At what age….

I was over at Mom Logic reading one day and was thinking back to when my kids were younger and they still liked to make things for people. Bookmarks or play-dough pots or pop-cycle stick picture frames and I remember how much fun they had doing that.

As they got a little older they liked to go to the dime store and pick out cute things for the grandparents, Paul and I and for each other. The middle school they went to had a Christmas Village thing that the PTO did where they could buy cute small gifts for mom and dad and siblings. They loved that too. Then I remember when I did it for my uncles and grandparents at the farm and I had so much fun doing that.

Just like at Mom Logic, the items we picked out were very simple but very meaningful. Combs, pocket mirrors, after shave in the shape of a boot, purse items like those fold up rain hats. Anyone remember those? Everyone I gave my gifts to just raved over them. I paid for my kids gifts until they wanted to do it on their own but I don’t remember when that was or how it worked. Both my boys did odd jobs for money at a very early age. They had 2 uncles very close by who they did odd jobs for so I’m guessing by 10 or so, they were doing their gift buying on their own.

A few weeks ago I had all 3 of my grandkids with me shopping and I let them do the same. Pick out gifts for mom and dad and they had so much fun doing that and it made me wonder who still does this? Those kids were so excited and they felt so proud and the story at Mom Logic made me wonder who still let their kids pick out stuff for grandma and grandpa or that favorite aunt or teacher. It’s not the same when mom picks out the gifts. It feels good for them do do it on their own but I know sometimes that’s hard to do.

I thought of something else. At what age do you think parents stop putting their kids names on the Christmas or holiday cards they send. I know Paul has an aunt who’s near 90 and she still puts her single son’s name on the Christmas cards and each year we all laugh about it. Do you feel the card comes from the house or the people? I guess I put my boys names on the cards until they didn’t live here anymore but both of them had their own homes in their early 20’s so I don’t know what people do now.

One more question. Do you draw names in your family? Extended or otherwise? How do you work that? Does everyone buy for the kids until a certain age? The Erickson’s all drew names when they turned 18 but everyone bought for the kids. I personally like buying for everyone and I really tried to fight the name drawing. I understand it’s easier but I enjoyed it. In my own family there was only my brother and I and our kids so it didn’t make sense to draw names as we would have still been buying the same amount but Paul had 4 other siblings so I know it got harder as they all grew up and had kids.

How does your family do these things?

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22 Responses to At what age….

  1. SKL says:

    My kids aren’t quite ready yet to buy their own Christmas gifts. I do order some crafts each year and have them make them. They may not be museum-quality, but nobody can say they aren’t personal. Usually the gifts “from” the girls include some simple craft, a photo in an ornament frame for adults, and for their young cousins and classmates, stocking stuffers and candies in a bag/box decorated and filled by the girls. Maybe they will start buying things out of their own money in a year or two.

    When I was a kid, I started buying gifts (or craft supplies to make gifts) for everyone out of my allowance / earnings when I was under 10. However, none of my siblings bothered to get everyone something. Some of my adult siblings still don’t bother, always finding themselves too poor at Christmas time. To each his own. I happen to really enjoy the gift giving.

    I like the idea that everyone should get the kids they see at least one small gift. Even if it’s from the dollar store, they should come up with something for the little kids. I could see stopping that in the tweens or teens if you really don’t feel that much of a connection. I remember my mom stopped mailing gifts to my cousin when she got to a certain age (maybe 14), because she never bothered to acknowledge the gifts. Up to a certain age, you don’t expect much, but at some point, a thank you card or phone call or something would be nice.

    We don’t draw names in our family. However, some people don’t buy for “everyone.” Some buy (or make) one thing for a whole family. Some buy for the kids and skip the adults. Some, like me, buy for everyone. It seems to work out in our family.

    As far as Christmas cards go – I remember wanting my parents to include me on thiers because I didn’t feel like an independent “household” until I had been out of their house for a while. I was probably wrong to think this way. I think if you’re married and/or living in your own house, you don’t get included on someone else’s cards. In the dorm or military or such like? You could probably squeak by for a while. In the case where the child remains living with the parent, generally I think they also need to start sending their own cards at some point in their 20s. However, I have a cousin, older than me, who lives with his mom because he’s got developmental issues. He’s really not like an independent adult in any sense of the word, so nobody feels funny seeing his name on his mom’s card – at least I don’t think so. He probably “could” send his own cards, I don’t know, but this seems to be what works for them, and who am I to judge? Come to think of it, I don’t send him a separate card from his mom, either.

