The Essence of Giving is in The Little Things

Momma's Gone City

Although considerably privileged, neither my husband nor I were raised amongst affluence. We were taught the value of a dollar through circumstance; Our parents have held full time jobs our entire lives for the most part, working hard and earning enough to provide for us without much extra. I never wanted for much, but I remember having strict boundaries for things and certainly not expecting more than I was given. I would like to say that I was grateful for all that I had but I’m not quite sure my own gratitude was learned until I became a parent.

Raising four children makes it easier to pare down when gifting over the holidays, but I admit I still have a ways to go when it comes to how much, and how many presents each of them receive. I delight so much in watching them open things that they like and have wanted that I tend to go overboard. It’s not something I’m proud of, and I’m making it a point to begin a new tradition of giving them only one or two things from us, and one thing from Santa. Part of being a child and getting so excited about new toys is truly understanding that they can’t, and don’t come easily. They’re young but I really want to instill in them that things cost money and Justin and I work hard to provide for them. As they get older we’ll likely start letting them to earn their own allowances, but until then I hope to impress upon them how much they have and how lucky they are by limiting how much they are given and when.

This year, our trip to New York City was our big gift to them. We took them to tour the Empire State Building, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, to see Santa in Santaland, and to gawk at toys at FAO Schwarz. It was the perfect trip back “home” to do all of these touristy things, most of which we had never done while we lived there. Because it involved a ton of holiday themed activities, it was pretty clear that these experiences were incredibly special; They didn’t ask for anything or expect more than what we were giving. Despite the extravagant events we had lined up, their favorite moments were spending time with old friends and visiting the beautiful little preschool they both attended. The day before we left, I hosted an event with American Greetings for their Creatacard app at Dylan’s Candy Bar, two things they all really love as well. We spent the day there surrounded by tons of friends from the blogging community, talking about the app while creating cards for Theo and our family back home in California.


Gifting for them, and for us, is in the little things that hold a lot of thought rather than big things that cost a lot, even if they’re memory making experiences. The Creatacard app embodies both of these things so well, it’s incredibly easy for me to embrace and encourage their creativity while using it. Jack, Zoe and Beau spent a ton of time creating two cards each, one for their class and one for family, telling them about our adventures in the city and drawing pictures depicting their favorite moments. It’s a small window for me to see what is the most meaningful to them while inspiring their imaginations and thought processes. The cards were sent directly from the event and a few have already showed up at our home merely days later, just in time for show and tell.


We closed out the trip by walking down to Battery Park and taking a boat out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, something I did on my first trip to New York City when I was Jack’s age. We made tons of memories together as a family in my favorite city, and those experiences are a much greater gift than anything we could ever give them. I’m incredibly proud of them not only for being excellent travelers but for acknowledging and truly appreciating that aspect of the trip, something that I had only hoped to vaguely convey. Plans for keeping our gift giving at a minimum are still top priority, as the spirit of the holidays is so much more about being together than it is about receiving.


In the spirit of giving and the essence of celebrating the holidays, I’m excited to offer you an exclusive code to try the Creatacard app for yourself: Create a card for a loved one and send it right from your iPad using the code GIFT199 at checkout for $1.99 cards. I can’t tell you how much our family and friends have loved not only receiving cards made by the kids but also making some themselves, and how much fun they all had doing it.

Coupon code GIFT199 is valid for $1.99 cards. Limit one card per household. No minimum purchase necessary. Offer valid through 12/31/2014. Coupon cannot be combined with other offers. Coupon code is not valid on previous purchases. Discount applied at checkout. To receive discount, coupon code GIFT199 must be entered at checkout. To prevent abuse, we reserve the right to discontinue or modify.

Thank you to American Greetings Creatacard App for sponsoring this post and thank you for reading.

Join the Conversation


  • I try to keep my kids Christmas gifts to a reasonable amount by giving them 4 gifts. Something they want, something they need, something they wear and something they read. I find when I shop this way there’s more thought and meaning in each gift.

  • I hope all is well with you and your family with the storm up there in Santa Cruz and Northern California today.

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