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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Much too early to stress about Christmas

Good thing I'm not stressed about it. But the conversation about Christmas keeps creeping up.

Many of you know that for the past 5 years we have a no electronics Christmas. The boys try every year to get around this clause. This year Large is asking for solar powered robotics. Hmmmm. . . we will see on that.

The no electronics Christmas goes over well every year however. Small has really never known it any other way, Medium does grumble a bit, but that is his personality, he grumbles about everything. Large is a bit pickier and we have to get more creative every year so he is not too disappointed that he doesn't get the same things as his friends. High school is rough. Husband has decided to purchase a vintage dirt bike for him. It's older than me, no electronic start on it. This will be fun.

I digress, 2 years after we started the no electronics Christmas, the grandparents embraced it. It seemed to relieve the stress involved with purchasing that perfect gift for the grandkids. Suddenly grandparents were on the floor with the kids showing them how to play with these toys that they had as kids. I was getting phone calls full of laughter and "you'll never guess what I just found!" and "I had one when I was 6!"  Grandparents were no longer out of the loop, no longer trying to keep up with what the kids thought was cool. Now it was about sharing what they knew. And because our boys had never seen these toys, they were thrilled with the magic (science, depending on age) behind them.

Husband was talking with someone about an old erector set that he had found. It's non motorized, only cranks and gears. Husband mentioned the no electronics rule. The friend thought that was a wonderful idea, and is now implementing it into his household.

Part of the no electronics Christmas is about money. Yes I will admit to it. They can get costly, and most the time they are poorly made, at least what you can rationally afford can be. Then it"s about the ages of the child. My teen doesn't have a cell phone, Medium doesn't need his own laptop, and Small, he doesn't need video games. Any electronics they want, they ask after for their birthdays. I don't completely neglect the electronic items. But Christmas. . . they don't exist. At Christmas we spend the entire day together, with only cheerful yelling and laughter as we figure out medieval puzzles, learn to ride something new, and build as a family.  Only Large runs off to be alone, but rather than playing the newest game, he is reading his new book. (that and he is now an angst ridden teenager).

So why am I talking about Christmas now? Because I am now working on some homemade toys and presents, and soon I will be sharing them with you. So, it's on my mind. (don't take this as a lecture. This is just what happens in my household)

20 comments:

Fritz said...

The no electronics Christmas is a great idea. We end up with entirely too much electronics in our house. But the kids don't get the latest electronics. They still have their Nintendo DSs, not the latest whatever.

My son bought himself a Kindle. How would that go over with no electronics? It is electronic, but he has 50 or 60 free classic books loaded onto it.

As for homemade, my wife is making some doll clothes for my daughter's American Girl doll. She made my daughter's halloween costume and a matching one for the doll. That set off her creative side. Instead of the $20+ for doll clothes, most will be just time spent. She is using fabric that her mother gave her.

Phelan said...

The boys have figured out a loop hole. If they already have the electronic gadget and if something that can go with it, doesn't have batteries, it goes on the wish list. Cd's and DVD's as well as mp3's are frequantly on the list. And we don't have a problem with getting those. It is the game consoles and such that we won't purchase during the Holiday. And we limit the amount of those items. Books however, especially for Large, are abundant.

I would love to see pics of the clothing when she is done. I have to live vicariously through others when it comes to girl stuff.

small farm girl said...

Great idea!!!!!!I have been dreading Christmas. Hopefully I'll get into the spirit as it gets closer.

Peggy said...

Can't wait for you to share! I am trying to get gifts made, purchased, and wrapped before Thanksgiving so I can truly enjoy the holidays.

Judy said...

Bravo! We had a limit as to the dollar amount. Our middle one never did figure out that if you put x-boxes and play stations on your wish list it's not going to be under the tree.

Warlock Sundance said...

great idea....(and my wallet thanks you)

HermitJim said...

I think that's a great idea! Even though I don't have kids, I can remember the fun of taking my new (used) bike for it's first spin on Christmas day!

Puzzles, books, and board games were always a big item on our gift list! I loved them all!

TransFarmer said...

that's a great idea! my niece and nephew need a lesson in this. they are beyond spoiled. they always ask for insane things like laptops at Christmas. I make it a point to make them homemade gifts. Nephew got a star wars messenger bag made from a t-shirt. Niece got a set of horse pillow cases and sheets that were homemade as well, one of a kind.

when we get around to having kids, this will be a rule that we will definitely implement.

kymber said...

Phelan - i hope that you don't mind that i linked to your blog from one of my blogging friends blog. he put up a post about Raw Milk & Freedom. i have known that you have been all over this issue in previous blog posts from last year and i wanted to share the information with Stephen (http://dixiecritter.blogspot.com/). so i linked to one of your older posts about the milk rally for the amish farmer, and then also provided your homepage as it is now. expect some new visitors.

your friend,
kymber

Stephen said...

I came, I read, I like...kymber would have kicked my butt if I hadn't...seems I once upon a time read your blog. It's been a while, nice to be back. I will link you at mine...

Jenny said...

We try to make gifts for our kids every year around Christmas time. I am really interested in what you'll be making. My son is 6 months shy of being a tennager and I can't think of anything I can make for him this year. Boys can be hard with homemade gifts.

Phelan said...

Kymber, that's fine.

Stephen, Kymber will do that, no doubt. You might know my from APN. I wrote there for awhile. Thanks for coming by.

Jenny, so am I ;)

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

This one would be tough on me as I'm a geek. I'm also an adult so I can buy my own toys now.
I'm looking to get some of those Black & Decker little tool kits and shop setups for the grand nephews or some of those nerf guns.
http://www.sciplus.com/index.cfm
If you are looking for great little lab kits for the kids from geology to solar power and robots. Might make a great homeschooling resource.
I got a small loom and they were great and fast shipping. Plus it's just a fun site.

Bob from Athens said...

I just did a bit of searching for Linclon Logs, Leggos and Erector Sets. Gotta tell you I still would appreciate a full set of any or all of them. I got my first set of leggos about six decades ago. My problem now would be getting back up after getting down on the floor to play with them. Maybe I could build me a big crane for lifting purposes.

Phelan said...

hahaha Bob! Now I am picturing a large erector set crane hoisting you up so you can build a city out of Lincoln Logs and leggos.

Husband is looking over my shoulder agree with you. He wants steps and hand rails though.

Phelan said...

Adventures, oh I understand completely. Thanks for the link, will check it out.

Dani said...

Brilliant - Being a grandparent I completely agree with your Christmas style, and reckon it's worth adopting :) Thanks!

Also agree that getting back to basic (especially where kids are concerned, will certainly stand them in better stead than having to constantly compete with their peers.

Phelan said...

Dani, It's hard for them to see that right now. Our oldest tends to focus on what he doesn't have. However lately he has been mentioning how much stronger he seems to be than all his friends.

Kyddryn said...

The denizens of casa de Crazy celebrate Yule, and we have a few little...umm...rules...about ift-giving - gifts should either be handmade or nurture spirit, mind, or creativity. We don't celebrate Christmas here, but my ex does, so the Evil Genius get loaded down with crazy expensive things at his Dad's...despite my begging him not to let that happen. Sigh.

I like the idea of No Electronics". I like things that encourage creative thought and cooperation.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Fritz said...

Phelan, at the bottom of this post are 2 of the doll outfits that my wife made. Posing with the dolls in her matching pajamas is my 8 y.o. daughter.

http://fritzmonroe.com/fritz/2011/11/04/another-busy-day-2/

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