From the Teachable Moment December 1996:
"It's that time of year again in which I have to make major decisions. As the Christmas season gets underway, a struggle begins taking place in my mind. I owe the inspiration for this topic to my son, Jared. I could not think of anything to write about this month. In desperation, I asked him if he had any ideas and he hit the nail on the head. In fact, because this struggle has been taking up so much of my brainpower, it really is no surprise I could not think of anything else to write about.
The indecision is over what type of presents to buy the children for Christmas. We like to celebrate by giving each other presents on a small scale. I struggle every year because I don't like to buy the commercialized gifts that pop out at us everywhere. I like to buy (could you already guess?) educational gifts. Gifts that will help the children to learn, grow and develop talents. It's a challenge to stay balanced with this. I think the kids worry every year that I'm going to go overboard and go educational all the way. They've developed their defense strategies of asking grandparents for the really junky gifts they know I will draw the line at.
Some of the educational gifts in the past have sat around for a couple of months while the glamorous gifts were played with for a short time. I have noticed, however, that sooner or later, they are pulled out of the boxes and utilized. I usually get a "That was pretty neat, Mom!". I have been encouraged this year by a couple of the kids actually asking for something out of a science catalog. So, I will continue to strive for balance and not go overboard. Hey, have you seen some of the neat stuff in the Edmund Scientifics catalog? Another homeschooling mother introduced that to me!"
2012 Followup: Now that those years have flown past, I look back and don't regret doing everything I could to help my children learn. I am happy with their ability to continue learning, to reason through subjects. I wished for my children to grow up and become thinkers and they have. They are all good people and that is a great contribution to the human race! Now, I am thinking through educational presents for grandchildren!
"Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known." Garrison Keillor