Elly Dream Contemporary Portrait Photographer | Family | Headshot | Marlboro & Middletown NJ

Gift Giving embarassment

Elly Dream Photo - fine art portrait of a child in photosession in Middletown NJ

GIft-giving with kids: save yourself from disappointment and embarrassment!

Just like you, I’d spend days agonizing over a perfect gift for every single one of my children, and, literally be holding my breath, as each of my dear preciousness uncovers it from the holiday wrappers. Or, better yet, I’d wrap it “from grandma” – I am blessed with a mom who trusts me to pick something kids really want… as far as I can guess.

… the wrappers are coming off…
… long awaited expensive-catchy-pretty-special-amazing new gismo or toy comes out…
… and gets anxiously tossed at the side. 

Oh, the spoiled little brat! He would jump towards the next box, eager to rip through its pretty bows, sparkly wrappers, only to toss its content aimlessly aside, along with all my hopes, dreams, and feelings of self-worth as a parent. 

I don’t know what hurts more: when the gift I poured my soul into went unvalued, or the bitter look I get from grandma!Elly Dream Photo - Fine art portrait of kid with favorite toy during photo session in studio Middletown NJ

Honestly, thinking in retrospect, I realize that you can’t blame the kids: the emotions are running high, the overwhelm is real, the desire to get to the next shiny surprise can be too irresistible or… even a disappointment if it really wasn’t something they expected after all!

Putting hard feelings aside, it is not about a gift at all. Neither it is about today’s spoiled rotten kids leading humanity to its ultimate doom. They still might… just not this holiday season 😉

It is all about our expectations and kids’ learning how to respond graciously. 

So, to prevent this painful scenario, we have a favorite game to play. Well in advance, we’d “practice” with a super fun – gift-giving game. We would play it as a family, we would play it one-on-one… and now that they are teenagers, all we need – is a silly similar humorous joke-athon in a car before every gift exchange – holiday or birthday one alike.

It is super simple:

  1. Everyone picks a bagful of simple trinkets/toys/books/socks. The sillier the better.
  2. Taking turns: take an object out of your bag and present it to the family member on your left. You have to come up with a damn good complement that explains why he needs this silliness and how it will improve his life! 
  3. The “receiver” of this “gift” – has to respond in kind: find something that he likes about it and figure out how to compliment the “giver” back.
  4. If you are competitive – let others chime in. Let the one with the best idea (or the funniest) – keep the toy. Let the one with the most “gifts” at the end – win 😉 

You get to define your own rules…

That’s it! Play it with the really small ones – they’d tremendously enjoy the give-and-take process!
Play it with the older ones – they love anything silly to practice their sense of humor (along with some manners, haha)!
Even teens find its silliness amusing…

And feel the gift exchange process might surprise you in the best way possible this holiday season 😉

Elly Dream Photo - Fine art portrait of kid with favorite toy during photo session in studio Middletown NJ

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