For the past couple of years, I have become depressed at Boo’s birthday and Christmas. Which is kind of depressing in itself when you think she is only four years old! I just have never looked forward to the ‘events’ because, through no fault of their own, friends and family have given inappropriate gifts.
Oh, they haven’t meant any harm. But people buy gifts that are chronologically-aged appropriate. Not where she is developmentally. So after every event, I would be down. It got to be that I wasn’t looking forward to this year at all. Instead of wallowing (okay, I wallowed for a moment or two) I decided to be proactive.
I e-mailed any family member or friend that I knew would be giving Boo a gift. I sent a list of links and explained how the item would be useful. I included the price and a disclaimer that I knew this wish list was pricey, but since Boo’s birthday and Christmas were so close together they would only have to buy one gift. Added bonus, they could collaborate on the gift. Either through gift cards or with one another.
I was honest. For example, I explained that the trampoline was not for play (well, not really) but for muscle tone, sensory and learning to jump. That I was not looking for some one to buy ‘me’ a chair, but a better chair for Boo to reach the table. She is too “old” for a booster seat. I want her to be a part of the table. This chair will help her with stability, etc…
And it worked. For Boo’s birthday she got things she could use. Things that made a direct impact on her life. The trampoline? Within 8 days she was jumping! A year of therapy and all it took was having the tool available.
So, yes I felt incredibly guilty sending the e-mail. Like I was asking people to spend money on Boo. But in the end it worked.
What works for you? How do you get your friends and family to contribute to meaningful gifts, rather those you have to donate to another child?