Pleasure lies in giving..

.. for sure.. but giving what? That is the problem.. One of the most difficult things for me these days is selecting birthday presents for kids..

Not that there are no options, but most of the stuff seem so useless! Especially when I see daughter playing with the stuff, I can’t help feeling sad that people spend so much on presents which do not even get used the way they were meant to.. More often than not, children lose interest in toys, at least lose interest in the way they were meant to be used.. Daughter uses bits and pieces of toys in lots of imaginative ways – but then for that, she would not have needed those specific toys, if you know what I mean..

So every time I am in the shops trying to figure out what to buy, my mind blanks out.. Shelves full of pink/purple coloured toys indicating that those are the ones for girls, blue/black/yellow for boys.. But most of them quite inane.. Of course, there are some good games, and some things which do make sense.. but when it comes to choosing for others, it gets tough at times.. I love gifting books, but even that gets difficult when not all children(and their parents, for that matter) are interested in them.. Β Sometimes you don’t know the child well enough. I mean, you do know the family, but the child itself, not so much.. Β Some times clothes are an option, but that too is possible only when we are really close to them.. Β And what if the child already has that toy/dress/book(s).. These days when most children’s rooms are full of toys and stuff, it would be difficult not to give something that the child already has.

For school friends, it is easier. Most of the children bring arty/crafty stuff, which makes more sense. At least they get used. The problem when it comes to close friends(school or otherwise) you want to put in more thought for the present. Some people ask the children what they want. I am not too fond of that method, because more often than not, they come up with stuff which has caught their fancy at the moment. At least that is the way it is with daughter. For instance, the other day daughter saw some toy on TV and said that she wanted it. Our response to all ‘toy requests’ are, ‘ why don’t you tell us what you don’t want, for a change’ πŸ™‚ That is the end of it, normally. The next day something else will catch her fancy.. And if someone asks her today, it would just be something that she saw on TV or Β that a friend has. So I’m not so sure if it makes much sense to ask her what she wants.. Then again every child is different, some children may have strong ideas of what present they want… But then, I like presents to be surprises, half the fun is lost if you know what you are getting – this is one concept that husband just does not get πŸ™‚

I love selecting gifts, and love them to be meaningful, for the child to really like the present, but sometimes it just gets tough!

So tell me, how do you go about selecting gifts for children? I have to add here, selecting gifts for children is much, much easier than selecting for men!

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30 thoughts on “Pleasure lies in giving..

  1. Smitha….. aah, as usual an intresting topic.
    Now that V is almost 4, she is definitely more verbal on what she wants to gift, what she would like to get etc. Having said that, the ‘what catches your fancy’ stands very true. More often than not, for school friends, we choose a book/ set of books.

    I pick up books for children who I know like them.. I know some who steer clear of them 😦 But I love books are presents – for all age groups πŸ™‚

    Very recently we went to her friends birthday and V mentioned this friend loved dolls, I let it go, but she repeated it a bit later, so I caved and we went to disney store for a doll. i am glad I listened to V, since now her friend talks about the doll all the time!

    That does make sense! I am just not sure when it is something they really like and when it is just something they fancy – at the moment.
    For closer friends, generally its in the vicinity of books or some age approapriate board game. Both Sumit and I love playing board games with V, so we think its appropriate! Clothes generaly come in the vicinity of ‘Not sure’

    I love giving board games too. I have picked up board games for some of daughters friends.. But sometimes they get duplicated 😦 But then so do other toys 😦

    Like all kids, V got a lot of toys for her birthday last year, and we didnt know what to do with them. Now there is a shelf in the closet which just has all the unused games, which V gets on a big occasion. I didnt want to give her all the toys at once, since she already a lot more out already!

    I keep them away – I give some toys to other children – especially if we have two of the same thing, or if I know that another child would be particularly fond of it. Daughter gets them as treats throughout the year too:) We never let her have all her presents at one go.

  2. i dont agree to that last line .. you can gift me anything you want πŸ™‚ and if you want i can make it helpful too Send you a list .. pick and choose πŸ™‚ easy peasy

    LOL! That would be easier – to get a list πŸ™‚

    on serious thoughts .. Gifts for kids is very difficult I have never been able to do justice what i think is good doesnot make them as excited as I think it should.. So now i do the best thing put some money into the card this way they can buy what they want .. Yeah i can be a lazy idiot that way …

    I don’t do that – because the child would miss out on opening a present and going ‘wow’ πŸ™‚ Poohi gets to open all the wrapping – but not the present itself to play with immediately.

