I'm pretty much finished with our Christmas shopping this year, except for Anna and my niece, and some soccer gear for the twins. We don't do a huge Christmas each year, in fact in 2009 we did it all for $400 or less. The budget was a little bigger this year with the addition of another baby, but it's still not outrageous. We try to keep their expectations reasonable when it comes to gifts on Christmas and birthdays, because they are so blessed throughout the year. It's not unusual for us to buy them a new DVD or game for no reason other than good behavior and a rainy Friday night. Plus the older kids get, the more expensive their gift requests get, which is to be expected. Over the past few years they've acquired DSi's, Wii, and ipods + ihomes, and a flat screen TV in their playroom. I consider them to be lucky little girls. I think at their age I was thrilled with a walkman (remember...cassettes?) and my TV time was limited.
The twins are all about Apple lately. It's part of the culture and since they have ipods and watch Disney, they're familiar with the products. When I bought their Daddy an itouch for our anniversary they started asking for one too. I just laughed them off and told them they are for grown ups. They didn't argue or even seem very disappointed, because it made sense. Flash forward to us watching post-Thanksgiving morning news together. What are NBC, CBS and Fox news recommending we put under the tree for our 5, 6, 7 yr olds this year? ipads. The first time we heard this the twins said nothing, but this morning Gwen whipped around and said "Mom, the news people said ipads are for kids!" Does anyone else read the articles in Parents Magazine, or hear the stories on these very same news stations explaining that putting kids in front of electronics all day has detrimental affects on their social and mental development? ADD, social confidence, speech, writing, imaginative play, the ability to interact with their peers... Thank goodness they'll know how to use a touch screen and have mad skills when it comes to flinging "angry" birds at little digital pigs though, or draw without ever touching paint or a paint brush. *The twins spent a hour with the Sailor's itouch and have been obsessed with Angry Birds ever since.
I don't mean to sit up on my high horse and condemn people for letting their kids use electronics, I get lazy and let the twins play their DSi's too often myself and have to remind myself that a few minutes of complaining is worth the 2 hours of imaginative play that will follow if I make them turn everything off. I do think it's important to be familiar with new technology, but considering our current economy and the growing problems with obesity and social awkwardness in today's kids, maybe NBC could mention some of the many id="mce_marker"0 games that require interaction and physical activity, that nobody buys anymore because you can't put your child in the corner, zoned out and alone, for two hours with it.
P.S. My sister-in-law and I are trading Battle Ships and Connect 4 for the older kids this year. I'm pretty excited about it.
P.S.S. Have you seen the new Kindle commercial? Where the pretty blonde says "It's better to receive than to give" while holding two Kindles? Nice message.
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