Saturday, June 18, 2011

Keeps on Giving

Lately I’m spending a little more time than usual in the big box stores trying to figure my way around the packed aisles of “necessities.”  Since I err on the side of less, I'm bewildered.  And, my book club's recent selection of “Slow Death By Rubber Duck” hasn’t made this any easier….

Does any other store have this courtesy?
I've discovered there are two reasons I dislike shopping for children’s toys and accessories, especially when it comes to giving gifts.  First, plastic.  Sure it’s a cute tea/tools/whatever set, but how long will the set actually keep a child’s interest?  And, is it worth x number of years stewing in a landfill until it eventually decomposes?  Secondly, shipping costs.  In my experience the trip to the USPS almost doubles the cost of a present.

To combat waste, I recently came up with a new semi-homemade present: puzzles.  

Take one: trains.
I found precut cardboard puzzles in my favorite Baltimore art store.  Because of the economical price (and the minimal shipping costs), I bought two for each child.  On one puzzle I drew picture or left a silhouette for the child to color.  The second puzzle was sent blank. 

Take two: sea life.
My hope is each child will see the potential of the second blank puzzle and cover it with scribbles or doodles.  This way the present will get some extra mileage: artistic expression by drawing on the puzzle then cognitive and fine motor challenges by reassembling the puzzle.

Does your gift giving include children?  What do you purchase or make?  Or, does your family celebrate birthdays in a less material oriented way?


  1. I like to give kids experiences, like tickets to the Please Touch Museum or the Zoo. I figure most kids have enough toys already. :)

  2. Target has expectant mothers parking.

    It's tough to keep the toys you want in your house and keep OUT the toys you don't want, especially when people insist on getting your kids toys of which you don't really approve, and you're trying hard not to be rude. I usually let my kids pick out items for other kids, but before they were of age, I tried to pick something as useful and creativity inducing as possible (blocks, music, instruments, clothing, bath toys, etc.)

  3. @ Chrissy: Tickets are a great idea. And they'd fit nicely inside a card.

    @ Missy: Our Target boasts no such courtesy....