Gifts for Children should not be ‘for children’

After all, what was the point of teaching children to be children? They were naturally good at it.
“Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett

Personally, I think that children should not get gifts ‘for children’. You know the kind of gift — make-believe toys that do not work. Cheap crappy quality stuff. Like a spyglass that is of shoddy quality and more a help for imagination than actual viewing, or a toy gun that does not even shoot nerf darts. I think gifts should work — should expand the mind, provide a new perspective, allow the person to do something s/he could not do before.

So for Yule, my niece and nephew get working tools.

Unfortunately, my nice is a “real” girl who likes little-girl stuff (Barbie, Disney’s Princesses, Filly and the like). This is a no-go for me. However, being creative is not. So she gets a book about drawing ‘little princesses and fairies’ (Manga style), two sets of Manga pens, and a layout pad. I don’t know whether she likes to draw, but at least she gets the professional equipment to do so — and create the princesses and fairies herself.

Yule gift for my niece — it’s professional enough that she can do some serious work with it. Not sure whether it is suitable for a child who is 5 (and a half) … but better overshoot it than give her something that is without merit.

Apparently my nephew is a fan of “The Lord of the Rings”, and given that a ring that is real gold or can turn the wearer invisible is beyond my (or anyone’s) financial or technical expertise, he gets a monocular (spyglass) of ‘sufficient’ quality — together with a book that contains 500 pages (yet is very thin, think hymn-book) and two pens. After all, Bilbo, Frodo and Sam all did not only live a life of adventures but also write about them. I hope these gifts inspire him to do so.

Well, I packed the presents before I remembered to photograph them … 😉

Thing is — as a child I hated to get stuff that did not work … and yes, it may be that I am compensating for what I lacked. And sure, good quality costs money and sometimes this stuff is dangerous. On the other hand, unless you trust the child (within reason), how can s/he grow? I am not doing the same mistake again and giving stuff that my brother confiscates (like a Swiss army knife or a toy helicopter). But I think that Yule is a brilliant opportunity to make a small contribution to the development of your family.

And I hope these two gifts will achieve this.