears worrying whether they would be warped were a waste of time. For most of us, one of the biggest worries comes at Christmas. Will our kids will be warped and disappointed for life if we don’t get them that must have toy?

What made me think of this? My son just sent me a survey that he had filled out where it asked him what his favorite toy was as a child. He said Pooh Bear. I had forgotten about his Pooh Bear and had to laugh. I remember so well getting that silly bear for him. He was about 2 or 3 and he loved Pooh. At that time, Pooh toys were terribly expensive (another example of how there are a lot of things that are cheaper now). There was no way we could afford a Pooh for him for Christmas. I found an inexpensive little brown bear that Santa gave him and called it Pooh. He loved that bear so much.

Here is the answer from my son when I told him this story:

“MY ANSWER TO THIS REVELATION  – I am crushed. This is one of those life moments that you will never forget. All my life I grew up believing that Pooh Bear was the real thing. POOH BEAR WAS A FAKE. I never noticed that he was brown instead of yellow. Skin color was never an issue for me. I loved him for the way he was. Now the truth comes out…when I am 34…35 years old. Heart breaking, gut wrenching truth…Oh woe is me!! HA! HA! HA!”

As you can see all those hours I spent worrying about not being able to get him the real thing were spent for nothing. He never even realized it wasn’t the real thing and he didn’t really care. I especially liked the skin color joke because it has been a funny story in our family.



Skin color never has been an issue with my son. My son (David) was always really tall, super skinny, white as a ghost and blond. When he was in 4th grade, one of his favorite teachers had the last name Cooper like his. She was very short, stocky and African American. We were always joking with her about whether she was related to David.

David so loved her all year long. Then the week before Martin Luther King’s birthday, he came running home from school all excited saying, “Mom did you know Mrs. Cooper is a black lady? Isn’t that something?” All this time he had never seen the color of her skin. He had just looked at her through the eyes of love and saw Mrs. Cooper, his favorite teacher. I don’t think you can get more unprejudiced than that. :) :)

But back to Pooh. You may not be able to get you children all their “Poohs” this year at Christmas but don’t worry. Take it from someone who has “been there, done that”. It will be okay. Just do the best you can for them with lots of love and it will be fine.

      -Jill

Photo By: kcdsTM

Comments

  1. Brenna says

    Hello to all!

    I just wanted to say thank you for your blog today Jill about not warping our children. I was able to purchase a bunch of barbie dolls, barbie furniture, barbie clothes, a barbie limo, and a barbie airplane for $40. We have planned to give them to our oldest daughter (4 years) for Christmas. And of course, true to form, have been stressing that she would be upset that they were used. When in reality, she is going to LOVE having the dolls and all the accessories. Thanks for the reality check!

  2. kelly says

    My sister is an elementary school teacher. She was the one who told me children do not notice skin color until into elementary school. Isn’t that amazing? God must want us to remain like that if he started us out that way, I think. Love it when you tell stories of when your children were little. You are a good writer.

  3. says

    When I was 4 years old we would go to the government dock in Rondeau park near the border with the States. This one day there were a lot of black people there fishing. Being curious instead of swimming I went along talking to all the fishermen. I wanted to know what they were catching and where they were from and if they thought I was cute.
    I was also very vain.
    Anyway they were all from Detroit and they were catching cat fish.
    I went back to my parents and told them that the men were catching those ugly fish that everyone I knew tossed back because we didn’t like them.
    I thought for a few years that if I wanted a really good tan I would have to go to Detroit because that is the only way I could get a really dark tan. I told my parents we had to go there until they said I would have to eat cat fish.
    Kids do see things through different eyes than adults. They put their own spin on new concepts and it is a shame when they start to grow up and try to conform.

    • Sharla says

      When I went to kindergarten there were a few black students in my class. I went home and told my mom about what their hair was like, and tried to make my–very fine, very Caucasian–hair do the same and tied it in knots. I didn’t care what color they were, just wanted to be able to do with my hair what Kendra and the others could do with theirs.

