Sunday, June 29, 2014

What's In The Box?

Lorelei had her third birthday party last month and invited all of her preschool friends along to celebrate. With so many kids coming it was inevitable that she was showered in gifts, and I was pleased to see most families buy gifts in moderation these days. When Madeleine turned 3 and we invited preschool kids along (10 years ago!) she received gifts that must have cost $50+. Since I can't reciprocate that kind of generosity, it's a relief to find out that the parents we invited this year seemed to be on the same page as us budget wise. That said, it wouldn't phase me if someone came without a gift, we wanted their company not their presents.

When our kids receive gifts we actually go through a vetting process every time, whether it be Christmas or birthdays.

Clothes that fit are put straight into draws with bigger sizes being stored away.

Duplicates are put aside unless there is a logical reason to have x2. Lego would be an example of something where a duplicate would be useful. Duplicates are usually exchanged for something for the birthday kid, and occasionally regifted if they can't be exchanged. I don't even feel a little bit concerned about doing this, even though I've had funny looks from people I've mentioned it to before. If I gave you a present you already have, I would much rather you exchange it for something you could use instead of letting it go to waste. The families who gave my child the gift wanted them to get pleasure out of it, which they will, and they will also get pleasure out of the exchange item. Mission accomplished.

Non approved toys are quietly put aside and 'disappear'. Most people in our lives will know there are one or two toys we are not OK with so this doesn't often happen. Bratz dolls is one, gun toys are another. I don't preach about this, I know many families have no problems with those toys and their kids will grow up to be terrific adults, but I don't like them.

A small but fun selection is given to the recipient to enjoy immediately. On a party year my kids might receive 20 gifts, and will enjoy about 4-5 toys after the above culling process. 4-5 new toys in one hit just about blows my kids minds.

The remainder is put in a box. A goodie box. And every now and then I the goodie box down and my child picks something new. Right now Lolly is the only one with a goodie box, 13 year old Maddy has long outgrown them, and 1 year old Seb hasn't had a big party yet. Eventually both of the little ones will have a goodie box.

I find this keeps toys from being abandoned too quickly and also helps my young kids from being overwhelmed by too much choice. There's also so much excitement when a rainy day produces another goodie! We found years ago that if Maddy had too many toys available to her at once, some of them would end up being completely ignored, and others would end up as a huge mess of parts all scattered together. This way everything comes into our home slowly and get enjoyed along the journey.

Our Goodie box is the unicorn box from the 3 Sprouts range. I love it, my only irritation is that it is too big to fit on a shelf so it has to go right up the top. Probably a good thing since Lolly and Seb would probably raid it if they could reach it.


  1. I totally agree about re-gifting. It's a pragmatic thing to do and no one should take it to heart. I'm forever worried I'm going to buy something that a child's already going to have so if I know the parent will exchange it - go for it, I say!

  2. I have both of my girls birthdays coming up and I am concerned about them getting lots of 'stuff' but this goodie box idea could just save me. Brilliant.


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