My son is old enough this year to have at least a basic understanding of Santa Claus. He knows what Santa looks like, and he knows that Santa brings presents. We’ll work on the true meaning of Christmas for next year. But for now, let’s talk about the way Christmas shopping brings us closer to our children.


As I’ve gone about my shopping this year, I’ve grown closer to my babies in some ways. I’ve learned about the idiosyncrasies that each child has. I’ve seen what makes my little man’s eyes light up. I’ve seen what makes him afraid. I’ve watched the way he is drawn to some toys and not others, and how he even goes crazy over seeing a certain actor or character on television.

Sure, buying our children a bunch of “stuff” is not the way to get into their hearts. But it’s a way to get a glimpse inside their souls. Even my 6 month old has ways of showing me what her little heart desires. When she’s in her jumper, she prefers to play with the plastic fruit instead of the hanging monkey. Maybe she loves the colors, or the way they feel. I’m not exactly sure why she prefers the toys that she does, but I love watching her interest and curiosity blossom.

If you’re still finishing up Christmas shopping for your little ones, I say embrace the experience! Don’t get caught up in the commercialization of it all. Let it be a way to really connect with your children. Invite them to tell you why they enjoy playing with certain toys. Ask them to show you how their favorite toys work. Encourage their creativity and take every opportunity to make playtime a learning experience. The toys won’t be interesting to your children for very long, but the memories of mom or dad connecting with them at Christmastime will last forever.

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