Christmas is just around the corner. You know this because the younger children are writing letters to Santa and the teenagers are dropping not too subtle hints about what they really want for gifts. Pay attention, fellow step parents, because this is a prime opportunity to make some points with your step children. When deciding on presents for your step children, it is wise to keep a few things in mind.
Find out what your step-children really want or need
It may be a simple matter of just asking them what is on their Christmas wish list. If a child is not forthcoming with that information or tells you it doesn’t matter, there may be a reason why. The child might be testing you out to see if you know him well enough to figure out what his interests are.
The best gifts are the ones they can keep.
Find out what both biological parents think is an appropriate gift. There is no need to create tension between your spouse and the ex by choosing a gift that might be viewed as offensive. It is especially important to take the views and values of the custodial parent into consideration. If they don’t like the children to have toy guns, there is no point in getting the child a toy gun. The child will just be disappointed if he is not allowed to keep a gift because it is deemed inappropriate by the parent he lives with.
Have a strategic plan.
- Know what all of the parents in this child’s life plan to give him as gifts. This way the child does not end up with duplicate gifts. Keep your receipts just in case.
- When in doubt, give teenagers gift cards or gift certificates to stores you know they like to shop in. Teens are notoriously picky about what they will be seen wearing or using. They also like expensive gadgets that you may not be willing to shell out the total amount for. This way they can add their own money to the gift card and buy what they really want.
- Never give your step children cash in lieu of a gift unless you clear it with your spouse first. Though cash may be appreciated it is even more impersonal than giving a gift card. At least by giving a gift card, you show that you were at least thinking about where they like to shop.
- Make them gifts. Sewing your step-children quilts or knitting them scarves shows them you were willing to put a lot of effort into making their Christmas special. If you venture to make a gift, I suggest you let the child choose the pattern and colors before you begin. If they are interested, take this bonding opportunity to teach your step-children how to create a project of their own.
My step children rarely remember if a gift was from me or from their father. They tend give their father credit for the gifts they like anyway. Christmas isn’t about who gets the credit for the awesome gift choice, it’s about bringing joy to someone. It is about the giving.