This Aunt's Journey in Gift Giving - The Big Day!

A 3-part series; experiences or stuff for kids. Blog 3/3.

The great Christmas Present Experiment of 2014 had launched.   With the intention of not adding to their stuff and organizing what they already had; my hubby and I gave two of our nieces a different gift this year:

A "Day of Fun" that included;

  • hanging with Aunt Robyn & Uncle Bob (gift in itself), 
  • shopping for organizational tools 
  • dinner at their favorite restaurant and
  • one hour of organizing – with a professional organizer to use those organization tools we bought

What I have found through my experiences feng shui’ing kids rooms is that when they are not just involved, but participating in the decisions, participating in the purging, participating in the end result - they get it.  They get it and more importantly, they've bought in.  And best of all, usually, they maintain it.

After exchanging a few pictures and some pre-planning with Eliza Cantlay of Simplicana I had a list of what we might need for our project.  I grabbed the girls and we went shopping!  We found most of what we needed at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Goods. They participated in picking out the items (based on our list/requirements) they wanted.   

I did have to get them back on track a few times.  No, we did not need to purchase a Katniss doll from Hunger Games. We had a blast and gleefully ran around getting what we might need and laughed a ton.

Finally the day was here. We had done our pre-work and the girls were ready.  The little one went first; a result of rock-paper-scissors; they were fighting over who got to go first.  I loved it!

The plan was that while Eliza worked with one; I’d be near with the other.  Close enough for questions (and pictures!) yet far enough away so that it was a personal and individual experience for each.   In this case; not just participating, but owning the experience.

I could hear the murmurs of conversation.  Eliza leading, asking questions, considering the answers and then making recommendations. Together they decided what items stayed, what was donated, what went to other places in the house and which storage containers were needed.  In one hour they had a completely organized cabinet.  The girls were so proud of themselves and the end result. 

I asked the older one about the experience.  "I liked it. I liked that it's organized and I finally have drawers."

Tell me about working with Eliza.  "She didn't just come in and go 'this goes here and that goes there'.  She asked me lots of questions and listened to me.  I like her."

All in all it was a very economical gift.  It was a bit more than what we usually spend; but the experience together was priceless.  What I didn't count on was how much fun I was going to have throughout the process.   We achieved the end result and deepened our niece/(favorite!) aunt bond.

I considered this experiment to be a slam dunk!  Now I've got to start brainstorming for the rest of the kids and next year!  What have I started?!