I’ve been meaning to share one of my favorite Christmas gifts that we gave to Mary this year. I was starting to think that you’d all be bored with a holiday recap, but this one could really be given at any time of the year. And it was such a success, I had to share. (And if you haven’t read Courtney’s post about her holiday giving this year, it is worth the look.)
Before Christmas, I began asking my children what kinds of things they were hoping to receive under the tree. Time and time again, Mary said things like, "A new refrigerator for you. A drill for Daddy. A broom for the kitchen floor." No matter how much I probed, or shoved catalogs in her face, I couldn’t get her to give me anything to work with, (though I did appreciate her simple, generous spirit). Finally, one day she settled on "a box of marbles". And that was the present idea that she stuck with for the rest of the holiday pre-season.
So I decided to take the idea and expand on it a bit. Of course, I couldn’t think of anything worse or more dangerous to have rolling around the floors of my house. With a newborn scooting all over the place trying out anything from mud to dryer lint in her little mouth, it sounded like potential disaster. I figured I better review my choking baby techniques!
I decided to improvise and make a few additions to her request. Dan built her a large wood box with a lid that slides off easily. The handle is fashioned from one of the mushrooms I ordered and one of these days I’ll add some detail to it. He made the box deep enough that nothing is in danger of spilling out and she can really rifle through it without risking anything flying out of the box.
I knew I wanted to fill the box with marbles and treasures–things to sort and count, arrange and examine. I opted for the flat-sided glass marbles in the florist section of the craft store because I knew they wouldn’t roll away and get lost as easily as round marbles. I also knew how much she loved shells and since we sadly, don’t have a local source for collecting, I settled on a $2 bag of them at the craft store.
I also knew I wanted little wooden objects, too, so I filled it with all kinds of things from this online source. And of course, Amanda’s post about her acorns added some inspiration to include those as well. I added wooden items like robin’s eggs, buttons, tree shapes, mushrooms, bowls, ladybugs and egg carriers. I also got a small flat tray with compartments for her to sort some of her "treasures".
It turned out to be a really nice collection of things and one of the most inexpensive gifts under the Christmas tree. It is such a good feeling, seeing that it still gets attention every day. Mary and Emma sit over it and sort and share and ‘shop’ with the various treasures inside.
And a little girl who wanted to do something special for everyone else this Christmas, received something very special for herself.