It’s here. Last minute gift buying month. I don’t know about you, but I am getting a little bit Grinchy the older I get about gift buying.

Sure, I love buying that special someone something I know they would love and need. But that’s the clincher. Need. Most of us rarely “need” anything anymore. It’s a want, or something that’s nice to have.

The thing is, gift buying can really suck. I hate obligatory gift buying and receiving, but I also love receiving that well thought out gift. It’s a conundrum. Am I a Grinch, or am I not?

Nothing is a worse than giving or receiving a gift that screams “last minute, didn’t really care just bought something because I had to” type gift. But nothing is better than receiving a gift that says I love you, I hear you, I see you and all that you love and thought of you when I saw this and just had to buy it for you.

The Grinch in me is so tired of my kids having so much ‘stuff’ that just takes up space in our already cluttered home.

The noisy plastic toys.

The annoying fad toy that is lame six months later.

The cheap crap that breaks and doesn’t get thrown out.

It’s enough to make any parent prefer to step on Lego for 12 hours.

So what do we give our kids instead? It’s a hard one. Nothing is better than seeing your kids face light up in a sea of wrapping paper on Christmas day. Last year we had a white Christmas in Japan, Santa brought the boys a voucher to go sledding, they unwrapped a snowman kit to decorate a snowman, and they also got a voucher to buy a souvenir on the holiday. The boys loved it! Family gifted them money to spend on the trip, and we got them something to open which were clothes to go skiing, and spent the day on the slopes having fun together as a family. It made me realise the best gift we can give our kids is our time and experiences. Sure, they asked where the toys were, but after a discussion as to whether they would prefer a toy or skiing it was a short-lived conversation!

We are staying home this Christmas, but I hope Santa brings the boys something similar this year. And I think this year we are going to invest our dollars into an experience instead again. I am not sure if I can top last years’ adventure, but I am going to try, there are so many amazing things to do in NQ. My aim is for my boys to remember what we did and what they gave, rather than what they got for Christmas.

I can only remember a handful of gifts that I got for Christmas as a child. What I do remember is the smell of the real Christmas tree, the family back tickle conga line after lunch that you wanted to be the one sitting at the front so you didn’t have to back tickle anyone else, the fights, the burnt food and the game of cricket on the road with the neighbours to finish the day. So this Christmas, I hope you make wonderful memories with your family, and enjoy the day for what it is, a day for family to connect and spend time together.

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