No Batteries Needed

What will you be giving this year?

Our dining room table has all but disappeared. Oh, the wood is still there, but it can’t be seen for all the boxes atop it. You see, over the course of the year, I keep in mind grandchildren’s birthdays and Chanukah presents, accumulating one of this and one of that when they are on sale.

This past Sunday, in a fit of industriousness, I emptied my gift cupboard, hoping to match each grandchild with an appropriate Chanukah present. Alas, life interrupted and the job is not finished, leaving my husband and me huddling in a corner of the table for our meals.

Seeing all of my options together was revealing. Nothing on the table required batteries or an internet connection. In fact, the pile looked strikingly similar to the ones I used to collect for our own children, or to the presents that my own parents gave to me. There are puzzles and art supplies, construction sets and books. I have a ridiculous numbers of copies of The Monster at the End of This Book, a tome I love reading to preschoolers employing all my thespian talents, as well as the classic Francis Hodgson Burnett story, The Little Princess. I similarly have a prediction for tangrams, so that finding a family that already doesn’t have a set of these wooden shapes becomes difficult. While I love Set, a family game I discovered as a homeschooling mom before it entered the general consciousness, older classics like Sorry and Candyland still delight. Each choice can stimulate a child’s imagination or challenge his or her abilities.

Headlines are blaring about supply chain shortages and price increases. Like you, I am spotting empty shelves and gasping at the totals on my receipts at the supermarket. Perhaps there is a silver lining. Perhaps this is an opportunity to press the reset button and to give our children gifts that ignite the senses and stimulate the mind rather than dulling our children into passive insensibility.

What are some of your favorite children’s gifts?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments on this Susan’s Musing article.
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