My daughter is very pumped for her birthday that is still more than a month away. A while ago, my wife and I created a wishlist on Amazon to help guide people who wanted to give gifts to our children toward things we wanted in our house. This list is by no means an expectation, and we send it only to close family. It also serves as a place to stick interesting things we come across and may want to get later for our kids. I recently overhauled the list, broke it in two, and moved it to my wife’s Amazon account. I do like the widget that lets me add anything from any website to the Amazon wishlist. I use it for my own wishlist that also serves as a dumping ground for things I might want to get from the library or buy some day.
We usually ask for no presents at our children’s birthday parties with the understanding that there are some families for whom this is unthinkable. This means our kids get a few, no overwhelming, number of presents, and our house is not bursting to overflowing with stuff. Unfortunately, many of these things find their way out the door fairly quickly because they represent some stereotypical portrayals of gender and race. We frame this as “stories” that our family believes in, and we try to find alternate toys that align better with our values. It is hard to share the wishlist to a larger community, but a polite, non-judgmental, no-pressure, suggestion for those compelled to bring things hopefully might not annoy them too much and forestall some of the drama of presents we just can’t keep around.
This is a really hard balancing act now, and it will become impossible in the very near future.