Hanukkah is here…already! I cannot believe that we are already in the thick of the Holiday season. For those with infants and toddlers that celebrate Hanukkah, eight nights of presents can be very overwhelming. The thought of having to purchase 8 gifts, and where are you going to put them all?
Last year my little one was a mere 5 months during the holiday season. I was super excited to celebrate Hanukkah, but really, was she going to know the difference? Was she going to appreciate 8 gifts? Of course not. I know that her grandparents were excited to get her gifts, so I left the real gift purchasing to them. My husband and I found a great item that contained 15 different teething toys. Each one was individually wrapped and they all came neatly packaged in a large plastic container that in itself would provide endless hours of play! She was teething, I felt like I was celebrating Hanukkah properly, it was a perfect pick. Plus, a year later she is still playing with the container!
This year she’s 17 months and now enjoys ripping paper and discovering new things. So 8 gifts it is. But where on earth am I going to put 8 gifts? More importantly, does she really need 8 new gifts? Luckily, my sister, a mother to a teen and tween, has given me some great advice. If I choose to purchase 8 separate toys, first, and foremost, don’t go crazy. Spending under $20.00 per gift is more than enough. Second, allow her to open the wrapping, see what she got and then sit back and observe her interest in the toy. She’ll probably be super excited in that moment, but move on to something else and forget about that new toy. That gives you the opportunity to take that new toy and put it away for another day. Honestly, she’s just developing her sense of object permanence (a concept that begins to emerge between 18 and 24 months where children become able to form mental representations of objects and can symbolically imagine things that cannot be seen). If, on the other hand, she starts tugging at the toy and wanting to play with it right away, let her.
I tend to purchase items that are age appropriate as well as some that may be a little advanced for her right now. The advanced toys get put away for a month or so and taken out as a ‘surprise new toy’ when she is ready to play with them. Also, if you want to go for the big purchase, split it up into multiple nights. Most toys come with multiple parts. Give your child pieces of the toy until the last night reveals what the large toy actually is.
Most young children simply enjoy the act of ripping open the wrapping paper to discover what’s underneath. If you need a reminder, check out this video of a three year old opening a gift and receiving a paperclip (https://youtu.be/B4lbIZtHhqA). It really reminds us of the innocence of children and how appreciative they are just to receive a gift.