Everyday Living, Relationships, Where My Money Goes

Presents pressure begins to build

When it comes to gifts, most people in my family are extremely easy. My dad is sometimes a challenge, but he’s also a farmer – warm clothes are always appreciated by those folks who brave the cold winter wind. My mom? Simple … My husband? Sometimes a challenge, but so far I’ve been awesome at picking out gifts for him – it’s only a matter of listening and keeping my eyes open for the obscure at times.

But with 9 days left until Christmas, I’ve been feeling a bit panicked. For once it’s not a monetary thing – I have plenty of cash to buy gifts for my loved ones. The problem is finding the right gifts for my four nephews – ages 5 to 18.

It was so easy when the first one was born – who doesn’t want to buy adorable little outfits and baseball caps? What baby doesn’t need every Little Golden book that was ever written? But then something magical and terrifying happens – they grow up and they get old. And then they become impossible to shop for.

In my hall of shame for gifts? Well, there was the year that my sister-in-law swore up and down that my 9-year-old nephew was in love with Fergie, she’s a member of the Black Eyed Peas and released a solo album. I ignored the warning sticker on the CD cover, figuring that Cody had already heard offensive language from his older brothers, wrapped the CD and stuck it under the tree. He gave me the most confused look in the history of the world when he opened it, because although he really did love the “London Bridge” song that was on the radio, he couldn’t place her face with that song. Christmas gift FAIL.

Then there was the year that I gave all of my nephews watches remembering how grown up I felt when I had received my first Timex from my mom and dad. I was then reminded that most kids have cell phones these days and do not need watches. Another FAIL.

I finally caved and called my mom, not wanting to suck at being an aunt again this year. While she gave me some really solid ideas, I’m still kind of stumped. So here’s today’s question, dear readers: What do you do for those impossible to buy for people on your gift lists?

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6 thoughts on “Presents pressure begins to build

  1. For your nephews there is always the stand by of gift card to Toys R Us for the littles ones and Cash for the teenagers. You can put your efforts into funny ways of wrapping up the money. My aunt gave my son some money in a maze box that he had to solve to reach the money and he loved it.

  2. Rest assured, teen boys are the hardest to buy gifts for (I have one).

    I hope you agree in encouraging educational and active choices instead of little itty bitty electronics. It will save your wallet and make you feel better about about their future.

    Please try to unplug them and resist a trip to the big box store. Instead of the computer games, DVD movies, and anything with a battery, here’s what I do:

    ~ Go to the sports store. Better yet, go to the resale sports store. The younger kid probably likes in-line skating. The middle ones probably like skateboarding or tennis. The oldest might be interested in free weights.

    I bought two very good tennis rackets this past year at a resale sports store for $10 each. These rackets are going to take us through intermediate stage (and who knows if we will even go advanced). There are tons of skateboard, surf and fitness equipment there.

    ~ Go to the craft store. The littler kids would have fun putting together a gingerbread house. These are also available at BedBathBeyond and you can use a very easily obtained 20% off coupon.

    ~ Go to the Book Store. Have you visited the quiz/puzzle section? There are fun optical illusion books and Mensa teasers perfectly suitable for adults. Or just get the big kids a specialty magazine (like auto or mechanic issues).

    ~ My kids love to shop (within reason). They are delighted with a gift card from Amazon, a WHOLE WORLD to choose from.

    Hope this helps.

  3. When my brother was a teen, he mostly liked electronics. He was also into playing drums, music cds, and skateboarding. Good luck figuring out something!

  4. I got my younger nephews (ages 5 and 7), matchbox cars and the new transformers. The movie has made these all the rage.

    I got my older nephews (ages, 15 and 18), one has a drum set so he got a gift certificate to a drumming/music store and the other drives, so he got a gas card.

    But, in the affordable range, new ear buds for the MP3’s, blue ray movies or games, memory cards for their cameras, or video cameras. Also, gift certificates to the movies or fast food restaurants.

  5. My 15 year old nephew ALWAYS wants cash. I know most, if not all, people don’t consider money a gift. But honestly, it is what most kids (especially boys) over 13 REALLY do want.

    Even my 9 year old nephew would be happy with cash.

    The 6 year old nephew still likes/wants actual gifts.

  6. Ya know, as a former teenage boy, I don’t remember much what I got. I suspect it was mostly CDs and clothes. Gift cards weren’t big back then. Teenagers never turn down cash either 🙂

    I certainly did enjoy things like puzzles, games (the card or board kind), and books throughout my growing up years – interesting stuff that I never would have gotten myself. Those can be hit and miss as to whether they like it, but sometimes they may not think much of it right away but pick it up in 2 or 3 months and realize it’s pretty interesting or fun – I’ve had several of those.

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