  4. nancie says

    When my daughter was about 4 yr old she wanted a PINK radio. No pink radios for sale! Only blue. My grandmother said to wrap a piece of pink contact paper around it, (it was still blue on the ends). Looked tacky to me. I was sure it wouldn’t fly with my daughter. Wouldn’t you know….she was pleased as punch with her pink radio.

  5. says

    Research says children notice skin color but they don’t care until they are older. It is just like anything else about a person like hair color or height. They notice but so what, it’s no big deal to them.

  6. Karen Pruneau says

    Skin colour, heh heh heh, My second son asked me once how many skin colours there were. I started to answer, but then, my childrens skin colours came to mind and I ended up answering him with “there is one skin colour and many shades of that colour” My daughter is ghost white with red hair, my second son is medium white and blond and my oldest son I have always called my nut brown boy – he never burned. All three have the same parents. When I explained how variously shaded our family was he accepted my answer of one colour for all people.
    The children have never minded when I had to purchase second hand stuff for them. They have been glad to have it. I have minded.

  7. Doug McCormick says

    Spending $100 for a model steam engine in not necessary. A year subscription to Popular Mechanics or Popular Science magazine would be a better choice for a 14 year old boy. In a few months or a year, he will learn how to BUILD THAT MODEL STEAM ENGINE in HIGH SCHOOL SHOP CLASS. And spend only a few dollars for raw materials. Plus he will learn thousands of other good things as well.

  8. Mary Keyser says

    I have read these comments with interest, especially since they were from earlier posts. You know things never seem to change. Skin color doesn’t become an issue unless someone else makes it an issue. Children don’t realize there is a difference because to them we are all just people. It’s when others begin to make an issue of it that they begin to wonder. When they see newscasters comment about the ‘race issue’ or see shows on tv that point out the differences and hear things like “African American”, “Native American”, “Asian American” that the difference becomes clear and they begin to wonder. Too bad this has to happen. Would be so much better for everyone if we were all just ‘people’ and all just Americans, don’t you think?

    Children could care less where the toys come from or if they are used or new – they notice the love that went into picking out, or creating the gift more than the gift itself. That is why gifts of clothing that doesn’t fit or is totally inappropriate for their age, toys that do not reflect their personalities (a doll for a tomboy is just not the same as a gift of outdoor toys or something similar) are sometimes neglected and seem unappreciated.
    Its the time and love you put into selecting the gift that means most.

    • tuxgirl says

      I’m half-way between agreeing and disagreeing with your idea of having everyone just be “people” and leaving all the other distinctions apart. I think in a lot of ways, the fact that we *have* those distinctions is essential. I think the problem is not that the distinctions exist, or that they are recognized. I think the problem is that some people turn them into a bad thing.

      I love hearing about other cultures. There have been times where I’ve even treated someone differently because of something I was able to recognize based on their skin-color. For example, when I worked near the international district here, I frequently treated some of the chinese people I met or interacted with a bit differently because I knew certain ways to show respect to them, many of which would not have been recognized as such if I’d done them to someone without that cultural background.

      I’ve also had times that I’ve asked someone about their cultural background because I could see that they were from somewhere else. It wasn’t in an accusatory way — just out of curiosity, and trying to understand them better. I’ve never had anybody be offended by that, and I think it’s something that everyone can do to learn more about other people.

  9. Karen says

    Re: 14 year old son’s present. I wonder if you might be able to find a kit to BUILD a model steam engine cheaper than an actual model steam engine? Just a thought… Even if the price is roughly the same, the experience and knowledge he would gain from such a project might make the extra expense worthwhile. If you can afford it at this time, that is. :) Merry Christmas from Canada!

  10. Laura Peel says

    Thank you for this ! I struggle with it because I grew up without a lot of stuff and in a violent home. All I ever wanted was for my dad to stop yelling at and hitting my mom. It never occurred to me to ask for material things I wanted. I am 39 now with an amazing husband and kids and I concentrate on giving them the gift of safety, peace, stability, and the knowledge that God loves us all, we love Him, daddy and mommy love each other and the both of them. Anything else is extra and we try to focus on the giving. There is a part of me that wants to give more stuff, due to not having it myself. It’s hard sometime to keep things in perspective in these times.

