By Jen Shragge

I am certain my family thinks I’m crazy. This is likely for a number of reasons, but the main reason around the holiday season is that I turn into the Grinch. Don’t get me wrong: I am a Jewish gal who loves Christmas. I love the lights and the songs and the cookies and the whole nine yards. I also love Hanukkah. The chocolate gelt (coins), the potato latkes and singing the prayers over the candles with my big kid every year. What I don’t love it the stuff. My kids already have so much stuff. Everybody wants to get them more stuff. We don’t need stuff.

What my kids do need is experiences! If you want to give my child a present I think you are a wonderful person. I really and truly do. But what they could really use is lessons. Sports lessons are great. Music lessons are equally fantastic. Even a lesson they haven’t tried before would be welcome at this house! A week at summer camp is also a big hit around here. Just let me know and I will make your life easy and steer you in the right direction. What else do they need? Your time and attention. Please take my big kid to a musical or a show or even a movie. He would love that and talk about it for weeks afterwards. My big kid also loves mini golf and bowling and LEGOland. Take him sledding and for a hot chocolate afterwards. The possibilities are endless. The baby isn’t exactly the most enjoyable theatre companion at the moment, but I don’t mind things that she could use in the future. Or, there are some great facilities in our area that have drop in play time and classes that require a membership so that would be a fantastic idea. Our city also has a world class zoo and amazing museums. They also have family memberships. Hint hint!

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I also want my children to have a stress-free education. A financial contribution to their RRSP is always appreciated and we will ensure is well used.

But you REALLY want to get them something. Something they can unwrap. Sigh. Okay. Books. We love books and even though I’m sure paper books will soon be a thing of the past I am a sucker for a good book. If you must wrap a gift, let’s aim for reading material.

Dr. Seuss said it best, “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”

Happy Holidays!