Thursday, December 19, 2013

8 Ways to Avoid Baby Gift Overload

People love to give babies presents. People can't help themselves. I don't really understand this, since babies are the people who are least likely to appreciate presents. Nevertheless, if you've got a baby in your house who wasn't there last year, odds are, he or she will soon be getting truckloads of stuff.

Now if you reading this but you are actually someone who is struggling to make ends meet and you are worried about how you are going to make baby's first or second Christmas special, you need not concern yourself with a lack of lame first world problems like "too many gifts."  You're in a better position to enjoy what Christmas is really about. Plus, babies have no expectations, they're usually terrified of Santa, and they'll be happy to receive an empty box or a set of old car keys.

If you still really want to have something to mark the occasion, consider asking for assistance from a select few friends or a gift giving organization.  You don't need to feel ashamed or guilty. Like I said, people love to give babies presents. If you give a shopping enthusiast an excuse to buy fancy baby things, you are doing that person a favor. You'll satiate someone's need to buy tiny things that make people go "Awwwwww. Lookatthosewiddleshooooes". They won't have to get pregnant just to have little feet to fit into those adorable little shoes.  It's win-win. 

Gift clothes from 1 holiday!
As for the rest of you, especially those with large extended families, brace yourselves.  Christmas day might be epic.

On Blue's first Christmas she was six months old, and she was the first grandchild for my parents, and the first grandchild in over a decade for my husband's parents. We began opening gifts at 7:30, and with brief breaks for naps, we continued unwrapping well into the evening.  We eventually gave up and opened more gifts on Boxing Day.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced First-Christmas overload. Here are some tips to help first time parents keep Christmas from being overwhelming.

1. Before Christmas, do a purge of all unneeded clothes and toys.

2. K.I.S.S.  Keep it simple, Santa. Buy your baby one really nice gift instead of lots of little things, and if relatives ask, suggest they do the same. If you accidentally go overboard, see if there is anything you  can donate to the angel tree or another charitable organization.

3. Don't wrap necessities.  Your baby won't care if he uncovers a toothbrush, socks, or clothes. If you must buy these things and save them for Christmas, put them all in one basket under the tree.

4. Spread out the gift opening over a few days. If you have purchased a number of fun toys that you know will keep your child captivated, open some on Christmas Eve or Boxing day so she has enough time to explore each one. If you have aunts and uncles dropping off gifts for your little one, open them right then and there.  The gifter will get to enjoy seeing you open it.

5. Don't remove a new toy from your baby's hands in order to make him open or play with the next present. He will cry. He doesn't know what's going on. There will be lots of time later to open or introduce the next item.

6. Consider giving your child an experience instead of an object. Babies who love music will enjoy sitting on your lap at a kid friendly concert or theater show.

7. Play light Christmas music on low volume while you open gifts.  Or play nothing at all. You don't want your baby to get overstimulated or a crying jag will ensue. Nothing puts more holiday stress on you than hearing,"Ding Christmas Bells! Ding Christmas Bells!"

8. If your baby is old enough to enjoy unwrapping gifts but he lacks the dexterity, try this trick: Tape a Christmas ribbon along the length of the paper. All he needs to do is yank.  I thought this up while simultaneously wrapping presents and eating Babybel cheese.



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