  11. Carolyn Showalter says

    Hi Jill,
    I am so grateful for this story, I was just feeling so down
    because I spent money that I didn’t have on my girls gifts.
    I wanted them to have something really special from their
    favorite stores since we can’t ever shop in those stores. I figured that at Christmas we should by them what you can’t normally do. All that did was got me in to financial trouble. I bought them clothes at Justice, Abercrombie, and Aeropostale. I wanted them to see brand new clothes with store tags on from stores that they would so much enjoy shopping in. I feel so guilty that I can’t give this to them. My husband told me that what they will remember most is the time spent together and the love. I know that he is right. What really bugs me though is that even with that, they can’t even enjoy going into these stores that are so geared towards their ages (atmosphere). When can they enjoy the very awsome, bright, glittery, fun store atmosphere when there isn’t money. I don’t know how to handle this.

    • Grandma says

      Carolyn, this advice is from my then 6 year old and 3 year old sons.
      One time we were in the city shopping for Christmas and we were trying to be frugal but still get the boys things they would like.
      One of the stores had a huge toy village set up and they wanted to go through it. We had already got most of the things we wanted and all I wanted to do was go sit and have a coke to rest my weary feet. I told the boys that we wouldn’t be buying anything because the money was all spent so why go there and just look.
      Ray said “mom, you look at all the stuff you would like in the kitchen stores because you like to dream of your dream kitchen, so why can’t Dan and I just look and dream like you do?”
      We went in and spent a fantastic hour just looking and dreaming.
      Christmas is the time of hopes and dreams so looking to add to those dreams seems a natural thing to do.
      Next time go to the expensive trendy stores and pick one thing for each daughter, then pick up things from thrift shops or walmart to round out the outfit.
      When I was not so young child, we would go back to school with everyone talking about what they got. We had about the same amount of things to talk about but what I envied most was the things the others said they did at Christmas. On Christmas morning my thoughts as I woke up were Santa came and then I sure hope dad stays in a good mood all day. The first happened the 2nd never did.
      Make the day wonderful with love and laughing and your children will remember that far more than the stuff they got.

    • vickie says

      Carolyn,try shopping at consignment sales, so many of them care all kinds of name brands at a fraction of the cost. When I had my 3rd child we were already struggling to provide for the 2 old kids. I came to find out about consignment sales and shops and from the time she was a newborn and up I’ve shopped them for almost anything I’ve needed. My daughter is now 11yrs has hardly gotten anything “new” from a store unless it was a gift from someone else. Even Christmas presents have been from consignment or thrift stores. She doesn’t see the difference, they are new to her and she is happy to have them. Her and I have been shopping the bi-annual sales that pop up in neighborhoods together all her life and she is excited to go to them with me and pick out things as if it were a box store and is thrilled to find Justice tags, just like her friends have, without even going into a Justice “store”. Having never shopped like this with my older children it was hard for me, (and sometimes still is), and I do sometimes feel guilty but when I look thru her eyes I see that she is no happier if I got from a thrift sale or if I bought it at JC Penny’s, and so it is in my head not hers. As for the fun and store atmosphere, it is the time spent “shopping” together and the fun you make it no matter where you shop. When the semi-annual consignment sales come around in the spring and fall she is so excited to go from sale to sale and see what they have and what she can get. Ck out thebargainwatcher.com for listings of sales and info on consignment sales. Your husband is right, the kids will remember the time and love you give them not the material things they get. These sales carry all kinds of books, toys and so much more too. Good luck and try not to beat yourself up with guilt, know that you are doing the best you can and love, love, love your kids because that is what matters and that is what they will remember. Also remember, you can not “BUY” love so don’t try. :)

    • harriet says

      Carolyn, I grew up not being able to shop in expensive stores with my friends. I didn’t like it at the time, but my parents were honest with me about what we could and couldn’t afford and didn’t apologize about it. We couldn’t afford it, that was that. No “I’m so sorry”, no “I wish I could.” I think the matter of fact approach leaves the emotion out of it.

