Saturday, November 26, 2011

Heirloom gifts for kids

With people turning from Thanksgiving to X-mas, I thought I'd offer up ideas of frugal-yet-meaningful gifts for kids who are "friends once-removed" (that is, kids of your friends or relatives).  These are things that my own kids (or other kids I know) have appreciated.

My sister ingeniously unloads kitsch that I'd given her long ago by re-gifting it to my daughter.  The clever part of this is that she doesn't pretend the items are new, she offers them as "heirlooms".  Those gaudy earrings and homemade knick-knacks that we thought were groovy when we were younger . . . well, my sister and I have grown out of these just as my daughter grew into them.  The fact that they come with stories about our own younger days made them even more special.

Similarly, my sister gave my daughter her album of photos from my wedding to her dad. Since that dad and I are divorced now, those photos don't mean quite so much to me or my sister, but they mean a lot to my daughter.  Fabulous!

One mathematical colleague of mine sent his niece a card every year explaining something neat about her age.  (For example, "6" is a "perfect number", because it's the sum of its proper divisors.  That is, 6 = 1x2x3, and also 6 = 1+2+3.   The next perfect number is 28, and NOBODY knows if there is an odd perfect number.  If you could find one, you could get a million dollars!)  When his niece became a teen-ager, my colleague figured that the cards were too geeky for her, and so he stopped.  But his niece called up and asked, "where's my card?  I've been waiting to find out what's special about this year!".

Similarly, starting a tradition of telling a story (maybe together with a photo) about a child and her family could be a tradition that the kid cherishes and remembers long after the batteries have died and the plastic toy-o-matic has been tossed in the landfill.  My own kids, who have lived through divorces and foster homes and other disruptions, all value stories about their own and their parents' lives.  They regularly go back and read through their own "life books".  Adding pages to those books means a lot to them.

And it's cheap, too.  Bonus!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! You have worked hard on jotting down the essential information. Keep sharing the good work in future too.
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