Many moons ago, I was a nanny for a wee little thing who did not want for anything. Granted, the child was not quite 2, so her list of actual wants was limited to things like hugs and chocolate chips. Materially, though, I could not provide anything extra that her parents could not get. As her 2nd birthday approached, it got me thinking: what do I get the child that needs nothing? I knew her parents would not expect anything extravagant, but I wanted to get her something special. Eventually I came up with a gift to be proud to give – we would go on an Adventure!
Our Adventure was partially dictated by the season – it was an October birthday, so to the apple orchard we went! After an hour or so of various hay-related fun we stuffed ourselves with cider donuts, then headed to the library where she stuffed herself on lots and lots of books. A great time was had, and no wrapping paper was harmed in the process.
Skip forward to having my own children, little beings who do not need anything, yet others always insist on GIVING them things (People, my house is only so big, and I am not good at keeping it clean with what we already have. Quit shopping.). There also emerged a trend that starts around their fall birthdays and ramps up in December, where I kept getting asked what the kids want or need (Nothing. My kids need nothing. Please stop pressuring me.). Every year I had to come up with items that grandparents and Godparents and aunts and uncles could get my children, plus figure out what we were going to give them, and decide what the big guy in red who celebrates Jesus’ birthday by breaking and entering was going to leave for them, AND keep it all straight.
So, I brought back the Adventure, for our family birthdays and for Christmas, and it has been great (I would like to mention here that our birthdays fall, one a month, from August until November. Then it is Christmas. That is a big chunk of time where we would constantly be thinking about presents. Not anymore!). The kids love it because they get to choose something fun they would not normally get to do, and have fun planning their adventure. We love it because it eliminates the stress of buying them (and each other) things we do not need. Everyone loves it because it is generally a really fun time.
The kids do get the option to get gifts for their birthday, but have chosen an Adventure every time. They know they can ask others for the physical stuff, and still get to have a blast as a family. We get excited anticipating the next Adventure, and enjoy reminiscing about it long after. Adventures have become a great tradition in our family…speaking from experience.