What we bought the kids for Christmas

Are you wondering?  I’ll give you the same hints I gave one of the children:

It’s something we never expected to buy for our household, and even when it occurred to us, we never expected each other to agree that it was a good idea.  That was enough for one smart cookie to guess, but I’ll give you another hint: we knew we could give the kids some serious thrills without filling the house with a lot of new junk, and could use Amazon credits from Swagbucks to pay for it so it cost us nothing out of pocket.

Even now, I keep wondering if it was a good idea.  I still hesitate and blush a little when somebody asks what our kids got for Christmas.  I feel like I should start with the disclaimers before I reveal the nature of the gift:

  1. The Gift will only be used with permission.
  2. The Gift will only be used in a group setting, as an interactive and social event.
  3. The Gift will only be used on weekends.  Special permission to use The Gift outside of the weekend will be rare.
  4. Attitude is of the utmost importance while using The Gift.  Users who display impatience, selfishness, unkindness, road rage and other unchristlike attitudes will be swiftly banned.

What is it?  I’m not ready to tell yet.  I just want to say that we would never buy what we did – except that we just did.

And The Thing that we bought to go with it – oh my.  Swagbucks paid again, but is that an excuse?  What have we done?  We have one of Those Monstrosities in our house!  It’s not what it looks like!  It doesn’t do what it would do in an average American house.  Its power is limited.  We can control it.

[deep breath]

Merry Christmas.

Oh, you’re still wondering?  It’s a WII.


[glancing furtively about]



a tv to play the games.


  1. We love our Wii. We always said we wouldn’t get any gaming system that makes us all sit down but this is so much more active. And apart from a few games DH has that he plays himself, the games are really social and get us laughing.

  2. We got a TV for Christmas too (from the in-laws)

    *shrug* No reason to whisper. You know how it is used in your house like I do in mine. TVs can be great tools and horrible crutches. Its not an evil item in and of itself (in fact, we have found the computer to be more dangerous than the TV, for us!)

  3. That is so funny. I just found your site for the first time, and when you started describing what you got for your children, I had nostalgia of how I felt when I let my parents buy our children a Wii, and so that was my guess before you revealed the big secret. LOL. Now we need to get the Wii fit board. We just have the basic sports, so not TOO BAD, right?

  4. Hmmmm. Yes. Well. So. CLEARLY, I spoke too soon. Guess what the husband has just left to go purchase…? I have to say I’m really not sure how his 6’1″ self is going to jump around on the balance board in our little living room without whacking his skull on the fan or the light, or his shins on the coffee table, but I guess he’ll just have to figure that one out…

  5. Heather Wawatoosie says:

    HA! I was guessing it was a Wii because I felt all those same things this Christmas – it’s what we got OUR family too, lol.

    With the right games, it’s pretty interactive and it’s great fun to beat hubby at boxing, though muscles pay for it the next day.

  6. While I was reading your post I guessed a Wii!! To bad you didn’t take a poll first!

    My siblings enjoy the Wii a lot, it is also a great social interaction thing.

    Jesus bless!

  7. HA! I guessed it as I was reading your post! It cracked me up, because I could’ve written this for my blog this year!!!! My husband also got Wii Fit for me, and it is so much fun! 🙂 I’m surprised how much fun Wii is and it’s great for the whole family. Good for you guys!

    Happy New Year!

  8. Cynthia,
    I’m voluntarily ignorant when it comes to video games, but this was a snap to hook up. No assembly, just a power cord and one to connect it to the TV. Even the controllers are wireless, and the kids had no trouble figuring out how to get them to talk to the game.
    A grand piano…wow! That would take some major Amazon credits…

  9. This is way too high tech for my brain! I couldn’t even imagine getting one out of the box. Did you have to put it together??

    My kids are begging for a grand piano. We still haven’t found one on swagbucks! Oh well….

