Every time I threw a birthday party for Z (and coming soon for X), I would suffer bouts of consumerism as an aftermath.
After 3 years of experience, I realized a lot of dilemma lies within the gift. The gift was an expression of thought and bore significance of the bearer’s good intentions. However, some gifts could be impractical or oversubscribed and I would not really know what to do with them. In the past, I could still bring the gift back to some departmental stores and seek an exchange for something else. There was one year where I was able to pool enough toys for a credit note to ‘redeem’ a Combi booster car seat for Z (which he had been using for the past one year!).
However, of late, most of the merchants did not accept goods exchanges unless it is accompanied with a gift exchange receipt.
Generally, I would not bother to exchange unless Z has the same toy or too many toys of that category. Z loves cars. Last year, he received at least 10 car sets. Hence, that explained why he still has brand new toy car sets unopened. Two weeks ago, he actually asked, “Mummy, can I open my new car toy? You know, the present from my 3 year old birthday?” He had been elated when he opened the toy last year. We staggered all opening and playing of toys so that he can enjoy each and every toy. This was also mainly why I have so many bargaining chips at home.
Having a party was important to Z (we had spoilt him, our fault entirely). He was excited at the prospect of being the limelight of the party, to have so many children playing with him, to blow candles off his cakes and to receive presents. For that reason, I would not ask my friends NOT TO BUY toys because he relished in receiving. Hence, the practical side of us, despite know that (parties = resource wastage), we would still organize one for him. Besides, personally, I also enjoyed shopping for presents because I also enjoyed the buying experience. I would usually overstocked on ‘potential’ gifts when we went overseas too.
Hence, whenever people asked me what to buy for him, I could not answer. That was always why I decided that for this year, I would only bring him to buy his birthday present AFTER he had received all the presents on his birthday. Well, most friends would know what a shopaholic I also was. I was afraid of overbuying too.
Even for Baby X whose first year old birthday would be coming up soon, I had opted not to buy him anything till his birthday was over.
In any case, at this instance, I thought the best gift for Z could be Toysrus vouchers. That would teach him quite a fair bit of math as well as resource and financial management. Some of my friends had been very creative though… they would be gifting him with a crafts subscription. I reckoned he would be very excited to receive something in the mail!