It’s Better to Give Than Receive, Right?

giftThis year I decided that it’s time to bring my kids into the whole gift giving circus that can be Christmas.  As in, it’s time that they “bought” a Christmas gift for each other.  This seemed like the perfect year to start. I’ve got a three year old who’s so into Christmas that he makes me want to decorate our house a la National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  I’ve got a nine year old who could use a lesson in Christmas isn’t just about receiving, but also about giving.

Yesterday while the preschooler was napping, I took  my eldest child out to Kohls to pick something out for his little brother.  It was a nightmare.

And I’m not talking about the crowds.

My nine year old wanted to spend more time looking for something for himself… you know, so he could tell his little brother what to pick up for him when it was his brother’s turn to shop.  Or he’d pick out something that clearly his brother wouldn’t like.  Opting for another pack of Matchbox cars when your brother already has a million? Yeah, that’s the easy way out.  Picking out a toy that is better suited for your 8.5 month old little sister?  Yeah, that’s not very thoughtful.

Thirty minutes in and it was like he was buying for a perfect stranger.  Like he didn’t know… or didn’t care… about his little brother at all.

I could feel my blood pressure starting to rise as he nonchalantly passed gifts that would be perfect for his preschool bro to covet gifts that he himself was interested in.  Clearly, I must have done something wrong in all my years of parenting.  I obviously raised a total narcissist.  I was just about to lose it in the middle of Kohls when he bent down, pulled something off the shelf, and said “This is perfect!”

He found a set of Tinker Toys designed just for preschoolers.  The boys often play (read: fight) with a hand-me-down set of Kinects.  This set would be perfect for little hands working on their fine motor skill development.  His brother would love it.  It was perfect.

I realized that I may have jumped to my own conclusions about his alleged nonchalance.  Maybe he was just deep in thought about what his brother would really appreciate?  I started to feel guilty for thinking my boy was only thinking of himself as we walked to the check out counters.  At least for a minute, until he turned to look up and me to ask a question…

“Tomorrow, Cooper is buying me a gift, right?”


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