The Prize Closet

Instagram Message: Bella & Beau in AZ April 2015. Some of Tita Debbie's grandchildren.

Instagram Message: Bella & Beau in AZ April 2015. Some of Tita Debbie's grandchildren.

When I was 6 or 7 years old, my Tita Debbie remembered that she owed me a birthday gift when I came for a visit.  She had her kids show me this secret closet that was literally over-stuffed with brand new toys, games and dolls. I was allowed to pick out one item and that was my gift.  It was super cool and obviously very memorable.  

Maybe that's why I became a sucker for buying toy items in bulk, especially if the sale price was a winner.  I used to buy as much as I could, preparing for all the birthday parties my kids would be invited to for the year.  Kiddywampus, a local store, would see me coming and smile because I would scoop up all their clearance items. In theory, buying these items would save me a lot of money since toys rarely go out of style and parties are imminent. And did I mention a HUGE time saver?   I had a designated space in my basement for all these items and would constantly add to the inventory.  I'm 100% sure that I'm not the only one with a prize closet but I could possibly be the only one who screwed it up.

First of all, I would feel opposite of thoughtful because I was giving every celebrant the same gift.  This is what happens when you buy ten of the same items  - I had to unload inventory!  Another example of missing the point would be when I wrapped the pinch and saw the sale price ($25 marked down to $5) and thought I needed to give more because I couldn't just spend $5 on this good friend of my child. I would buy an additional gift to even it out.  Or in most cases, the celebrant would have different interests than what I had in my prize closet.  So off I would go to get something else at the last minute because in my mind I thought I had a great selection of thoughtful pinches to choose from.  What else could I do to screw this up? Well, sometimes I had to give four or five of my little pinches just to make one significant gift and then it ended up being a random sack of stuff (which bugged me because I like themes).

If you are a big fan of the prize closet or you love to stock up on toys and gifts, I cheer you on! Go for it!  You are a thoughtful person because: 1. You pre-plan for your recipients.  2. You are prepared so you don't have to run to the store(s) at the last minute.  3. You have storage for these items.  And most of all,  4. You remember that you already bought them a gift and don't over-buy because you forgot.  You are wonderful.  It takes talent and a big heart and I hope you keep it up!

For me, this is the year I finally stopped stocking my prize closet.  In fact, my birthday thoughtful pinches are limited and stored in a medium size drawer in my office because my prize closet doesn't exist anymore.  Nowadays I am in control of the money and time I thought I was saving.  I do aspire to have a prize closet like Tita Debbie one day. I plan to invite the celebrants to come over and pick out an item. In my opinion, this would be the way to go. The children could choose what they want.  There would be no guessing, no wrapping, no return receipts. Just thoughtful magic. 

 TITA IS THE TAGALOG (FILIPINO) WORD FOR AUNT. My children,  Bella and Beau (shown far left), join some of Tita Debbie's grandchildren in Arizona - April 2015. 

 TITA IS THE TAGALOG (FILIPINO) WORD FOR AUNT. My children, Bella and Beau (shown far left), join some of Tita Debbie's grandchildren in Arizona - April 2015. 



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