  10. My son finally bought a Wii, and found he didn’t like charging the batteries, he didn’t enjoy the cordless experience, and didn’t play it. He just sold it on Craigslist two days ago and made a forty dollar profit, and put the monies back in his account. I do see parenting rules and styles that are the same, some kids just really thrive on video gaming and some don’t. Sometimes, the rules make the kids more anxious for the thing they think they want. Had a friend with a Nintendo DS that regulated the use to the hilt, and the child was obsessed. Let go of the regulations, and after about a week, the child has not picked it up at all. 🙂

  11. Shannon Mallory says:

    Hi Kim,

    I am trying to sign up with Swagbucks, but I need help! Can you email me please?

    Thank you : )

    Shannon Mallory

  12. Hahahaha. I like your rules. We have one of Those Monstrosities here too, but I hate hate hate it. My (d?)h bought it when I was 65 miles away taking final exams one day. Oh well, at least I talked him into getting rid of the one IN THE BEDROOM. Bleccchhhh. But yeah, he’s addicted. To video games, computer games, movies, TV shows, you name it, yuck!! We don’t have a Wii (yet–he’s eyeing one–gimme a break–how many more gaming systems does one person need??). Grandma does though (the whole family chipped in for Christmas for her a couple years ago), and this Christmas we got her the Balance Board and Wii Fit expansion to go with it. She’s really excited about it and has tried out a bunch of the new exercises already. She was telling me today how she got a kick out of, when she didn’t go on it for one day last week, the next day she turned it on and her little personal trainer character told her, “You didn’t come yesterday! We missed you!” LOL! I’m really glad she’s enjoying it. She has some joint issues and blood sugar issues and this will be a great way for her to get in a little bit of exercise at a time without having to leave the house. Plus when the whole family gets together over there it inevitably gets turned on and it’s a good way for all the generations to hang out and play together–a little hard to cram twelve of us around a board game or something, LOL. We especially like the bowling also. 🙂

  13. Totally funny! We did too! We never expected to! We are having some much fun with and pretty much all the same rules. Amazing how quickly things are getting done around here. And the squeals from our girlies on Christmas Morning! Have a Happy New year!

  14. Ha.

    I did guess…..only because……

    *Whispering now*

    My parents got us one too.

    Much to my chagrin.

    Still not sure how I feel about it……


  15. We did the same thing last year. In fact, we even have the same rules. It has been interesting to see that my children enjoy the wii but are not overtaken with it like so many children I see. I think that has a lot to do with our attitude, playing rules and the fact that tv just isn’t an issue around here… which makes them see electronic entertainment very differently than most.

  16. Heyyy you didn’t have a TV! Awesome. My family’s always had a TV, but I haven’t had one in college and it’s been pretty great. I don’t miss it at all — though I do hope my husband-in-less-than-two-weeks and I will be able to at least have access to a TV for the Winter Olympics in February!!

    I really like your rules about the Wii usage. My brother plays rather a lot of video games now, and it tends to really mess with his attitude, so he gets grounded from them pretty often too. Looking at your rules, I think they should work pretty well to keep away attitude problems!

  17. We tried that for a year too. We gave it away this year.

  18. We have loved ours!

    We enjoy having bowling tournaments on Fridays and are looking forward to purchasing the Wii Fit and the Wii Sports Resort next year. : )

    We also found out that our local library had several Wii games, so we are able to try the games before we buy them. It has been a huge blessing, because we now have a list of games that we do not want to get that we would have purchased otherwise.

    Courtney L.

  19. We also got one for Christmas (as a gift from many extended family members–very generous ones!) this year, and although our kids are not yet old enough to play it (two, one, and fetus :-)) we’d have the exact same rules. My sister’s kids do NOT have those rules, and boy do they need them!

    Enjoy! We have been!

  20. So??? How did they react? Did they have any clue before hand? C’mon, we want details!

  21. That is so easy!!!!!!!!!!!

    TV of course!

