When the toy does less, the child does more, and that’s why I love these presents

by Mr. Sheehy

I’m cooking up my children’s top 20 books list, to be published later this week, but for now I wanted to drop a couple Christmas present highlights. My children get way too many presents, because their family is wonderful and generous. We actually don’t give them our presents on Christmas, choosing instead to lessen the present-overload and dole out the rest of the presents as it seems appropriate. At the moment, for example, there are three unopened packages beneath the tree, the same number that were there last night at this time, and through the entire day, no one even asked us about opening them.

One thing that was particularly fun about this Christmas was that the older the girls get, the more fitting the presents become. Take a few of the Elder’s gifts as an example: two dresses, clip-on earings, bouquets of fake flowers, and a box containing six pairs of high heels. Middle, meanwhile, received legos and her own dress and sweater, and today was the first day she hasn’t worn the dress since Christmas. These gifts came from various sources, and what it means to me is that our families have have our children pegged.

Anyway, here are four gifts our children received from other people that I thought were great and worth noting:


Snowmen at Night — the pictures are beautiful, the story is funny, and I don’t even mind that it rhymes.

The Jesus Storybook Bible–this ranks up there with the See With Me Bible as our best Bible book for kids. Sally Lloyd-Jones’s tone gives away that she knows how children listen, and the book reads to my children like they’re smart enough to know the truth, but young enough to need to be addressed in interesting ways.


Pop Beads by Parents Magazine Co.–perhaps everyone else knew about these, but I didn’t, and I think they’re great. Eldest loves the jewelry we make and we all wear it willingly, and then today I made a person-ish thing out of some and Middle dragged it around the house talking for him. His name is “Mr. Man” and he got so tired tonight that Middle took him to bed with her. The thing that doubly sold me on these was the tag line Parents magazine put on their stuff: When the toy does less, the child does more. Amen.

Disney Princess Shoes–I don’t care about the Disney princess thing, and in many ways, neither do my girls. What they really care about is that they just got six pairs of dress up shoes that clomp and bang and make them look as fancy as can be,  and we’re going to have our work cut out for us this summer reminding them that they are inside play shoes, not outside shoes.

They got more, oh so much more, but those are some that I didn’t even know existed until our children unwrapped the paper that covered them. What a blessing our families are–a blessing in their generosity, and a blessing in their understanding of our children.

May you be surrounded by such people this New Year’s Day. As always, thanks for reading.