“Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.”

This reminds me of the traditional bride’s wedding-day advice to have something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. But this one isn’t about brides or weddings, it’s about buying children’s gifts at Christmastime – or any gift-giving occasion, for that matter.

I first heard this saying from my hairdresser, whose son is close in age to my grandchildren. We were talking about buying gifts for kids, and she recited the rhyme for me. I’ve taken it to heart as a guide for buying Christmas gifts for our three grandkids.

Since we don’t live near them or see them as often as we’d like, our first task as a birthday or Christmas approaches is to ask our son and daughter-in-law for ideas on what the kids would like, which is also indirectly asking the parents what they think the kids need, or what they – the parents – would like the kids to have. Or not have. Especially since the kids’ ages are 1, 2, and almost 4, and they can’t all answer for themselves, although that time will be here soon enough.

We also ask for the kids’ sizes, and hope they won’t grow out of any clothes we buy them by the time the gift-giving occasion arrives. And we always ask what the kids are into these days, whether it’s specifics like Baby Shark and Blippi, or more general categories like trucks, dinosaurs, and unicorns.

This gives us a pretty good idea of things to put on our shopping list. And books have always been a part of our gift-giving, whether they were “Read me a story” classics or books that the kids will be able to read for themselves as they grow older.

Without realizing it, we have always pretty much followed the “Something they want…” guidelines, and we’ll continue to do that as long as it’s feasible. And it occurs to me now that this is good advice to follow, not just for young kids, but kids of all ages. And I include everyone in that category, especially around Christmastime.

That goes for you, too, by the way. If you’re in need of a bit of pampering, a reward for finishing a project, or a pick-me-up after particularly difficult or trying times, consider giving yourself a gift of one or more items from these categories as a special treat.

So whomever you’re buying gifts for, I hope this advice will help you make your selections. And I hope you, and they, will get lots of pleasure – both from the giving and the receiving – of something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

December 5, 2022
©Betty Liedtke, 2022

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