I hope all of my readers had an amazing Halloween, however you chose to celebrate it. Little Dude dressed as Charley Brown, and Mom and Dad got in on the fun as Linus and Lucy. We didn’t make it Trick-or-Treating this year, but we had fun handing out candy and seeing the other kids’ costumes.

As we enter the mad race toward the winter holidays, I took a moment to sit down with my husband and reflect on what we want for Little Dude this season. I keep a running Amazon Wish List for my son, both for family and for us, so we don’t forget what we intend to purchase for him as he needs it. We share this list with relatives. Even so, I told my husband I would like to send out an email to the family with some ideas of what we would like best for Little Dude this year, prompted by the morning I sat and watched four separate noisemakers doing their thing as Little Dude sat happily in the middle of the chaos.

I am not anti-gift; gift giving is something I look forward to each year. I am not anti-noisemaking/electronic toy; Little Dude loves his noisemakers and I enjoy watching him play with them. However, I want to make sure we don’t overdo it, and that we also encourage creative play.

If you are like me, please feel free to steal any or all of this letter to pass along to your family this year.

Good morning,

I LOVED all the thoughtful, well-chosen gifts Little Dude got for his birthday – lots of quality things he can grow into. As we head into the holiday season, I just wanted to touch base and share some thoughts and idea for Christmas.

As Little Dude continues to grow, I plan to keep the same wish list I started for him. I like having all the ideas in one place.

Unless you’ve already gotten something, I’d like to steer clear of battery operated noisemakers this Christmas. He has plenty (and LOVES them!), so I wanted to let him enjoy those and add to his “old fashioned” blocks, manipulatives, puzzles, trains, cars, art supplies, etc. collection. I want to make sure that he has things for “creative play”. We are asking Santa to bring a toy kitchen. Mom and Dad might get him some play food or pots and pans – not sure yet – but things to add to a toy kitchen experience could also work. I’m also playing around with the idea of getting him some cute hooded bath towels if anyone sees a cute one.

As he continues to get older, gifting experiences is always welcome too – day passes to a zoo or museum, etc. He also has a savings account and will soon have a college savings plan, so a small tangible gift along with a contribution to the college fund is always nice too.

I want to make sure we continue to teach him as he gets older that it’s not about how many gifts you get, but that they were chosen with care and are things you truly need or add value to your life – not something that’s going to get piled in a corner and end up in the garage sale bin. Thank you for making that a success so far!