Gifts, Holidays

Making the Most of Christmas Gifts

It has been a great Christmas.  We hung out with family and friends, ate way too much food, had a birthday party for Jesus, exchanged Christmas Gifts with loved ones, and stayed up way past bedtime on more than one occasion playing with all of the new toys.  It was wonderful.

Monkey making a mess while paining a gift for his grandparents.

I took a full two weeks off from blogging so I could focus on spending time with family, some of which we only get to see two or three times a year.  I still had to go to my ‘real job’ for part of that time, but I was able to spend some necessary quality time away from the office and computer.  We were even able to make some gifts with Monkey.

Taking time off is part of the all-important work-life balance that everyone yearns for and needs- unless you are retired and you no longer have to balance work in there.  It is a requirement that you take some time off work and responsibilities to enjoy life so you don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day and lose sight of the joy in your life.

Christmas comes at a perfect time to take a break and rejuvenate your soul.  It is also nice if you receive a couple of gifts related to an interest you have.  This allows you to spend some time doing the things you truly enjoy and lets you de-stress.  Adult coloring books are great for this, in my opinion.  I got one last year for Christmas in which I am still coloring.

Children also get a chance to play with new toys and experience new games.  They can experiment, play pretend, and build with their new blocks or books.  I love just sitting and watching children explore their new toys.  Most of the time, they even enjoy the box and wrapping paper more than the actual gifts.  I mean, who doesn’t want to build a rocket ship out of a box and a few empty wrapping paper tubes?

Rotating Christmas Gifts

Though Santa was frugal, Monkey was still spoiled this year with many more Christmas gifts than he even has time to play with at any one time.  He is blessed beyond measure to have so many people that love him so much, but he honestly has way more toys than he knows what to do with.

Monkey playing in his new ball pit with crazy hair

Many parents will leave the toys out for a few weeks until they start tripping over them and get fed up with their house being taken over by toys.  At this point, the children will also probably lose interest in many of the toys and they will sit collecting dust.

To combat this and make the most effective use of the toys, we leave a couple of the new toys out and put the rest up in a closet.  After the new has started to wear off the toys that are out, we will rotate those out and rotate a few of the other new toys in.  This lets children feel like they are getting new toys all the time.  It also keeps them interested in the toys and less likely to get burnt out by an overabundance of toys.

We all have a hard time with over-stimulation, and children are particularly susceptible to this.  They got too overloaded with toys and gifts that they don’t really have time to sit down and actually explore the toy and pretend play/experiment with it, something crucial for their brain and social development.

We have to let our children explore their toys and experience true play.  Monkey received about 500 Mega Bloks* for Christmas.  Even at 18 months old, he is already enjoying building new towers and putting the blocks together in different ways.  And when the ball pit no longer brings the joy it does now, we will put it up for later and bring out his tool set or baseball bat (for outside play only!) or Lincoln Logs (off brand because they are much cheaper).

We will rotate his toys to spread the joy of the gifts over several months instead of just a few days.

Do you plan to rotate the toys your children got for Christmas?  What is the one toy they got and absolutely love that will probably stay out for a while?

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