  3. Selecting gifts for boy/men who are not interested in books, is difficult! We don’t have choice in gifts for boys…books are easier to buy but we wouldn’t know what they have already got and what they like. Thank god, that stage is over now, for me!

    I used to present books, most of the time to children. They have got them even now.

    Poohi will have a library by the time she is 18, I am sure! If we parents are book addicts, the children become the same!

    • Yes, Sandhya, it is even more difficult to gift boys who don’t read 😦

      Poohi already has a huge library of her own πŸ™‚ And it is ever growing.

  4. I can’t quiet put my fingers on how the boy has turned out to be so good regarding buying stuffs for himself. He is one of those rare kids who has never ever thrown a tantrum in a toy store or any other store for that matter. πŸ™„ Sometimes, I am so surprised at the way he patiently waits for days and months to get something which he has wished for. And like you, we never let him open up all the birthday gifts he gets at one go…..

    Samy is a darling! He is such a sweetheart!

    I stick to gifting books too like if I know that particular child enjoys reading. But I must say I enjoy shopping for little girls as this is the only time I can select cute dresses; but of course one can gift clothes only when you are pretty close to the family and you know their taste.

    Yes, that is true. Clothes, I am comfortable giving only when we know them well enough..

    The one thing I never ever do is to give gift cards coz like you said it Kills the Joy of presents and err…I have noticed that more often it’s the mom who gets to buy stuffs with those cards 😑
    That is so true! I have never given gift cards – yet.

  5. Oh I can understand your woes! It is such a task to choose the right gifts for children! My first preference is always books, or blocks which help children with their motor skills and applications, etc. Toys or dolls are a real waste, seriously, they have such short attention-value, dont they? Dresses again are so dicey as gifts? I am always so tensed about the right fit for the kids!

    Toys and dolls are a real waste. Poohi has got enough Barbies hidden away. I don’t want her playing with them, and I don’t even feel like gifting them 😦 So I guess they will go to the local charity soon.

    I’m not helping in anyway, am I, Smits! I must have confused you even more now :). The fact is I am as lost as you are when its the b’day season πŸ™‚

    πŸ™‚ I guess it is the same story everywhere πŸ™‚

  6. I go with books. Most of the time. Especially here in Delhi where most kids don’t seem to read, I feel I am doing them a good turn by giving them a nice colourful book πŸ™‚ Other than that, I normally select basic gifts which will last long – things like Lego, wooden blocks (for eg I recently bought one of Ads’ friends the game – Jenga for kids). A third alternative is art supplies, which will definitely get used.

    Yes, these are the gifts that I select most of the time.. Sometimes it gets tough though.

    Spot on about selecting gifts for kids being easier than selecting for men πŸ™‚ Planning to do a post on that? πŸ™‚ It would be super-useful!

    I’m glad you agree πŸ™‚

  7. If I could I would give away books only as gifts but then Hubby reigns!!! He doesn’t allow that 😦

    Husband, on the other hand is not even remotely bothered about gifts – he leaves it entirely to me – which is extremely annoying esp when I am clueless on what to buy πŸ™‚

    But buying a gift is a pain for me be it for kids or adults!!!

    I enjoy it when I know what someone would like.. otherwise it does get to be a pain.

  8. I usually try to find out what the kid likes doing, and then buy something appropriate. In other cases, I buy him/her what I think he/she would like. πŸ™‚
    Recently, someone in the family celebrated the 1st birthday of 2 cute li’l twin girls. I thought they would have loads of toys and gifts, so I thought of getting them identical chaniya cholis from Gujarat. My aunt from Ahmedabad was able to courier them to me on time. Both the children and the parents loved the gift. πŸ™‚ Since they are from South India and have never been up north, they didn’t know such cute dresses were available. And the girls look adorable dressed in them!
    I have a nephew who loves to create stuff from scratch. So for his birthday we got him a Play-doh kit and he was super happy! For another nephew, reading and writing is a joy. So, we got him a scrapbooking kit. For kids who love to read, it gets all the more fun and interesting to shop.
    I try to steer clear of the pink for girls, blue for boys stereotypes, and stick to something fun, eco-friendly and useful.

