What I Really Want

I had an interesting discussion last night with my wife. She was wondering what I wanted to shop for on boxing day (we typically get cash as a present from a few people). Now granted I do have a few smaller wants on my Christmas list, but beyond those I was having trouble coming up with anything else (as I mentioned here).

Then I realized I still have a long list of wants, but right now most of them can’t really be bought. For example:

  • I want our second baby to be born healthy and around 40 weeks (unlike our son who came at 30 weeks) and to be able to spend time with him or her.
  • I want my son to talk better. We’ve noticed a bit of a delay with his speech.
  • I want less junk in my house and in order to really organize it well.

Part of this lack of material wants is from the fact I’ve already collected most of the toys I really want in life. I’ve got the MP3 player, laptop, wide screen TV,  and a surround sound system.  Yet another part of this is loving what I already have and appreciating where I am in my life.  Things don’t really bring lasting happiness as much as experiences and people can.  The sooner you can learn that the wealthier you will be in every possible way of your life.

So this Christmas I challenge you to come up with one gift that isn’t based on getting more stuff, but instead giving something to address a person’s deepest wishes.  Give something that where the dollar value is not important, but rather the meaning behind it.  For example, give a small photo album to a friend with  pictures of good times you had together or just funny photos.  Or perhaps give the gift of your time where you block out a day of your busy life to just spend it with them.  Be creative and have fun, you might be surprised how well gifts like this can go over.

9 thoughts on “What I Really Want”

  1. Nice post. I’m also at the “I have enought toys” stage in my life, and my toys are treated well, they’ll last a while. Living so far from my immediate family, I don’t really have the option to give fancy material goods to them (the postage would cripple me, and Irish shops aren’t all that user-friendly to people on the other end of a line) so use some of the tactics you mention above every year. It is worthwhile.

  2. My daughter spoke fairly well starting around 18 months or so, enough to ask for what she wanted. I was really worried about my son when he was still having real difficulty with even simple words at 2 years. Now he’s coming up on three years and I can’t get him to stop talking.

    I think the key is speaking to them like they are people, not babies, and reading stories. Though my son can’t read yet he loves opening books and describing what’s happening on the page.

    Every child will develop at their own pace on certain things. I’m sure there are many things that yours excels that other kids the same age may be just average.

    On another note, you and I seem to have a very similar request on one thing we want . . . less junk. We filled our apartment to the breaking point and then decided to buy a house. It’s slowly filling now and makes me sick to think that all this stuff we could just live without. It makes me think more and more a about just saving up enough and moving to a third world country and live in a hut somewhere.

  3. I’m with you and Guinness; I already have most of the toys I would want (though I must admit to yearning after that surround sound). What I want most is of course the same as what you do, Tim. I want my upcoming child to be born healthy and full term.

    I haven’t figured out what I’m getting most of my Christmas list yet (let’s hear it for procrastination and lethargy!), but I have worked out my Grandmother’s 90th birthday present. She turns that distinguished age on January 2nd. She lives in a senior’s residence and has no need for more stuff.

    I’ve bought her a digital photo frame which I’m busy filling with photos from my mom, aunt and cousins of important people and events from her life. She’ll be able to see her kids and grandkids grow up, get married, and have children of their owm. It’ll let her have them all with her without the bulk of albums or multiple frames and without her having to learn to use one of those “dreadful computers”.

    I’m hoping it’ll be meaningful to Granny. It already is for me. In the process of going through my parents’ stash of old photos I’ve found pictures of my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and even one set of great-great-great grandparents. So very cool. So very glad I don’t have to pose for hour-long photo portraits, or wear those outfits.

  4. I’m with you guys – I want a healthy baby next spring, a son who talks (although he did said “baby” quite clearly for the first time yesterday). I’d also like less stuff – I have a nice surround sound system which is mostly packed away because my son will destroy it 🙂

    We haven’t really done much for Xmas gifts – in the last three years we’ve moved twice, did one nightmare major renovation which resulted in major financial issues, and had one child so gifts at Xmas haven’t really been happening (or very important to us).

    Tim, how old is your son?


  5. “Every child will develop at their own pace on certain things.”

    While this is very true, it’s very easy to use this as an excuse for turning a blind eye to real problems. My wife is a speech-language pathologist, and routinely sees children with severe speech or language delays, who could have been identified and treated much earlier if their parents knew the typical milestones and noticed the problem sooner.

    There are specific milestones that children should reach by certain ages, and if they haven’t reached those milestones (or you, as a parent, have concerns), you need to get to a Speech-Language Pathologist ASAP so that a proper assessment can be completed. If problems are caught and treated early, the child is much more likely to “catch up” to their peers.

    The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) has a chart of these milestones on their web site:


  6. This year I asked people who asked me what I wanted to make a “creative” contribution to charity that will better someone’s life.

    So I am guessing what I will get is a goat sponsored for a family in country X or a child sponsored for Y in Country Z.

    The secret to life is to use your brains to make lots of money and then give it away to someone somewhere else who has no chance at all.

    Teach your children that secret and you will be a winner.

  7. Well, this will sound very Grinch-like but beginning a couple years ago, I have banned Christmas gifts at the Christmas celebration at our home. (Well, except for gifts for the kids.)

    I can’t tell you how nice the lead-up to Christmas is without worrying about what to get my mother-in-law, or whether my sister-in-law will really like that blouse. It’s easy to shop for the kids, and they truly love Christmas and the gifts they receive.

    As for us adults, it’s so much better to focus on just getting to spend the time together eating a lovely meal and drinking fabulous wine. All those hours spent opening gifts we never really wanted in the first place, pretending they are really fabulous, and then cleaning up all that paper and those boxes, are much better spent catching up with each other.

    I have enjoyed our Christmas celebration so much more when the focus is just on enjoying being with each other rather than what’s in those wrapped boxes.

  8. Wow, I have one busy weekend where I don’t check the blog and I get a lot of feedback.

    Mike – The kid is turning three right away.

    George – Thanks for the note. I should explain to everyone that my son has been in speech therapy for a few months already. His delay was caught by a follow up program we are in due to his premature birth. He is making progress, but it should take a while for him to catch up. Thanks for the support everyone.

    John – Very good idea. Thanks for sharing.

    Sydney – We didn’t go that far ourselves, but there has been a steady scale back of Christmas as the family has grown in the last five years. My mother even turned Christmas dinner into a potluck after complaining for years it was too much work. We kept trying to tell her we can all cook, so let us help. I guess it finally sunk in.


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