How to Keep Kids from Circling Everything the Catalog

I remember going through my grandma’s catalogs when I was little, circling all the things I wanted for Christmas. Everyone used it as a wishlist for holiday shopping throughout the season.

Now, we have an Amazon wishlist setup for each girl that family can use, if they want ideas for gifts — but, my girls still circle the toy catalogs every year.

It’s nice how some things never change.

The problem I discovered with the toy catalog years ago is that my girls want to circle everything, especially now that this is their first look at what’s available. My solution is pretty simple.

Each girl gets her own toy book — I buy extra newspapers for couponing anyway — and I write her name on the front. Inside the book, they are allowed to circle only one item on each page. If they really, really want something else on the same page (it happens, what with like items being grouped together), they have to make a case for why they want it and how they intend to play with it. With parental approval, the extra items may be circled.

This forces the girls to really consider everything in the catalog, rather than randomly circling everything that catches their eye. By the time they decide what to circle, they’ve already eliminated plenty of crappy toys that would have been a waste of money in the first place.

I then go through and eliminate anything I don’t want them to have at all (that iPad is never going to happen, kid), before searching Amazon to create their wishlist. It’s an effective system to ensure the things they’re asking for are realistic, affordable, and toys they will actually love well into the new year.

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