The days of simple gift giving are over for my oldest child.  She has moved on from playhouses, dolls and doll house to iPhones and iTunes.  This happens to all parents at one time or another.  What are parents to do when their babies out grow toy boxes and playhouse and move from dollhouse on to docking stations for every tech gadget known to man.  My suggestion is simple -STOP.

The beautiful little lady has blossomed into an incredible young lady who is in need of nothing and in desire of it all.  We have reached the point where we pack up the play area and store the kid kitchen and train table.  The play area is now being transformed into a study nook.  With this comes the days where Santa moves down the totem pole and the “but they have two cell phones and I don’t even have texting” starts.  With this is the need to simplify and explore options to help preteens and teens realize the world does not, has not and will never start revolving around their need to be like everyone else.

It has become a family tradition that around age eleven birthday gifts start to come to an end.  Don’t get me wrong it is still a huge deal that this is the day of her arrival however it is celebrated with her at the center.  No gifts center this holiday.  Time and togetherness however are very much present and accounted for.  She controls the mood of the event, invites people within the family she wants to spend time with and that is how the day proceeds.  Games are played, private conversations are carried on, food is eaten and time is shared.  Does the fact an iPhone has not been opened bother her?  Not one bit as in this moment her heart is filled with the maximum amount of affection one could ask for.

The same will be started this year at Christmas.  Our family will always believe in the spirit of Santa and so he will always visit bringing one most wanted present for each child.  This year a pillow pet is wished for by Bear and for Belle a game, Apples to Apples.  The main present we are choosing for our children is time.  Usually the holiday is a hustle of cramming events in followed by being beyond broke!  This year however we will take the entire week off both my spouse and I.  This is our gift to them.

It is an amazing feeling to see your child open a doll house on Christmas morning that they will play with every day until the day until they trade it in for make-up and tech gadgets.  Giving presents to children especially something personalized is and will always be a special treat.  When the magic of those presents teeters off and the greed starts to show itself, give them the one thing they crave more than anything…time.  It is one of the least expensive presents you can buy.