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Photo illustration by Christy Keller | The Journal
Making Christmas last

Gifts that keep on giving

– It’s late Christmas morning – “late” meaning 8:30 – and all of Santa’s presents have been attacked and unwrapped. Coffee isn’t just a beverage. It’s a necessity. The kids are still in their jammies, sitting in the floor amid their loot. Dad is either A) inserting batteries into a small car or large robot; or B) attempting to build something out of the Lego set.

Families should enjoy these moments, for in a few days, the batteries will be dead, and the helicopter made from roughly 2,000 Lego blocks will be disassembled, resulting in several missing pieces.

Another Christmas come and gone.

If the scenario seems familiar, maybe we could rethink the temptation to inundate little ones with an avalanche of toys that may be broken in two weeks or forgotten in two months. There has to be a better way to distribute the wealth.

So for those who want to keep their gifts relevant beyond the college football bowl season, here are a few ideas:

Library card and visits. While it’s a wonderful gesture to buy a child a book or two for the holidays, go a step further and give him or her access to thousands of books with their own library card.

“The child’s name is on that card, and they get a special card when you’re 10 years of age or under,” Allen County Public Library spokeswoman Cheryl Ferverda says. “It’s bright yellow, with this red clown on it. It really stands out, so it’s special for the child.”

Ferverda says the card is mailed directly to the child, and not the adult.

And if the downtown location is your destination, don’t forget a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo membership. For $109, a family can make unlimited visits, plus receive discounts to 150 zoos around the country and a 10 percent discount for gift shop purchases.

Tickets to local sporting events. Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball in the spring and summer, and Komets hockey and Mad Ants basketball in the winter and early spring.

Music lessons or sports clinics. Music lessons can be easily provided, either privately or through stores that sell instruments. Week-long clinics for various sports are commonplace at most area colleges.

Summer shopping trip. Take off exactly six months after and before Christmas on June 25, for example. Whether locally or out of town, go get something he or she didn’t want or need during the Christmas season.

Magazine subscription. Whether it’s a weekly publication or monthly, a year-long subscription is an example of a gift that keeps on giving. After a few minutes, you’ll know his or her interests and which magazine to buy.

iTunes gift card. You may not know exactly how to download songs, but chances are your kids or grandkids do. They’ll still need for you to set up an account which is paid with a credit card. Songs are $1.29 apiece, so spring for as many as you wish.

Plant a tree, flowers or bush. After this cold spell, maybe the ground is already frozen. But if not, Amy Oliver with Arbor Farms Nursery says a small evergreen can still be planted.

“If they’re going to plant it in the ground, I’d recommend to dig the hole early, then put either straw or mulch on it,” Oliver says. “But it’s best to have it prepared ahead of time.”

As an alternative, Oliver suggests amaryllis bulbs.

“It’s a flowering bulb you keep inside,” Oliver says. “It’s a nice gift, and we have them as gift sets, and they come in colors of red and white.”

Oliver says the bulbs will bloom in six to 10 weeks. When it finishes flowering, the bulbs can be removed from the pot, dried, stored, and repotted.

stwarden@jg.net

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