Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Greener giving and the preschooler: Is it possible?

This weekend marks the first of a series of birthday parties my oldest is invited to. And each party, while an excuse for a play date, brings the problem of present shopping.

In our family, smart shopping is the way we do things. We watch prices. We watch the plastic and the pieces. We pay attention to our kids' likes and dislikes. We try to buy responsibly. I confess that even Santa shopped a few times at the kids resale shop this year. But what happens when your kid is presenting the present? Do the rules change?

What do you do when your child, with all the love in her heart, announces she wants to wrap up her Care Bear for her friend because "she just loves blue"? Tell her no, that some people don't want hand-me-down gifts? Present the gift, but quietly explain to the mom the reason why her daughter's getting a used toy? Steer her to something different, like a nice book?

I'll leave it to you all: What would you do? I'm open to any ideas on how to approach this.


Aimee said...

Personally, I would let her wrap it up and give it - for many reasons. First and most important is honoring the generous impulse of my child. There are precious few years when children let these pure, loving urges flow in complete innocence of grown-up considerations, and I would hope that other parents would recognize and appreciate the heartfelt feelings behind the gift. Secondly, because it IS a secondhand gift and therefore both green and cheap for me (sorry, but these things matter when your kid goes to three parties a month!). And lastly because I want to do my bit to make such gifts more culturally mainstream and acceptable - even if it is temporarily uncomfortable for me. Again, on a purely personal note, I might question the friendship of someone who was offended by such a present. What could be sweeter?!?

Robbie said...

Aimee, I do agree with you. I mentioned what my daughter said to her mom the other day - and got silence. (Thankfully she could hide behind a Facebook chat--we just both happened to be on.) The kids are good friends as we live on the same street, so it's something we likely won't be able to avoid. But I hear you!