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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

First Christmas for daughter will be a frugal one



I usually give expensive Christmas gifts to a wide swath of my relatives, adopted brethren and seven godchildren. But this year, in the tightest of economic times, all of this retail madness seems silly. Not to mention that if I commenced with my normal holiday routine, I’d have to navigate the crowds with my baby in tow.

There is plenty of good advice for frugal gift givers. But I’m making it even easier on myself. This year, the adults in my family will receive the gift of good will. I’m making donations to their favorite charities. I got the idea from my mother who said she wanted to give a goat to a family in Africa. With a quick trip to the World Vision Web site, she will get her wish. I’d also like to use the holiday as an opportunity to teach a lesson to my godchildren. When they were babies, I gave them savings bonds for their college funds. It’s a gift I’ve a mind to repeat. But I know they want toys. As Christmas day nears, I’m sure I’ll fold.

The madness is also creeping into my house. There are growing queries from people who keep asking what we’re doing for my 10-month-old’s first Christmas. No, she hasn’t had her picture taken with Santa. (To each his own, but I’d rather not.) No, we didn’t do personalized Christmas cards. (I’m an award-winning procrastinator, so we missed it.) And, nope, she will not have 50-million presents. (The last thing my husband and I want is to raise a child who thinks that Christmas is about what one gets.)

But I must admit, I am feeling the pressure.

Mom_elmolive The other day my daughter and I were at Toys R Us face to face with Elmo Live, supposedly this year’s it toy. I pressed Elmo’s toe. He sang and danced. Intrigued, my daughter smiled. For a split second, I considered tossing Elmo into the shopping cart. Then, I looked at the price tag. And just like that, we rolled on. Elmo is $60. Caught up in the retail hype, I’d planned to buy Elmo for Christmas. But now I’m thinking he’ll make a better gift for her first birthday in February or when she’s even older and the price of that charming doll comes tumbling down.

I’m no miser. I’ve already budgeted for one big-ticket Christmas present for Mom_learninghome_2 my girl. It’s the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn, Learning Home. Brand new, it’s about $70. On Craig’s List or with my Toys R Us coupons, it’s even less expensive. The toy promotes learning and play for children up to 3 years old. In my mind, that’s a worthy investment. My daughter already played with it at a friend’s house. She loved it. Case closed. 

Last year, I smiled when one of my friends said each of her children looks under the Christmas tree and finds three gifts, the same amount Jesus got from the wise men. Niiiiice. Call me naïve, but so far the biggest smiles on my daughter’s face have come not from spiffy toys, but from spending time with mom and dad. That is priceless.

---Sherri Day

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:58am]


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