      And I did grow up in a loving home and remember my childhood fondly. So don’t worry.

      Now I wish I could take my own advice and stop worrying so much about my own kids…. Our problems don’t have to do with money but with depression.

    • Tracy says

      Growing up with a single mom who had a health condition, there was not a lot of money for brand name clothes. I knew not to expect it. When I started pushing to get a name brand item my mom took me into the store I wanted something from and showed me the price I think it was like $50 which back then was like $300 to us. She then explained to me calmly if we shopped elsewhere I could get a lot more items and better quality for the same $50. I said wow the other kids at school are dumb. Even when I got picked on for not having name brand clothes I always thought they were silly. My mom finally was able to get a name brand item at a discout store and I loved it; funny thing first time I wore it to school the kids stopped picking on me now it wasn’t cool anymore all because I had it. Best lesson my mom taught me about being my own person and not caring what others think of me just for what I have and don’t have.

  12. Lorene Terwilliger says

    I remember our daughter wanted “baby alive doll” for a couple of years. When I finally could get it for her, she did what she always did with her new dolls. She ripped the clothes off, threw the doll in the corner and dressed her cat with the “new” clothes, put it in her carriage and commenced to roll the cat in the carriage all through the house. The cat always allowed her to do this which was the biggest surprise. Probably was too scared to jump out. Love your newsletter and enjoy numerous e-books.

  13. Grandma says

    Jill you should have gone out the bush and got him a real live black bear. One from northern Ontario near white river would make him very authentic.
    That is where Pooh Bear actually came from.
    Right next door to me.

  14. Emily says

    I so needed this article. I’m a mom of 2, aged 4 and 2 and we rely on 1 income. Looking back at my childhood, I realize how happy I was with so little. I just needed to be reminded of that. Thanks!!

  15. Joy says

    I came across a fantastic find. There was a Dora the Explorer kitchen sitting outside a home for several weeks. I stopped and asked the lady of the house if she wanted to get rid of it. She had recently redone her daughter’s room and was please to receive a bit of money for it. Now my daughter has the Dora kitchen she wanted and I didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg!! It never hurts to ask the nieghbors.

  16. Sharon says

    I am as frugal as they come and have been for 50 years but sometimes you just need to consider other aspects..My 40 yr. old had a great love for Charles & Dianna and wanted some dolls of them in their wedding attire. It was way, way more than I could spend but she was growing up so fast and would soon be working and able to buy herself what she wanted, and then the magic would not be there, so I set about reworking my Christmas list and sold some sewing and was able to get it for her. That gift is one of her most cherished memories and she never dreamed of getting such an expensive gift from her overly frugal parents.When Strawberry Shortcake dolls were first out I designed a rag doll like her from scraps and they loved her but there was no substitute for Royalty and there was no internet then to locate one.

  17. grizzly bear mom says

    This just show how your love for David in finding him a “Pooh:, and his for his teacher, saw past lables of “official Pooh-dom” and race. A lovely, heart touching story. Thank you for sharing this Christmas season.

  18. Bev says

    So agreed. One of the favorite gifts my kids ever received was a story I wrote for each one wherein they were the main character. It was typed, laminated, had a few pics from magazines and a couple of stickers. I read those stories hundreds of times, they still have them. Cost? Zero. Value? Priceless.

  19. Jane says

    …I love you gals (Jill & Tawra)!!
    You’re both wonderful at keeping us all in reality!!
    God bless and Merry Christmas!!
    Thanks for all you do!!

  20. Dawn S. says

    Our oldest of 9 taught us a lot on this subject. I scrimped and saved for a My Buddy doll when he was little. He opened it, threw the toy, then proceeded to play with the box. Foolish me.
    When he grew up and got his own apartment, he said his favorite things to do that first year was to buy little luxuries that we couldn’t afford when he was little. He loved paper plates, cold cereal, and the ‘good’ toilet paper. Unlike most young men, he did not go blow all his income on a tricked out vehicle or some such thing. The little things in life tickled him. We made his adulthood fun by not overwhelming him with Stuff as a child. He has thanked us often for this and has told us that this was how he was going to do it for his own kids.