    I went for some years not sending Christmas cards, but once I had a permanent address and started getting a lot of them, I felt how nice they were to receive, and started sending them.

  2. SKL says:

    I just posted a comment that seems to be lost . . .

  3. SKL says:

    Although I haven’t involved my kids in choosing the purchased Christmas gifts this year, they were cute about their cousin’s 1st birthday. I was in the grocery store, in the section with kiddy personal items (lotions, etc.), and I said, “hmm, girls, maybe we should pick up something for Andrea’s birthday here.” The girls wandered away and a couple minutes later, they returned with a pack of baby juice boxes and a box of baby snacks. “These would be good for Andrea’s birthday,” they said. So I bought them. Later at the bookstore, Miss E wandered off to the greeting cards and came back with a very pretty birthday card for Andrea. (Do you think it was a coincidence that the envelope is purple? So were the drink boxes.) Then another day Miss E declared, “Clothes! That’s what we should get for Andrea’s birthday.” Me: “We already gave her all of you girls’ baby clothes. That’s the last thing she needs from us. You’re just being silly.” Her: “No, I’m not being silly. I thinked and thinked until I got the idea.” LOL. But no, we won’t be buying clothes.

  4. Ellen says:

    I love SKL story, what a sweet girl is Miss E.

    I went with my sons to buy for their dad, each other and me, but I did not had the impression they liked it so much. In my Dutch family, you give a Christmas present to your godchildren.In my American family, we give all cousins a gift certificate. I think it should stop at one point, but that is my opinion.

    Regarding your question of putting the names of your children on Christmas cards. I’d put them till they left the house.

  5. Laura says:

    I think I started sending out my own cards around 16-ish, but they were mostly to my friends, so I think my mom kept me on their cards until I got into college. Definitely, I got the boot when I got married. That’s where, generally, I’d cut it off. If you’ve moved out, you don’t get to be on the card.

    As for kids buying gifts… our town’s community center has a “Santa’s Workshop” kids store each year. All of the gifts are donated by local crafters, and the requirement for them is that no gift may be priced at over $5. When you get there, the first step is to help the child write out Gift Tags. Then volunteers (mostly middle- and high-school kids) take your kid and lead him through the store, helping him choose gifts for each person on his list (gift tags). Finally, they take them to the wrapping tables, where each gift is wrapped and the tag attached. We do this with Josh every year, and Steve and I separately take him through the Workshop. I help him buy for Steve and my folks; Steve helps him buy for me and Steve’s folks. It’s really a lot of fun, and many of the gifts are appropriate – there are jewelry makers (very cute and tasteful earrings), soap & candle makers, knitters, quilters, woodworkers. I suspect that many of them price their stuff cheaper than normal, because they really like the program, and for that I’m thankful, because Josh always manages to find some really nice things, and it’s gentle on my wallet!

  6. Laura says:

    Hey! Where’d all SKL’s posts go??? They were here a minute ago! And how’d my post, on the 7th, get bumped in front of hers from the 6th?

    I suspect poltergeist…

    • Laura says:

      ah HAH. Found them. Get this: after I read them this morning, and saw how Joy was leaving them up, they disappeared into the trash bin!!! I’ve gone in there and restored them.

    • Joy says:

      I’m not really sure what’s going on with WordPress anymore. Have you checked the spam folder during the day? There are 13-17 spams in there every few hours! I’ve tried blocking some of the address’s but they come back and must be using a different ISP. Pisses me right off.

  7. Nikki says:

    SKL~you make me laugh!

    Funny you wrote a post about this. Saturday our middle school put on the same thing you mentioned. Not sure what they called it. They have stuff from $.30-$4. I had planned on taking him, and asked Bailey if that was something he would want to do. He said he had already gotten us both a gift. Now I know how! 🙂 I still wanted to take him to get gifts for others, but he ended up having a friend come out and that was the last thing he wanted to do.

