"What does he want for his birthday?"

"Anything he's into that he really wants for Christmas?"

Tracen's birthday is 4 days before Christmas so I get a little cray cray when people ask me these questions. I want to avoid filling my house with more things so I try to tell people practical yet fun things that the kids need or want; a new skateboard, helmet, roller blades, chapter books, art supplies, etc. Giving them ideas on things they play with but need to be replaced, or even a game or book that they have been talking about for a while.

One year I told everyone to bring a board game for his birthday for our game closet, the other year it was a "stock his bookshelf with new books" party and another year I told everyone to bring a new dress up outfit for his dress up bin. I also keep a note in my phone of things every person in my life has talked about on what they need or want in passing, so when the time comes for birthdays or Christmas, I know what to get, usually! I love giving gifts to others so having a purpose behind a gift is something I really enjoy. I notice that any time we go and DO something fun the looks on the kids faces almost alway outweigh the look on their face a week after Christmas and they are already "over" all the toys they just got. Giving an experience as a gift is something you will never regret. (Look at Griff's face in the photo above!!!) (Also, yes, Tracen's face is black and blue, he was getting over a very bad eye injury that happen at school, this looks 100% better than it was when it happen)Last weekend we took our nephew (Griffin) and Tracen to Dave and Busters for his birthday gift we gave him back in July. We left our niece and Sky with my sister-in-laws so it was just Jerek and I with the big boys! It was so nice not chasing little kids around and the place was dead! {Memory bank, go on a Sunday right when they open if you want a more chilled experience!) It was also just nice to talk and hang out with the two older kids when I'm sure we give so much attention to the little ones on a daily basis due to their age and needs. In the past we've done Legoland and lunch for Sky's birthday gift and Tracen has gone to Dave and busters as well as to a local theater with my mom to see a play. My sister-in-law started giving the boys uninterrupted time with her and my brother in law and Tracen looks forward to it every year.Don't get me wrong, we still do material things for gifts, we're human, but we try to keep it very basic as I mentioned above. We've noticed that taking kids to do and see things trumps any toy we could give them. With the holidays coming up, think about giving a gift card to a place or letting a child pick an activity that you do with only them.Alright, that's it for me, I must get off this internet machine and clean up the 138912743265 messes the kids have made since they've been home from school and head off to soccer, byyyyyyyeeeee!