Birthday Gift Plan

Birthday Gift Plan
January always feels like the most productive time of year to complete any type of project. For one reason or another we have convinced ourselves that the beginning of a new year marks the time we should work to improve ourselves. Although I generally tend to disagree with this concept, simply because I believe we should be working to improve ourselves all year round, I do believe that January is the perfect time to make preparations for the upcoming year.  One of the preparations I have made during the past few years is to do all of my birthday gift shopping. Completing this task all at once at the beginning of the year will do wonders for avoiding last minute trips to Wal-Mart to buy the first cheap toy you see. You can also take advantage of some GREAT after holiday sales. In my family we have a whole bunch of cousins, who also happen to be best friends with one another, so we attend a lot of parties. There have been SOO many times I have been grateful for the box of birthday gifts I have stashed in my bedroom.
(This is my birthday gift box but a large tote would work wonderfully!)
To begin you need to make a list (and yes, check it twice… sound familiar?). After I have a list of birthdays I go through each name on the list and do my very best to put myself in that persons shoes to try and figure out what they might enjoy as a birthday gift. I never understood giving a gift that the giver would love. The whole point of gift giving is to show our loved ones that we know them and their interests.
After Christmas sale shopping can be very exciting indeed! As per tradition my mother and sister-in-laws have faithfully attended the Dillards New Years sale. Unfortunately we weren’t able to attend this year but in years past I have done ALL of my adult birthday shopping for a fraction of what I would have spent buying throughout the year. This year my husband and I went to the Cal-Ranch sale and came away with clothes for the kids, snow boots, work gloves, a chicken feeder, a plant book, and nine toys for the birthday box; all for under $350 (The snow boots for my husband alone would have normally been $100).  Although I do my best to avoid shopping at Wal-mart I did hear that they also had some great deals the week after Christmas.
(One layer of gifts)
(A second layer of gifts)
In addition to purchasing items for specific family members I also buy three or four things that would work well as gifts for my kids’ friends. I figure J5 may get invited to a few parties for other six-year old girls, so I will grab a few extra little girl gifts. This is especially useful for those times I am feeling extra scatterbrained and I completely forget about a party until 10 minutes before we have to leave.
I have always had fairly strong opinions about gift giving simply because I never thought it did anyone any favors to give ‘bad’ gifts. I am also normally against giving fad toys as they tend to be a waste of money and storage space. Books are always a great “go to” gift for just about any age but I also like to stick with some general categories to consider:
Adult Men
Adult Women
Young Boys
Young Girls
* A hobby accessory: hunting gear, golf balls, exercise clothes, tools, BBQ accessories, telephone accessories.
* Anything useful: hair accessories, clothing, kitchen gadgets, craft supplies, storage solutions, home d├ęcor (if you know that want/need it).
* Classics: Cars, balls, blocks, puzzles, dress ups, board games, swords, outside games, action figures.
* Anything that does NOT encourage growing up too quicly : Journal & pen, art projects, ‘treasure’ boxes, dress ups, card games.
* Most babies don’t care so look for something that the mother will appreciate: clothes, cars that move by themselves, ball poppers, etc.
* Know what they like.
* Know what they need.
* Encourage physical activity.
*Provide creativity
*Help the mother.
Whatever you choose to buy just remember, the gift is for the person receiving, not for you! No one wants or needs extra junk laying around the house so giving something useful is generally more appreciated.


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