It's been FOREVER since I've last blogged (with the exception of the random posts that are always rumbling in my head.) It's not that I don't mean well... it's just that I'm a bit of a procrastinator. My later never quite seems to show up and then flies by entirely. I think this is just a side effect of too many balls in the air as well - something gets missed, no?
In spite of the busy-ness (wait! Is that right? Or is it bus-i-ness? Let's just call it chaos), I think it's important to spend time with a family - to balance, regroup, and remember that the little things are important. We don't always have to be go, go, go... and in all honestly, the days go by so fast, we need to "be" together before it's too late and they're off having little ones of their own (yikes!)
With this in mind, and my whole scheme to shop local, support small business, etc. with the holidays approaching, I'm still guilty of shopping from some of the big box stores and internet retailers, because let's face it, money talks and we're all on a budget. I like to mix it up - for little girls, I think it's a bit easier to go the whole handmade, shop local gamut... Frozen princess tutu anyone? With little boys who aren't so little anymore, I find it's a bit harder. So I'm the mom... and the aunt... that I'm sure the kids dread getting presents from because I want to build the brain (books and puzzles), encourage togetherness (board games or family passes) and spark creativity (Lego and craft kits).
That's where family game nights and the geniuses at Hasbro capture my attention. I'm also a fan of the 4-gift Christmas (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read) but we'll be shaking it up a little because most often the need and wear categories are the same and that didn't fly so well last Christmas. This year I'm using this version as my guideline rule: Something you want, something to read, something to share, something you need...
I've already been sale watching and picked up some classics for our family to play. Battleship and Twister are our latest acquisitions and we may have picked up two extra boxes to give to certain other little boys on our gift list. My boys love Sorry & Trouble when they're at Oma's so Santa picked up that on sale as well. Battleship battles with Daddy become intense. I'm surprised that no one leaves the table wounded... but it's also full of laughter and light-hearted accusations of cheating because they usually trounce Daddy's butt! Simon also made it to our wish list this year... and today, we had a fun surprise waiting in the mailbox.
I signed up for Influenster a few months back - it's a product for review social media based experience. If you qualify for a campaign, you get to try something out (VoxBox) and blast your friends and followers online with all the deets. Here is where our surprise comes in. We qualified for the Influenster Hasbro Gaming VoxBox.... which is right up our alley, all things considered.
J has been home "sick" with me today.... so he's been hanging around while I've had to run some essential errands (doctor's appointments, etc.) We even managed to pop by the post office where our very first VoxBox was waiting! We took it home and he opened it with enthusiasm - they love mail because it's still exciting and doesn't contain any bills yet. Ha!
And what was in the box, you ask? Our very own Monopoly Junior to play and enjoy. I just spent 30 minutes with the youngest playing a highly competitive game (he owned more than half the board and bankrupt me with enthusiasm!) We may have to work on good sportsmanship.... It was a half hour that could have been spent replying to client emails, putting away laundry, vacuuming my floors... but you know what? It was a half hour that I can't put a price on... because for 30 minutes he forgot about his headache, he laughed, we made memories, and we were together. Quality. Family. Time.
Don't let life overwhelm you. Take time for what's important. Also, don't let gift giving overwhelm you. Gift giving is about more than the price tag. Supporting all the local entrepreneurs isn't always practical. So I say do what you can - shop local when it's feasible. But also, do what you have to.... and just remember that giving the gift of fun, togetherness, and making memories is worth more than you can imagine! The classics are classics for a reason.