  21. rose says

    sharon.. its funny u mention strawberry shortcake .. bc i remember when my daughter was crazy about her too .. i certainly couldnt afford to buy her the doll but our local (what we call dollar store now) frugal store where everything was under $2 sold these little rag dolls that looked like raggedy ann but they didnt have the red hair .. these dolls had pink, green, yellow, blue, and purple dolls .. and i can still remember them being so cheap too .. so.. i got the whole set .. my duaghter loved those dolls .. they were tiny too .. but really cute ..

  22. rose says

    and its funny too sharon u mentioned u made a rag doll too ..
    there is this little girl who lives across the street (she’s so cute and such a sweety too) .. well, her dad helps us around the house (he’s the neighborhood handyman) ..
    well, a couple of years ago, i went to a yard sale and i bought this huge doll that looked just like this little girl (same size too .. we have been here about 7+ yrs and i am not the only one that has said she just starting to grow.. hehehee ) ..
    the doll is made out of pantyhose but her face is really hard .. and she’s huge too .. and her face is painted one .. really pretty too .. and big hair (bright yellow yarn) ..
    i was going to give it to her but when i found out she loved winnie the pooh and didnt care of dolls, and since i bought 3 of the pooh’s in differnet outfits at the yard sale, i gave them to her instead and i kept the doll .. hoping to make others like her to resemble my nieces ..
    i am just sharing this bc i think its wonderful that even tho a person cant afford to buy a certain doll there are ways to come up with a doll that would resemble the first one and if its homemade, then it usually is made with love ..
    same thing with a friend of our family .. she has passed away a very long time ago .. her hands were so bad from arthritis that she really couldnt do or hold anyhing but every year for xmas she had made a way to make afghans to give as gifts .. and they were so pretty too .. she would start in jan and she always made extra bc if there was something special going on during the yr then she would already have gifts made ..
    just sharing ;D

  23. rose says

    grandma.. funny how u mention cat fish .. i am in florida .. and i thought we only had cat fish in this area (fresh) and all other places had frozen that was sent to the different states .. heehee .. and .. bc i am from nj i never heard of catfish until i moved to florida ..
    if u have never had it, fresh is the best .. i buy it all the time .. it has a nice flavor to it (not overbearing like some fish) .. and well, i have made seafood stew with the meatpart of the fish ..

    • Grandma says

      Rose we have cat fish in Northern Ontario as well. I think it is everywhere.
      In Sudbury and area the french call it barbit. My husband doesn’t even call it and if it gets on his line he loses the lure. He can’t stand to touch them.
      I have eaten cat fish once at that was enough. It was at a buffet in Kansas so I will be kind and say it must have sat on the heat lamps too long.
      I like lake trout, pike, bass and just about any fish you can name but cat fish is not one of them.
      My mother goes to Bradenton Beach in Florida. She and dad bought a trailer in some snow bird community and even after my dad died she still goes down. She made so many friends who are her age and if she stayed in Canada at her house she is 30 miles from anywhere and would be by herself through the snows of winter. I am glad she keeps going. Just hate it when she tells of the fish she gets and how cold she is at the high 70. she said old folks and floridians like the heat.

  24. rose says

    hehehe .. dawn .. my daughter buys the “good” toilet paper .. i always did and still do buy the cheapest brand .. i never noticed the difference .. but that is one of the ‘luxuries’ she buys as an adult on her own ..
    funny thing about kids .. my son when he was little loved to play in those huge cardboard boxes . forget the toys or whatever came in it .. his imagination was wild with ideas .. and well .. one yr he had a box for a car, an airplane and a boat .. hehehe .. he must have been about 3 or 4 at the time .. :D
    kids! .. and yes to this day he still remembers his boxes .. :D ..

  25. Grandma says

    Those fridge and stove boxes were so much fun.
    Anything from a play house with a real door to a bus for all the neighbourhood kids to ride to play school in.
    In winter they made great sleds for the whole gang.

