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Fairy princesses making fairy houses at Sher Bear's birthday party
Sher Bear had a birthday this week.  Yup!  She's FIVE.  I wish you could see her do it - her hand so proudly foisted forward, palm out, fingers at attention, face all smile and eyes.

Fairies deliver "dew drops" through the Fairy Obstacle Course, designed by Jor Man

Lately, there has been considerable discussion amongst my friends about gifts and how to handle them.  So here's how we do birthdays and Christmas.  I'm not saying my way is the right way - just sharing how we do things, because I understand it's a little different than the norm.

A pixie and her dew drop in the tunnel
First off, now that the kids are getting a substantial allowance for doing their "helping hands" it is expected that they will buy presents for birthdays and Christmas.  So, for Sher Bear's birthday, both Jor Man and Campster chose and purchased presents for her with their own money.  Creativity is fine.  They can make something instead of buying something.  This helps keep the focus on the giving rather than the getting.  They really love giving their gift, and seeing the joy in response.

Sher Bear and her Fairy cake

On the child's actual birthday, they get to chose what we do that day.  For example, Sher Bear chose to have coffee cake (homemade and gluten free) for breakfast, waffles (ditto) for lunch and (get this!) popcorn with chocolate chips and marshmallows for dinner.  She didn't have to do her chores that day.  And she got to decide what games we played, what movies we watched, etc.  She ate it up!  Jor Man was wonderful about it.  Campster learned a lesson in humility.  It was hard for her to have Sher Bear get her way all day.

For her birthday party, Sher Bear got to invite five friends (and their siblings and parents) because she is five years old.  She picked the menu (Cranberry everything!) and the theme (Fairies).  We went all out, and did it up really nice for her.  And, as usual, that was her present from Mom and Dad.  The party IS the present.

Playing Fairy Freeze Dance
We do a similar thing at Christmas.  We all get little presents for each other, but for the kids, Mom and Dad do the stockings.  Our kids know "the truth about Santa" from the very beginning.  So they know that Mom buys the presents to put in the stockings.  And the stockings are their Christmas presents from Mom and Dad.  They have plenty of other presents to open on Christmas day - and, again, we want the emphasis to be on Jesus and on giving.

To that end, each child chooses the gifts that they bought and wrapped, and hands them to their recipients.  This makes it special between the giver and the giv-ee.

Fairies playing "Hot Potato" with the "Take Home" bags
I was surprised by how many people I shared this with who thought that they had to get their kids presents on their birthdays.  Expensive stuff.  Nope.  Not here.  We simply can't afford it.  And I know that a lot of other families can't right now, either.  And yet we feel that our kids have to have stuff that they don't need and we can't afford in order for us to feel like "good" parents.  Let yourself off the hook.

Wish you were here!

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