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SS10 and Christmas Presents

CastleJJ's picture

SS will be coming to see us for Thanksgiving next week. It is the first time he will be back at our house since the 4th of July. DH asked him to bring a Christmas list since we won't see him again until December 26th and family has started asking us what SS wants. 

For context, every year, BM helps SS make a Christmas list to ensure that she, GF, and their families buy up everything before we even get the list. A few years ago, BM even had the gall to send DH the list and say "My parents and us already bought everything so I don't know what to tell you." So every year, DH goes off list and buys other things that he thinks SS would like. Our families usually gift him clothes, experiences, or gift cards. And usually, SS will produce a second list of a few random items a few days before Christmas, leaving us scrambling. 

This year, SS doesn't know what he wants. He asked for money to buy concessions at football games. He told DH that him and BM were working on a list this weekend and that SS had asked BM if he could use his tablet to research items before then and BM said "No," that she needed him to work on it with her. We know it's so she can monopolize the list again. SS is at an age where he doesn't really want anything other than video games or sporting equipment. DH and I agreed that if SS cannot produce a Christmas list, he is getting gift cards to GameStop, Dick Sports, or a visa gift card. I am not worrying about Christmas gifts for SS for weeks only to get a crappy secondary list a few days before Christmas. Gift cards also make it nice because it prevents extra junk from cluttering his room at our house when he is only here for 6 weeks every year. Every year he gets toys and every year they go unplayed with or played with a few times due to our limited visitation. Plus, I know BM and GF won't help SS pick out Christmas gifts for us, and since SS is arriving on December 26th, he will arrive empty handed. Usually, I talk to SS during one of his calls with DH and brainstorm ideas to buy for DH and then I go buy it and wrap it from SS. But I'm working on disengaging more so I don't feel inclined to go the extra mile this year. 

I want to be able to focus on DD this holiday season since it is her first Christmas and our first Christmas in our new house. I will happily wrap up a few gift cards for SS if it means making our lives easy this holiday season. And if SS is disappointed, maybe it will teach him to make a better list in advance for DH or to not give BM every item he wants on his first list, saving some items for DH. 


Noway2b1's picture

For their birthdays I now put together a "snack basket" chips, drinks, treats, and other fun food items along with a gift card. They love it. I buy a dollar store clothes basket and fill it from there and the regular store. I find out from mom what each individual kid likes. 

Yesterdays's picture

My husband did this snack basket idea for my son's bday and it was a big hit! I will say, don't tell bio mom about it at all if you do the basket snack idea  because she'll try to steal the idea and do it before you.!!

Lifer33's picture

With a list for years,for all the same issues you have with ss and bm. She always spends thousands.

Dh gets hopelessly stuck and miserable, so I step in and hit the store I work at. Sells all kinds of tat but ss seems to appreciate the surprises. 

For his birthday I got him a cheap slushie machine that you have to manually crank the handle to crush the ice, some tube lighting he could wind around anything he wanted. A lava lamp,  Chocolate poop. Etc

Useless gimmicky junk really but didn't cost a lot and kept him entertained.

Survivingstephell's picture

Give the kids an experience. That will be something BM can't do and take the wind out of BM's sails. How about going back to that place SS loved , was a friend of the family and SS took BM to after the fact. That was your story right?  Insert smirk.   Also don't worry about when he gets there.  It's a part of divorce life, act normal about it and SS won't grow up stunted from a split holiday.  (I know he'll be stunted in other ways do to BM) 

Winterglow's picture

This is a great idea! Firstly, because you'll be making memories and nothing is more precious. Secondly, because it will make SS feel special (something that might be lacking in gift cards especially when the world is going to revolve around the new baby). 

CastleJJ's picture

It's hard to do experiences anymore. We have done gift cards to the zoo, museums, etc. but he has been to those multiple times and is over them. We don't have the money really to do any trips so I don't want to gift that if we can't deliver on it.

Ispofacto's picture

Trampoline park, cosmic bowling, roller skating, go carts, laser tag, six flags?


Yesterdays's picture

One idea, although a bit pricey is I got my kids one of those movie projectors that you can project onto a wall and it also comes with a huge screen. So you could have movie nights in your backyard with the kids. So even if bio mom did buy one also it wouldn't matter. But don't tell her what you're getting

My advice... Forget about the list altogether as bio mom is super annoying. Doing so will take bio mom out of the equation. Don't give her that power. Just buy something you know he'll like and forget about it and forget about bio mom. 

justmakingthebest's picture

It's hard when they won't give you anything to work with! This is my first year like this (BS17, DD15, Exchange Student 16, SS22). Usually I have SOME idea on what to get them. 

For most of my kids lives I went with the base 4 present rule: Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. Santa would throw in some others when they were young, family would also spoil them. But I always liked the concept of the 4 gifts. 

Maybe something he wants is the cash/gift cards, need: bathroom supplies for the tween boy, Wear: Can't go wrong with a hoodie, and read: At that age my son LOVED "Ready Player 1". 

CastleJJ's picture

I think we have an idea. My parents are building a second house in Florida. My parents are going to gift him a 1 day pass to either Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens or Disney and DH and I are going to get him a set of kids golf clubs so he can golf with DH either here or in Florida. Maybe a new small suitcase since his old one is for little little kids. Get him some clothes, new books, maybe a gift card, and some snacks for his stocking. 

AgedOut's picture

I like those ideas. I was going to suggest and outing to a mall for some random item and then a nice walk around it, pay attention to what interests him and build off that. 

MissK03's picture

Sea world is the worst!!! Universal is the way to go! Sorry I had to get that out. I just went this summer. Horrible.

dragonfly878's picture

Each year we get SS15 a new wallet and fill it with gift cards to his favorite places, movie tickets, etc. it's a simple gift- but he seems to like it.

Cover1W's picture

This totally reminded my I'm giving my sis/neice a big gift bag/box from Costco this year filled with goodies!