  9. Eeks! Nw I really hope what I had sent for Poohi last time made sense πŸ˜› I really really spend a lot of time gng thru gifts, for kids esp. – mostly books and CDs. They may repeat, may be used for a few months, but somehow I feel they are the best choices – atleast they can be passed on to others and be as useful, unlike dresses and toys may be πŸ˜› Sometimes, I do gift DIYs too – I hv seen a lot of kids enjoying them, and they can be treasured forever πŸ™‚ Made any sense πŸ™„

    • You know how much, not just her, all of us loved your gifts πŸ™‚ My dad was so so so impressed at how much thought you put into the gifts πŸ™‚ Hugs!!!! I like DIY gifts too. Made loads of sense:)

  10. Smitha its not just about kids… Trust me I can never buy gifts for anyone and that is why generally I get gift selection outsourced… For one friend’s birthday I tell another one to get a gift… πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  11. Oh Smitha, I love choosing gifts and love the fact that most of the time, I get it right!! I am the official gift-giver in the family πŸ˜‰ and find both in-laws and out-laws the ‘perfect present’.

    I am the official gift giver too – because husband can’t be bothered 😦

    Only when I ask the parent what the child wants, and then buy something that has been ‘specified’ do I go wrong! Seriously. I’m a shopaholic, I really am. But yes, I see the logic in what you are saying. For instance, a good friend’s son and my brat have their birthdays in the same month, and we both end up gifting expensive toys that are not even looked at twice!!! (To be fair, I did not choose it myself this time).

    πŸ™‚ I know! It breaks my heart when expensive toys get wasted – and most of the time, that is what happens..
    My suggestion (its free ;-)) would be, think of what would ‘delight’ the child!! Or if you really are stuck with being unable to decide on toys/books, just buy them some nice outfit from a good branded store, and give it along with a gift receipt! Simple πŸ˜‰

    That is an idea – so at the least they can exchange it for something else..

  12. How about one of those paint sets which came with stuff inside? I got one when I was 6 years old. It came with a canvas that had to be filled with paint. The borders of the image were there. I loved it and was so proud after I completed it. It hung on my wall for years.

    That sounds like a lovely gift, Pepper!

    Or how about personalised mugs? Since it is personalised, it makes them unique, so even if they have other mugs, the novelty is not lost. You can put a group pic of theirs with Poohi in the centre and have that as the image on the mug.

    This is a great idea, but for a five/four year old, it might be a tiny bit boring, you know.. Atleast the ones I know 😦 But it is a great idea for an older child.

    Or little saplings that they can plant and water everyday? It will teach them a lot of things.

    I would love to give this – may be in the summers – winters here – a lot of plants die.

    Or puzzles and jigsaws that will stimulate their brain and also enhance knowledge? Like, a jigsaw made of the globe, showing all countries, or something to that effect.

    These are great. I even give globes – the proper ones, not the ones with animals and stuff – I find that a big fat waste.

    There is always the risk of duplication, but its a chance you got to take, no matter what you buy πŸ™‚

    That is true πŸ™‚

    If I think of other stuff, I’ll come back.

    Those were loads of great ideas, Pepper πŸ™‚ Thank you πŸ™‚

  13. I so agree Smitha….I go crazy thinking of gifts for children..and infact for adults

    honestly everyone has everything..no seriously..its so difficult to think of giving something useful and appropriate
    I loved Pepper’s idea..but honestly pepper, in Mumbai, I dont know how many parents will appreciate a saplling and stuff…

    I like the idea of saplings too – but probably in summer.

    Puzzles are like books..some play some dont 😦

    Puzzles are a bit more universal than books, I think..

    Personalized mugs would work only for kids you are close too na..otherwise, just their names perhaps..okie that makes sense πŸ™‚

    For some kids, it might be a bit boring – it will work for older children though.

  14. I agree to this I like presents to be surprises, half the fun is lost if you know what you are getting and of course thisselecting gifts for children is much, much easier than selecting for men!

    πŸ™‚ You agree πŸ™‚ There are hardly any thing interesting you can buy men! Argh!

    ha! selecting gifts so far has been easy peasy cause there have been not many moments when I had to buy gifts for children…usually I go for books,craft pack,boar game sets..the usual!

    These days, we have one party every weekend (at the very least), so it is getting more and more painful 😦

  15. “hese days when most children’s rooms are full of toys and stuff, it would be difficult not to give something that the child already has.” This is the truth nowadays!! it has become so hard buying a gift for other kids now. And so many dont read books 😦

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