June 12, 2012

End-of-School Gifts

The photo above is of the gift bags I prepared for the last day of school.  Somewhere along the line, it's become a tradition for me to give the kids a bag o' goodness to both celebrate and congratulate a year of hard work and good grades. (What will happen if they don't work hard, and/or bring home bad grades? Thankfully, that hasn't been an issue so far.)

It's a tradition, but not one that they've come to expect.  In other words, the kids didn't come home from school and automatically expect to find gifts, didn't mention anything, didn't start dropping hints. It's not like coming downstairs on Christmas morning and knowing that Santa has dropped by.

This year, the main gifts were a little nicer than usual -- Lily got a new camera, which she's needed for a while.  Tucker got a new MP3 player, to replace the one that mysteriously vanished earlier this year. Its loss has been baffling to us all, but heartbreaking to Tucker -- he loves his music, gets emotionally attached to his things, and so there were a few nights in the last months of crying himself to sleep over his lost gadget.  (His tears prompted me to tear apart the house, the toy bins, the cars -- it's just gone, and we're completely stumped as to where it went.)

The bags also contained new, personalized towels from Lands End, Celtic pattern coloring books for boredom, a Nate the Great book for Tucker, and two magazines for Lily -- including her first-ever copy of Mad. She's just discovered the animated television show, and loves the parodies and subversive humor.  Thanks to a good sale on Amazon Prime, they each also got a new DS game.

Yes, it was a lot, and yes, I would even agree that they're spoiled -- to a point.  There weren't other rewards for the first semester's report cards, no cash motivation for the good grades, no treats when Lily landed on the Honor Roll both semesters.   I think of these start-of-summer gifts as a way to get us all ready and excited for the long weeks ahead: new beach towels and sand shovels, sometimes water guns or pool toys, craft supplies, and always, always new books.

Their delight over the new camera and MP3 player was somehow better than Christmas. Both kids were truly surprised, and without a mountain of other gifts to distract them, they focused on and immediately started dug in and started playing. 
And reading. Lily was both thrilled and a little shocked by some of the content in Mad. "That is SO not appropriate!" she shouted, and laughed at the same time. (It's really not that bad, and I'm guessing most of the political and celebrity-based humor is going right over her head.)

Do you have a tradition to celebrate the end of the school year? And what's your stance on summer gifts? I'd love to hear.

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