    Hope to see you soon.


  22. I got to your #1, and said to myself, “It’s a Wii.” 🙂 yeah, I’m cool.
    Hope you have fun with it! Don’t know if I could ever talk dh into one. I, personally, would like to use Wii Fit!
    Blessings in the new year!

  23. Our kids played it at a relative’s home during Thanksgiving. They started asking if they could have one for Christmas. I told them it would probably be their only gift other than little items we put in a Christmas bag for them. They all voted to wait a while. We did enjoy the sports games though. Dh and I up at midnight bowling. Too funny! 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

  24. Wow. That’s great that you had enough swagbucks to get both a Wii and a TV! Hope y’all enjoy it. When you mentioned the possibility of road rage, I was going to guess a golf cart or a 4-wheeler!

  25. Ha ha! My guess was a .22!

  26. This is funny…I, also, feel the need to explain myself when someone finds out we have one!! But, if you are going to have any gaming system, this is definitely the best. The games are not so “dark” as PS games, and several can play at one time, and it gets everyone moving!! We have had fun w/ ours, they played it a lot at first, but like all things, the newness wore off, and we don’t have to fight it at all. Have fun & enjoy!!

  27. I think it’s great that you got a Wii and a TV! All things in moderation, after all.

    I think it’s crazy that you feel the need to explain/excuse your purchase! You and your hubby made a wise decision for YOUR family. Doesn’t matter if others approve or not! 🙂

    We have a blast with ours!

    Merry Christmas!


  28. I guessed it right!! we don’t have one yet and not planning on one, if it does happen it will probably come about like yours – with no planning. 😉

    Happy new year!!

  29. i was right!!! don’t feel bad- it’ll be fun! i know my kids would like one:)

  30. How fun! We, too, got a Wii last year for Christmas, except our grandmother gave it to us. And we, too, had to get a TV to use it with. Our aunt was given a new TV for Christmas, so she gave us her old one (which came from us, which came from our grandfather, if you were wondering. We hand things around in our family.). And then, less than one month later, our great-grandmother died. And we got her flat-screen TV. So in one month, we went from being a TV-less family to being a family with a flat-screen TV and a Wii. Eeek.

    We still never watch TV, though. I’m not kidding when I say I wouldn’t know how to get any channels on our TV.

  31. I’ve been curious about your “new toy”! I was guessing a camera. That’s fun–hope y’all enjoy it.

  32. We got one two years ago. I so didn’t want to get the Wii because I thought it would take over. Well, as much fun as it is my dc rarely play with it. We go 6months without playing it or longer. We only have the sports and I hope to get the Wii fit.
    Have fun!

  33. LOL I guess it would be difficult to buy a WII and no TV.
    We have a small TV that we could only watch DVD’s on (Because I think that is the only way to control what we and the kiddos watch) But it is so small that a Wii would be useless over here LOL

    Maybe when our little ones are older.

  34. I am not a supporter of video games, but we have had our wii for just over a year. It has been great for the whole family. While we do allow the girls to use it independantly, only as a priviledge (ie homework done early). Otherwise they play together or we bowl as a whole family. I love the bowling and use the boxing as a work out.

  35. We’ve been regretting ours for an entire year. 😉

  36. How in the world did you get enough swagbucks to get a Wii and a TV?

  37. Some things just make sense.

    I’m sure you eased quite a few consciences with your, er… indiscretion! HA!

  38. Hooray! We bought a Wii this summer. It’s a lot of fun! We also bought a temporary game rental subscription while we tried out some games. We didn’t want to buy a ton of games, you know?

    Some ones we liked that your family might like: Wii Sports Resort and Boom Blox Bash Party.

  39. We bought this gift last year, and have the very same rules! The children are very gracious in following the rules without complaining, and have no qualms about not being able to use it everyday! Hope you all enjoy it!