  26. Jodee says

    Loved the skin color comments… my family has everything from my pale-skinned red-haired youngest to my African-American father-in-law to my American Indian father (he hates the term Native American) and everything in between. When my kids were little I explained that there are no white people or black people, we are all the same color: brown. I proved it by holding my light-skinned arm against a sheet of white paper, which made it look distinctly pale brown. I held my f-i-l’s arm against a sheet of black paper, which made it look like a beautiful chocolatey brown, but definitely not black. We are light brown, medium brown, dark brown, but we are all BROWN. To this day, they insist that we are all brown and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. I wish everyone could see it that way!!

  27. Gayla T says

    You are so right on this issue. I was blessed with my own kids but the money was not as available when my older grands were small. Amy who is now 24, saw a doll in the JC Panny’s catalog that was in a basket with a complete layette. Even in the early 1990′s it was over a hundred dollars. She wore out that page of the catalog looking at “her baby”. Luckily, I’d seen that type of a basket at a local store so I bought a resonably priced doll, made it a layette, bought a little feeding set and for way less than half the price she had her baby. She was thrilled and thought I was the sweetest Granny in the world for getting it for her. Now, this younger round of grands like the American Girl dolls and I’ve been making clothes and furniture for the knockoffs and they are so happy. Their other granmother took them to the American Girl store and they took their dolls along but couldn’t get their hair made over because they weren’t real American Girl dolls. The nine year old was so surprised and asked me if I knew that her Molly was not the real Molly. She just couldn’t believe it but still loves her Molly. Times may change but children do not and I suppose Grannies have always been making do for their beloved grandchildren.

  28. Carolyn Showalter says

    To Grandma, Vickie, and Harriet,

    I can’t thank you enough for your loving and supportive
    feedback. I appreciate it so much and am very touched by
    what you all had to offer. I do feel much better about it
    now. Thank you again!

  29. rose says

    grandma .. yes floridians do like the heat (i think most do) .. i prefer the cooler weather ..
    bradenton is a nice area .. thats nice ur mom comes down every winter .. we do have alot of senior communities .. some are nicer than others tho ..
    hubby is 56 and is eligible for us to move into one of those places but he doesnt want to .. me? i would like to .. they seem nice enuff ..
    i like all sorts of fish too .. my fav is shrimp tho . i love love love shrimp ..
    and its true, if the catfish is cooked tooooo long or if its frozen and not fresh then yes it does have an odd taste to it .. sorta rubbery like .. thats just my opinion .. if u ever come down to visit ur mom and u would like a good piece of the catfish that is fresh .. go to publix supermarket ..they have the best .. i like their salmon too .. and they are super clean too ..

    • Grandma says

      Rose, check out the fine print of those retirement villages. The one mom and dad bought closes for the summer. Everyone goes home and a security guard stays at the bridge to keep people out.
      That may be because it is mainly snow birds and since Idon’t know the rules of the other retirement homes I couldn’t say, but check this out before you fall in love with one. You might have a surprise when you ask.
      I am one who can’t take the heat. I guess that is why I live and love northern Ont.
      Last week we were -30 C add in the wind and it was much colder. Today so far it is only -13C but it is expected to get colder.
      Don always checks the thermometer when he gets up to see how cold it is. I laugh and say why spoil your day before it starts. He hates cold but that is more because he has had frost bite years ago and killed some of the nerves so he hurts in his hands and his ears in the bitter cold.
      Give me cold or at least cool and I love it.
      Heat brings out the bugs that bite. No seeums and black flies are bad but I really hate mosquitoes. Do they have to announce that they are coming for dinner and I am the buffet table?

  30. jani says

    I just finished reading The Help last night and I love that children are so innocent and unaffected by the things that cause adults to behave so ridiculously. Thanks for the Pooh Bear story!

  31. Rachel says

    How amazing it is that our children are so very wise! It is so very true that “A little child will lead.” Thanks for sharing!

  32. joan says

    Thanks for the article. As a mother of teens, I look back and think its silly to have worried over some of the things I did when they were little. Now, I worry about the teen things so much. Perhaps I will look back and wonder why I worried about the teen things. Guess it’s time to give them over to God and put my trust in Him for how they’ll turn out!

