I love birthdays. I love making my kids' birthdays extra special for them. I like choosing a theme with them and decorating like crazy. I'm still working on a post to show some of the fun ideas and decorations from my youngest daughter's party this spring.
But this post isn't about decorations or cakes or parties. It's about gifts. We all know that gifts are synonymous with birthdays (especially for kids). My husband and I noticed early on with our kids that birthdays and Christmas easily became overwhelming for them. You have to keep in mind that we don't buy a bunch of gifts. We're pretty practical (and thrifty) and don't feel we need to spend lots of money or buy lots of things to make a birthday or Christmas special. And yet, the girls would get this glazed look in their eyes when opening gifts and not know where to start.
We tried something different this past Christmas and have continued through their birthdays (my oldest will be 4 tomorrow!). We started a couple days before Christmas (or birthday) and let them open one gift. We would help them choose which gift so it was a toy (instead of clothes). This way, they would open the present, love the present, play with the present and enjoy the present without any pressure to continue opening more gifts.
What a world of difference it has made! The kids actually PLAYED with all of their gifts and there wasn't one or two forgotton. Plus, it provides hours of entertainment! A caution I would have is to make sure that one sibling can play too, so there's not someone left out, or be prepared to have one-on-one time with the non-gift opening sibling.
I'm sure there are people who might not agree with this plan. Who might want to keep everything special and associated with one day. Who don't think that their kids get overwhelmed when receiving gifts. I strongly believe every parent does what's right for them and their own family. I DO encourage you to consider this as an alternative. It truly has made a difference for our kids. Besides, who doesn't want to celebrate a birthday or holiday for more than just a day??
Here's a picture of my girls playing with the first present my oldest got to open. A Barbie pool!!