The holiday season is officially upon us and so is the proverbial question that comes from our family members and loved ones:  What can we get the boys for Hanukah?  The question is seemingly innocuous and presumably thoughtful.  Yet, every time it is asked, I feel incredibly burdened to come up with 1) something really good, 2) in the price range of the gift giver, and 3) that I haven’t mentioned to someone else.  Does this quandary sound familiar, parents?  I don’t mean to be hateful because what a great thing it is to have people in your life who want to buy your kids presents.  We are truly blessed.   But making the list and checking it twice each year is a process that is other than nice.

Consider what goes through my head every time this question is posed to me.  (The question is never posed to Dave, mind you. For some reason the Mommy is the designated Human Registry, at least in our house.)

Noah would like to go to Italy; Chase would like a Build-Your-Own-Rollercoaster set for the backyard.  I do not feel comfortable suggesting either of these items lest I be perceived as sarcastic, obnoxious or delusional.  Yet, these are some of the actual items on their list.  They will be disappointed. 

There is also an endless array of games designed for the PlayStation, DS, and/ or Wii that involve secret languages and come included with a free boat load of anxiety about “leveling up” .  I do not feel comfortable suggesting any of these items lest I be the parent who sets no boundaries when it comes to how much “screen time” my boys get. 

There are gift cards to stores that the boys love to frequent.  Game Stop. Target. Toys R Us.  I do not feel comfortable suggesting gift cards lest I be unoriginal and take the easy way out. 

There are books to be bought as both my boys are readers.   I don’t feel comfortable suggesting any books because the next question will be what specific book should be purchased.  Since our book buying usually involves strolling the aisles at Borders for several hours before finding something that appeals to them, I have no specifics.

There are Connex, Legos, Chemistry Sets, Make your Own Chewing Gum, and Grow Your Own Fungus in a Dome kits, all which require a ton of parental supervision and clean up.  I don’t feel comfortable suggesting these gifts because I don’t want these gifts. There.  I said it. 

There are clothes, college accounts and philanthropic activities that would be practical, heartfelt and valuable.  But I don’t feel comfortable suggesting those gifts lest my boys roll their eyes when they receive something so thoughtful.  If anyone gets to give my kids a gift that makes them roll their eyes, that person is going to be me.  It is my God-given right to disappoint them at least once over the holidays.

Both boys have gently suggested a variety of guns, swords, wands and other weapons of mass destruction as suitable presents.  I can picture it now:    “Son, on this holy day, please do not take aim at your brother”.  God bless us everyone.

There are a finite number of great gift ideas for my guys that are not terribly expensive, have some redeeming value, and will make them smile when they rip the paper off.  I will not tell anyone what those are because we are saving those ideas for ourselves. 

So, for all those people we love dearly who want to buy just the right thing for my boys this holiday season, I’ll tell you this.  Anything you get them will be terrific because it comes from you.  If you are close enough to our boys to spend money on them, you generally know what makes them tick.  Trust your instincts.  Use the force.  The best presents always turn out to be the ones that were bought by the seat of your pants.  And in return, we won’t ask you what to buy for your kids.  

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