Sometimes I think things can be very commercial. I know that is the complaint by most during this time of year where getting rather than giving is what seems to be the most important priority for our children. I do want my children to learn the value of charity and understand that there are those less fortunate than ourselves.
Recently, I have had the opportunity to actually take inventory of the things we have as far as what my children have in the way of clothes, toys, games, etc. And after counting all of the dolls and little stuffed animals and the like, they have more than what I remembered having at their age. In fact, I think they have too much. So, we are in the process of weeding out all of their goods and making room for Santa gifts.
Once we have our goods together for giving, I have taken both of them with me to a local 2nd store, Joseph's Coat, to donate them there, and also to give us the opportunity to see what the store has for sale. They actually love going into the store and seeing all of the different kinds of past treasures. They don't know that it is all second hand, so they think it is just a great place to see all kinds of toys, clothes, bikes, and even a "funny mirror" that is there for shoppers to try on clothes. It's like an adventure for them. I have also managed to by them so much buy them some much needed sweaters for the winter. Where else can you go and buy a Talbots or a Gap sweater for $4.00 total!
I think with these times, there is no shame in purchasing items from thrift shops as gifts. In our reduce-reuse-recycle culture, it is in a way beneficial for our "green" friends and relatives to see that we are buying something second hand and also contributing to a non-profit in need of funds. So, before you head out to Macy's and other places like Needless-Markup, trying looking at thrift stores too. I don't think your young children would know the difference in that $100 bike versus the $15 one that needs a little TLC to make it special, or that top of the line new Fisher Price gizmo versus the one that is 3 years older one that just needs some batteries. Saves you money but also gives you a chance to customize the gift to give it straight from the heart.