  33. Kristi says

    Yet another post I am so happy to have clicked on. Love your webstie, by the way! Been stressing over this issuse with my 3 year old. Whenever I ask him what he wants for Christmas he says, “one that scoops and snaps and moves.” Can you guess what it is? He wants a remote control front-loader or backhoe or excavator or something like that. We drive past a construction site every morning and often get stopped for the light and he gets a perfect glimpse of the real deal at work. Anyway, I’ve been kind of stressing over finding one. We really don’t get the kids much for Christmas (their grandparents take care of that) and this year it was mostly clothes. I’ve seen them in stores but the Christmas budget has been spent and I’ve been worried that he will be tremendously disappointed when he doesn’t see a toy that “scoops and snaps and moves” under the tree and wondering how I can turn it into a teachable moment. Any suggestions? After reading this post I wonder if he’ll even notice he didn’t get the one toy he repeadedly asked for!

    • says

      Kristi at 3 he probably won’t remember, understand or think about it much once he sees his other presents so I wouldn’t worry about it or really try to make a teaching moment out of it. The thing is with the teaching moment is you will probably be making a bigger deal out of it then he really needs or understands. Some things are of real concerns and worries by parents (which is understandable) but most of the time the kids won’t make a big deal out of it if the parents have no reaction and don’t make a big deal out of it. The old saying monkey see monkey do is very true. By making a teaching moment out of it you will be drawing it to his attention and making it seem like it is more important then it should be. Hope this helps.
      Jill

    • Grandma says

      If you can find a dump truck or a bull dozer that is not remote controlled he will be just as happy.
      You can find the cranes and scoop things that the child has to move on his own.
      What he really wants is a piece of equipment that he can take out and play with.
      I sold wooden toys that I made at craft fairs and when the boys and girls asked where the batteries went in I always told them they had special powers and only ran on imagination. They all asked their parents for a toy truck that ran on imagination.
      Children do not need things that chatter at them and move only in the programed actions.
      They do need to be able to create ideas and plans so toys that run on imagination are wonderful.
      Telling a small child that is the special thing about a toy adds to the imagination and with imagination the sky is the limit.
      Stop stressing he is 3 years old and will love anything he gets as long as it has wheels.
      Trust an old grandma on this one. Please.
      Merry Christmas.

    • Kristi says

      Thank you Grandma and Jill! Your advice was right on. He did mention that he didn’t get “one that scoops and moves” so I just said, “maybe you’ll get it for your birthday,” (which is in May) then asked him about some of his other toys and books that he did get. His dad got him one toy in particular that he is just gaga over and he hasn’t asked about the remote control vehicle since. Thanks again for taking the time to reply! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year :-)

  34. Maggie says

    When my son was born, he was given a Fisher Price doll that he called Baby. Baby was really loved but getting pretty worn. The eyes wore off and the fabric was so thin, you could see the stuffing. The first year, my mom fixed the eyes and I told him Mrs. Claus mended her. I search high and low the next year for another, to no avail. I finally saw a nearly new one at the doctor’s office and asked the nurse if I replaced it with another toy, would she give me that one. No problem. So his 3rd Christmas, we left the old Baby next to the tree and I told him that Santa would fix it and it would be like new. I replaced old Baby with new and he was never the wiser. He told all of us over and over that it was magic and Mrs. Claus fixed his Baby. I have old baby upstairs in a box. He is 30 now and I have never told him the story. Maybe next Christmas.

  35. Maggie says

    Oh yes, one clarification. Baby stayed in his room after a while and he became infatuated with a stuffed dog he called Wrinkles. My husband was glad but I didn’t care about the doll. All my son knew was that she was his best friend. Doll was not even in his vocabulary.

