Christmas is coming…

magoo-scrooge…and I’m buggered if I’m devoting another single square centimeter of floorspace to cheap, plastic moulded toys that take up acres of room. Pesky kids. I need that space for my friend Sarah’s stuffed moose gift.

So here’s what we’re doing, and I hope it works.

We’ve started asking friends and family not to buy gifts of toys for Jacob this Christmas. Instead we’re going to be slightly less Christmassy and just say ‘GIVE US YOUR MONEY!’ Ok, not quite that chilly about it. But a SMALL donation in lieu of the usual €30/40/50 Fisher Price or VTech thingie, which we’ll then put towards more appropriate gifts.

It’s not that we don’t appreciate people’s intentions: we truly do, but we also appreciate how hard it is to get gifts for anybody, let alone someone whose needs are slightly different and not best met by off-the-shelf items from Argos or Smyths or Tommy’s World of Wonder. I’m not slamming Fisher Price or any other brands either. They can have good toys too. You can find good stuff in these stores, but you’ll have to look harder and think about it more, and anyway there’s better value to be had elsewhere. (And PLEASE don’t be fooled if the name of the shop happens to be the Early Learning Centre – they’re pretty much a toy store with lots of useless junk too, just with a clever name to make you think otherwise.)

The good news is that there are dedicated websites and stores that provide appropriate developmental toys and learning aids for kids ‘suffering’ with Down Syndrome (ha ha – thanks Cathal’s mam for pointing out the sufferance from the mainstream media on that particular phrase 🙂 )

Thinking Toys

Dee recently went to a Toy Show in St Michael’s House and was very impressed by what she saw from these guys. They’re called Thinking Toys and they’re based in Co. Clare, quite near Limerick. It’s run by a couple who are very much coming at this from a position of inside knowledge, and it’s worth doing a little bit of reading. It’s a huge shame that delivery is Ireland only, but I’d encourage you if you’re outside Ireland to get creative. If you want it you will get it. Within Ireland you can order from the website and – even better – they’re happy to come to you and do the show and tell thing.

We will also gladly demonstrate and display our products anywhere in Ireland to groups including therapists, teachers and support groups. All you have to Do is Ask and we will be there.

Isn’t that nice? It’s nice too if you want to include someone in the whole gift buying thing that you can do so and they have less chance to make a complete balls-up of it. Or you can just be Scrooges like us, tell everyone you’ll do it yourself, take the money and then spend it on Cartier watches, a yacht in Barbados and all the After Eight mints and Ferrero Rocher than one classy and well rounded couple with a reinforced sofa can possibly eat.

On a separate note, Cathal’s Mam also posted an excellent series of reports on a seminar held by Down Syndrome Dublin recently. Anybody who missed it or couldn’t make it anyway can still get some excellent advice thanks to Cathal’s ould wan’s note taking 🙂 It’s in two parts and you can access the first here, and the second one here. Well done Cathal’s mammy. It’s got great information on the superb work being done by Joan Murphy, the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Tallaght Hospital. Spread the links, anyone who can…

9 comments on “Christmas is coming…

  1. I second those Thinking Toys crowed. Saw them at a little toy fair at Cheeverstown which we were lucky enough to be told about. I was well impressed, especially with the fantastic books!!!! I think we’ll do like you too Nick and compile a list from this website, money would be good too to help fund a new car 😉
    Thanks for the card… philosophy exactly. I think I’ll send it in to my boss.

    And as for the talk, I know that others will do the same, already South Dublin Dad had posted about wills….sharing is caring

  2. hammie says:

    I agree with you totally. I just wish all the gifting stayed in the hands of parents alone. And we could just spread good cheer and love and buy loads and loads of charity christmas cards to send all over the world.

    Autie world is ruled by reinforcement being linked to task completion. Handing out presents for nothing kind of breaks that code. Luckily the out-laws tend to get them clothes, which they ignore and I donate on the day after Stephens day.
    I also hate having to “think” of what someone might want to suit a date on a calender. If I see something you might like in March, then I will get it, not because of some hi-jacked mid-winter festival.

    Oh and as for Santa. You try telling a logical autie kid that we are letting a stranger with 12 reindeer into the house in the middle of the night next month. UH uh!
    And don’t get me STARTED on all the bits of plastic moulded crap that is held in the packets with those little twist ties!

    Nep, we are spending our christmas bucks on a Singapore Airlines A380 thankyou!

    (love the Mr Magoo BTW)

  3. Sesame says:

    man mr magoo takes me back…am totally with you on the pressie thing…with 4 kids and lots of aunties/unlces/godparents/grandparents/santa dats a hell of a lot of junk heads our way at Xmas…not to mention tomorrow girl 2 will be 6 so more pressies before xmas hits at all…then and just 4 days after Xmas we have Babs’ birthday so even more…for the last 2 years I have begged and pleaded with everyone to just leave the toy buying to us (Santa) but fallin mostly on deaf ears..couple have bought clothes and dvds which are always welcome…might just find the balls to say ‘Show me the Money’ this year or dontate it to charity…every room in the house has been taken over with toys…some of last Christmases stuff hasn’t been opened…oh the joys…

  4. Miriam says:

    I write the blog at Today after following a lead from my WordPress stats, I learned that another blog is wholesale lifting my posts and using them without permission and without attribution. They are doing the same with yours (including this post) if they have the wordpress tag “down syndrome.”

    Go look here: www dot downsyndrome dot com (I don’t want to give them a link). Someone bought that domain and is simply stealing content from other blogs. They are making money off of this, because they have a Cafepress store where they are directing traffic.

    Any ideas of how to stop this?

  5. enc says:

    You’re off my list if all you’re going to do is blow the cash on fourth-rate choccies!


  6. NAN P. says:

    I so agree with you, so much crap can be bought to be thrown away the day after it’s received. Such a waste! It’s often easier to buy than to think of what is really wanted or needed!

    Thanks for the link. It does look good. I have saved in my favourites!

  7. kayla says:

    He is so precious. I love reading blogs I can relate to. I really don’t find to many to be honest with our sons condition. I wish you the best god bless.

  8. Sister Wolf says:

    How about this: Send out the word that from now on, you would like cash instead of gifts, in order to start a bank account for your boy. Then, of course, each Christmas and birthday, you and the wife can splurge on porn or whatever!

  9. Nick McGivney says:

    Cathal’s Mam, Hammie & Sesame – Enough of the plastic Christmas takeover! Sorry for the delay in commenting on this. Hammie – I am mad jealous of your plans! Enjoy enjoy enjoy!

    Miriam – we have since spoken about this, but thank you for the info, and I have been enjoying your content since. Keep up the good work.

    Nan P – I’d like a big plastic rocking horse, a full size inflatable kiddie pool, inflatable armchairs, a half-actual-size fire truck and a partridge in plastic pear tree please!

    Kayla – thanks for stopping by. You got caught in the spam for a while but I fished you out!

    SW – what is porn?

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