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  • Stay on target!

    When the monkeys were younger, my problem with Christmas shopping was never what to get them but when to stop buying for them. I was mindful of not spoiling them; people who get everything they want inevitably suffer a decline in ambition.

    Now that the monkeys are teenagers, I am almost at a complete loss.

    They are in possession of portable entertainment devices. Our home also has a video game console, albeit not the one The Boy preferred. While they always have fun with the Smithsonian products I place under the tree, it's kinda boring to only get "educational" stuff as gifts.

    Rock Band will be purchased, but as a "family" gift. Every year we also get movies and games (table and video) for the family. Individual gifts, however, are what stump me this year.

    The Girl is an artist. She loves to paint and sketch. She also plays the flute, although I never hear her practicing anything. However, it's not her entire life. She also wastes an inordinate amount of her free time playing MMORPGs. Okay, she plays just one. She regularly spends her own cash money to buy virtual crap for her avatar even though gameplay is free.

    The Boy loves computers and video games. He also plays an MMORPG, and exchanges labor for paid gameplay. He has a blog about video games. He will talk you into a coma about video games--you'll be like that guy on Airplane! who douses himself with gasoline and lights a match before Ted Striker is asked to fly the plane.

    The Baby loves her Webkinz brand stuffed animals, but she really has way too many stuffed animals altogether. She is also an origami prodigy. You should see her miniature dragon. The full-size is hard enough to fold, but her mini is a perfect rendition and it's only one inch long. She's really artsy-craftsy, and enjoys learning new skills. Oh, and here's a surprise--she also has a favorite MMORPG, but it's Webkinz-related.

    I had considered just purchasing each kid a brand new laptop, thereby allowing us to declutter the dining room, but several clever friends pointed out that laptops are non-repairable by DIY enthusiasts like me, and they get dropped/damaged on a regular basis. Plus, since they travel, they might very well end up in bedrooms, which is not allowed in my house. Instead I will upgrade the desktops we have and redesign my office space to create a more open look, replacing the hulking armoire-style cabinets.

    I don't want to wimp out and just hand them all cash this year, but I'm stuck in a vacuum and just can't think of anything. I also don't want to spoil them or spend a metric assload of money.


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