  40. Did I just read that right? You had enough Swagbucks to buy a Wii AND a tv? I’m so jealous! I can’t get enough to buy a 50# sack of oatmeal! Have fun!

  41. Aha! I knew it! I guessed it only because you were using exactly the same rationale and rules that we would have if we were to own a wii (we don’t… yet.). 🙂
    I bet you won’t have a hard time having fun with it!

  42. A Wii is a great family gift. Our family got one last Christmas and with some rules it has worked out great. The joy of video games but with movement. Like you we had to buy a TV to go with it but we got lucky and found one second hand and since there is no way we would let cable come in on it we do not have to worry that it is not digital.

    Hope your family enjoys the gift

  43. YAAA!!! Wii’s are soo much fun and just a more advanced version of board games. They will have a blast… and be careful… you will get hooked too. It ROCKS!

  44. LOL! You crack me up! I was so thankful when my in-laws bought a Wii last year for Christmas, to keep at their house! That definately puts a limit on it without making me the bad guy! You can have some good, wholesome, family fun with a Wii. Enjoy…guilt free!

  45. lol…. you’re funny! And it’s Wii, little letters! We got one this year, too- we wouldn’t get one last year because we weren’t debt free yet. We were one month away. Well, this Christmas marked eleven months being debt free, and we were able to buy it all with cash- who-hoo!! Now, you know you are going to have to get the Wii fit- and it’s worth it! I work out reguarly- three times a week, and I am even sore afer spending a half hour a day doing the Wii fit! I plan on doing that on the days I don’t go to Curves. The bad thing is, I am 21 weeks pregnant, and overweight according to the scale on the board, and they made my little Mii character fat- and it’s not fair, cause they don’t have a pregnant setting on the game! Waaaa! Now I have to suffer with the computer yelling at me for gaining weight for the next four and a half months! And we don’t have cable or satellite, but we do enjoy having a television for Netflix and the Wii. It’ll be okay. = )

  46. I had to chuckle as I knew exactly where you were going with this….EXACTLY as we did the same thing last Christmas. I almost felt backslidden…but then again not really. LOL It’s alright! One thing for the whole family always makes for good simplification too. Have fun!

  47. Wii did the same thing this year. It was nothing either of us would have agreed to in the past. And since this was an extremely lean year, we would not have considered it now. But we had three donations come in this year to help out our family and after tithing, purchasing needs – such as socks, undies and the like – we still had enough left over to purchase the wii. We also bought the Fit. We allow the kids just a few hours a week IN the afternoon AFTER school work is completed. It is a reward, not a need. And they know it! LOL! Wii have had so much fun playing together these last few days.

  48. I just signed up for swag bucks through your link but didn’t have the swag code but I did go through your link. Hopefully you’ll get more credits.

  49. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I love the disclaimer. I do the same thing!

  50. Hahahaha! That is great. I’m happy for you! We’ve been TV-less for three and a half years now I think. The husband can’t focus when there is noise on like that and we’re anti paying for tv channels. So we still watch a fair amount of TV but all online with streaming video. But we have many family members who have a wii and mercy I’ve been tempted. But having to buy a tv so that I can buy the wii makes a bit more expensive than otherwise. Plus if we do buy a tv we’ll buy a bigger (more expensive) set b/c we’ll not be upgrading basically forever. And well the combined purchase would easily be around a grand so its out of the question. But in a year and a half two years when we’re out of debt plus savings in the bank we will be buying either a tv or more likely a projector for movie night and at that point I’m not sure I”ll be able to keep from getting that wii. Its pretty awesome. Enjoy it!

    • Angela,
      The tv is actually dual purpose. We enjoy watching dvds as a family now and then, and we’ve been gathering round a little computer monitor to do it. It’s a little crowded, to say the least!
      We managed to find a great deal on a screen that is the right size to fit in our modest home yet make us very happy. Of course, when you’re upgrading from 11 people around a 19″ computer monitor nearly anything feels like luxury!

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