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24.11.12

Christmas and The Second Child

I've always loved Christmas, and my husband loves it too. Before children we would still make a fuss of it, despite a lot of people saying that as you get older it doesn't mean much anymore.
Well, we disagree with that.
One of my favourite memories of Christmas whilst living in Cambridgeshire was driving to Bedford, doing our Christmas shopping, going for lunch and discovering Bacon and Brie sandwiches for the first time, looking around at all of the beautiful lights, and stopping at our favourite garden centre to buy a real Christmas Tree.
We would have to do all of the travelling to family to give and receive presents, which was always so tiring as it involved a lot of driving to go to Norwich and to Lowestoft.

Now we have children Christmas is even better than before, if not a touch more expensive!
I love the magic of Father Christmas, although quite selfishly, I like to get the boys "big presents" from us as I don't want Father Christmas taking all of the credit!

Our playroom is currently a complete and utter mess! It's totally disorganised. Before Christmas we are planning a lethal sort out, and hoping that we can send a few toys to the hospital.
Although there is a two year age gap between the boys they do tend to play with the same items.
Charles is still completely obsessed with his Brio track and every Christmas and Birthday will consist of more track, more trains and the many accessories available.
He's also desperate for a scooter, and thankfully I've had a chat with Father Christmas and he said he'll bring him one, if he's a good boy.
Stocking fillers and other presents are so easy! In fact there is so much I want to get him that I'm having to be strict with the list and cross of things I could get him at other times.

But what about Harry?
This is where it gets tricky.

It's difficult buying for the second child. There's already a playroom full of suitable toys. With Charles Christmas was a time to renew and refresh his toy collection and move him up to the next level, whereas with Harry he is already playing with the toys we would get him for this age, and with the presents we would normally buy him for his 2nd birthday, because he is sharing his brothers toys.
We've become a lot stricter in terms of toys, which ones we know will get played with, which brands have the best quality, and being aware of all the little bits that come with each toy and how easy it is too lose those bits!

Also, anything we buy Harry doesn't instantly become just his. Charles will want to investigate and play too. Which is great in terms of sharing, but not great in terms of Harry enjoying his own toys.
Charles has chosen a Brio train to give to Harry for Christmas and even admitted that he wanted to get it for Harry because "I like it too and we can share it".

A lot of things we want to get him we then realise Charles already has or already has something similar, and there isn't much point in duplicating.
We want Harry to be able to have his own toys, especially things like Brio which he can eventually pass down to his children, but with Charles having an ever growing collection of Brio it makes it difficult.

We are left with a mixture of feelings.
We want to treat the boys equally, this is really important to us, and we want Harry to have his own things, but at the same time, we don't want to waste our money. We don't the playroom to have a new pile of unwanted and unused toys.

The boys are really lucky in that they have a lot of things so far, and I wonder if we have spoilt them too much in the past. The garden is full of toys: a slide, swing, playhouse, trike, car, digger + trailer, bike and a trampoline, so we can't buy anything for out there.

Although Harry doesn't understand Christmas yet we do, as does Charles, and not only do we not want to feel guilty if he doesn't have the same as Charles, but also we know that Charles will notice too.
Afterall, last year the first thing Charles wanted to do on Christmas Day was to help Harry open his presents before he opened his own.

Maybe a simple resolution is to plan a few hours to go to a toy shop, setting a budget, and letting the boys loose to see what they fall in love with, then making a decision to see if it's appropriate or necessary.

Are we alone with the difficulty of buying for the second child?