    The idea is wonderful. I never went to any of our schools to do that. I do remember one year, my mom gave my brother and I $10 to get her a gift. She sat at the front of the store and waited for. It was a small discount store, and I looked forever for the perfect gift. I found a vase, and I remember exactly how it looked. I don’t think she has it anymore though.

    As for Christmas cards, I think once they leave the house their names shouldn’t go on the card anymore. Or maybe simply putting The Erickson’s would be fine. Or maybe I would put Jason and Nicole and family. If they are grown adults still living at home, I wouldn’t write their name on it. But that’s just me.

  8. Jenny says:

    I like the idea of the kids picking out little things on there own. It just means a whole lot more to them to pick something out for a family member. I remember making things out of popsicle sticks and giving them to the grandparents. Hunter likes to color/paint and give to people.

    Christmas cards, I agree once they leave the house I think they should be left out of the card. Or like Nikki said just write “The Ericksons” not everyone’s names.

    We don’t draw names in my family. We buy for mom, Sean, sister & Bro-in-law, Hunter, & Grandma. Jason and I don’t exchange gifts anymore. Which is nice!!! Takes the pressure off of wondering what to get. Hunter’s b-day is 12 days after Christmas. So we usually buy gifts and split them up between the 2. I think this yr. we’re just gonna do gifts from Santa and leave the rest for his b-day.

  9. Jenny says:

    ok I posted….LOL Must be in the Spam!!! 😀

  10. SKL says:

    I agree that those Santa Shops are wonderful. I am too old to have had that experience, but my younger brother went to one when we moved to a rural community, and he got nice gifts for everyone, for very little money. I was quite impressed. What a great idea, and getting the crafty folks and young volunteers involved makes it that much better.

  11. Sue says:

    We have Santa Day in town and our 4-H group makes gifts and sells them for not more than $5 so the kids can get stuff for their family/friends. It works out great 🙂 We don’t draw names either and I’m very glad. We did a couple of times when I was little, but not regularly. I remember making stuff for people, but we didn’t get an allowance so that was the only option!

  12. Laura says:

    Wait. I just noticed, the blog isn’t snowing anymore!!

    My cousin just suggested that we do a “pass around” kinda thing at our family Christmas Party this year, where you buy a “gender specific” gift, and then there’s some sort of game where everyone ends up with a gift. The women seem to be ok with it, the men, not so much. This does not surprise me.

    • Joy says:

      I turned the snow off over the weekend. I noticed on both Paul’s computer and mine that there was a bar just above the toolbar on the bottom of the screen kept blinking like it was waiting for something and it was driving me crazy and if you were typing, the faster you were typing, the faster it blinked and flashed. There are 2 other people who’s blogs I go to that have it and it happened there too so that’s how I figured it out. I’m sorry but it was driving me nuts since I usually leave our blog on the computer all the time. Try it and see if it does it on your computer. To make it snow go to “extra’s” in the dashboard. That kind of thing really bothers me.

      We play a game like that too and it’s fun if there otherwise wouldn’t be gifts. Everyone brings a gift (you set a monetary value) and then we draw numbers depending on how many people are there. #1 takes a gift. If #2 likes that gift you can steal that and #1 takes another gift. A gift can only be stolen three times and then it’s the person’s who has it. After the gifts are all gone the ending depends on who’s playing it. I’ve seen it played a number of ways. The first time I learned the game you played from #1 and so on for 15 minutes. I wouldn’t want this to be the only gifts but it’s fun if you’re having a gathering and not exchanging gifts and it’s a good way to pass the time. We play this when my extended family comes.

  13. Phyllis says:

    I always loved the gifts our kids picked up at Santa’s Workshop for Christmas. For birthdays and other special days I always took my granddaughters shopping for their Mom so they could pick out their own gifts for her. They really got a big kick out of that, and then they wrapped the gifts themselves. We also did special crafts for Christmas as well. As far as gift giving goes, my brothers and I don’t exchange gifts, but always bought for the children and our Mom. Cut off age is usually 18 yrs. But I still buy for my daughter, and grandkids (as well as the husbands), and the two greats.

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