  36. says

    I keep most of the emails until I find time to read them. This one is old but what I did enjoy was your son knowing someone’s name as opposed to the color of the skin and I am sure that the teacher was a pleasing brown. I was always taught that knowing a persons’ name when talking about them, to my Mom was most important. That is really how we get to know someone is by getting their name first then the rest usually follows. Not the skin color than the name. Thanks

  37. Carla says

    Circumstances change and can do this in a few short weeks. Your children will understand that when you had a large income you could give them certain material things. Now that things have changed and you no longer have the money that you once had because people were not building large homes any longer, and Dad’s business went bankrupt, they will understand. They will find that there are others in their classes who may be going through the same situation. They will adjust, and realize that these happenings, such as a stock market crash, or a Dad losing his, once lucrative, business, is no one’s fault. It happened. God did not “give you these challenges to make you stronger.” God had nothing to do with it. The stock market tanked and your husband lost his business through no fault of yours or “God’s.” It happened to you and it happened to many other people, too. God is not a little old man with white hair and a white beard who sits around and says, “Gee, I will give illness or hardship to Mr. and Mrs. Jones to make them stronger.” God is spirit, and that spirit is within each of us to sustain us in good times and bad.

  38. maggie says

    For trucks, try finding a metal Tonka truck at at yard sale. I still have my son’s 2 Tonka trucks and will not get rid of them. They are only made of plastic now but the metal ones are long-lasting. My grandchildren love playing in the dirt with them and a quick rinse with the hose keeps them clean.
    When my daughter was about 4 she wanted a house that she could play in. They were way too expensive for our budget but I found a cardboard one at Lillian Vernon’s mail order catalog for $12. That year, even $12 was pricey for us but we splurged and bought it. She loved the house. First, it was in the living room, then relocated to her bedroom for about 3 years. When our son was born and walking, we moved it to his room. They both played with that house for nearly 8 years. Finally, we gave it to the elementary school and they used it for a play and then in the kindergarten for another 2 – 3 years. A good use of our $12. I haven’t seen any like it since and think God sent us that house. Some of the houses now can be colored by the child but they are much more expensive than our $12 one. My daughter only wanted a house. It didn’t have to be the one she saw on TV. As someone said previously, even the large TV or fridge boxes make great houses and playplaces for kids. Use your imagination and help your kids learn to use theirs.

    • Sheri says

      My 32 year old boys sometimes come home and raid the trucks and toys for THEIR sons. They also raid the duplos. They get to relive their childhood and share with their boys. Nice to see things stay in circulation! But they do have to wait until their youngest brother is done with these things! Little brother is ten.

  39. says

    I love this post. I was just thinking the other day that one of my favorite childhood Christmas gifts was from my aunt who didn’t have much money (my uncle had died, which left her to raise her two sons alone). She often made my sister and me each a gift, and I still remember the cute piggy bank she made me, from a Clorox bottle decorated with pink and white pieces of felt.

  40. Mary says

    Four years ago my then 5 year old granddaughter and 11 year old niece both ask for an American Girl Doll for Christmas or their birthday. These dolls nice as they are cost way to much at $125 new. Well my niece got her doll new for her birthday and has hardly played with it. My granddaughter got hers gently used off of Craig’s List for $75 with a large bag full of clothes, books and accessories. This doll has gone everywhere with her including to church, doctors office, the hospital and on vacation. She found a similar doll for $.69 at Salvation Army and now has two that she carries everywhere. She has gotten so much joy out of the used dolls that her cousin has never gotten out of her new one that she keeps in the box when she isn’t playing with it.
    The thing is that the toy would have brought the same joy used as new if they are taught from the very begging that it’s the thought that counts and that the money spent on new will not make it any better than a used one. I’ve seen to many children who think they have to have everything brand new and if it isn’t they don’t want it. I’m so thankful to see all the comments and for post like this one that lets me know there are still parents, grandparents and other adults who are teaching their children how to save, be fugal, and still have things that bring joy to their lives without breaking the families budget.
    Please keep sharing with us, and for anyone who is new to Jill and Tawra’s post I’d like to recommend you get Jill’s book “Penny Pinchin’ Mama” and the book they co-wrote “Dig Out Of Debt” both share a place on my night stand along with my Bible. I’ve learned so much from them and I go back over them to remind myself of what to do or not do.

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