Gift Giving: Minimizing Excess While Maximizing Enjoyment


One of the best things about being a kid is receiving gifts at Christmastime. One of the best things about being a mom is giving gifts at Christmastime. Nothing feels better than watching a child’s eyes light up as she pulls back the wrapping paper and discovers the gift inside which you have so thoughtfully selected just for her.

It’s that very feeling which can sometimes make gift-buying a little difficult for us parents…because as much as our child’s joy means to us, we have to consider more than just that. We have to weigh the child’s want against the toy’s worth. Because, all emotion aside, not all toys are worthy of the precious space they will consume in our homes.

I have three girls (and all their toys) sharing one small bedroom, so I have had to acknowledge the space issue… and the excess issue. Truly, how many different collections of figurine toys do three girls need? At some point, enough has to be enough.

That’s why our gift-giving strategy is a little different this Christmas.  Instead of giving a gift just because it’s new and different, we are sticking to the gifts that are tried and true. That is, instead of starting a new collection of yet another brand of toys, we are building on the collections which have proven to be the most loved and the most lasting.

For our son, that’s Legos. Abel probably already has one of the biggest Lego collections of all the 6-year old boys in the metro, but we are happy to build on a brand that not only gives him great joy but that also encourages hands-on creative play and which is sure to last for years to come.

For our girls this year, we are sticking to American Girl, My Little Pony, and Lego Duplo. These are all brands that are well-loved and well-made; and they are collections that can easily be built upon in the years to come. For all those reasons, they have made the girls’ wish lists AND Mommy’s cut.

Here are a few things to consider as you decide how to best fill your child’s wish list this Christmas.

  1. Is this a gift which will encourage continual play, or will it be little more than briefly entertaining?
  2. Will this gift grow with my child, or will I be purging it from the toy box a year from now?
  3. Is this gift built to last, or will it be broken in a matter of weeks?

For more guidance as you build and work through your Christmas shopping list, feel free to stop by my personal blog and check out these eight great gift ideas for the children on your list.

What gift-giving strategies do you use to help minimize excess while maximizing enjoyment? Please share in the comments!


    • @Katie Cox Believe it or not, Lego and American Girl are two brands I knew nothing about until I became an adult. If only I’d known then what I know now… lol! At least I get to experience the joy of giving these great, classic toys to my children. (And I hope you will, too, one day! 😉 ) Thanks for the comment!

  1. Did you know if you go to and scroll to the bottom it has instructions for all their sets from the past several years.  You can download the building instructions and create lots of “new” sets without buying a new set!  I bet you have enough legos Angela that Abel could create several new sets.  We love legos at our house too!


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