Here's the thing: we have a lot of toys in our house. A lot less than many others I've seen but still waaaaay more than any children need.
We have games and puzzles a plenty, a billion colouring things, more alien shaped figurines than you could shake a stick at, weapons of many descriptions, enough lego and duplo to build a replica of our house, about 1 gasquillion soft toys, a pretend castle with knights and horses, a land of dinosaurs with plastic dinosaurs, toy animals, hot wheels, marble run, playmobil, planes/trains/automobiles including garage and mini town mat, tops, marbles, dress up, books and books and books. And they have a Nintendo DS each (which I despise and loathe and want to get rid of despite them only just having got them).
So now son 1 is about to turn 7. He could do with some sports training kit but that's not exactly going to put a smile on his face. That's sort of like saying he needs new underpants as a gift. He wants a Harry Potter robe, which I am getting him as part of his Harry Potter party (and there is a WHOLE blog post coming on this topic soon). And he's asked for some face paints and a diary he can lock.
Now the thing is, that's some new training kit, a robe, a diary and some face paints. That should be enough right? But there's nothing there that says whoop de doo it's my birthday! I know he wants something else - something he can actually play with - but he doesn't seem to know what. He's suggested a workbench but I have vetoed that on the basis that it will take up a huge amount of room and will never get used except to saw off his brother's fingers.
I did consider saying that I'd take him somewhere like Legoland in lieu of getting a present. But I'm not sure he'll understand that when he opens an envelope on his birthday.
But I hate buying STUFF for the sake of buying STUFF. I don't even like getting presents for myself unless they are something I really need and want. Consumerism has gone mad and I just can't take the clutter anymore. I yearn for the good old days when kids had one raggedy doll and a matchbox car and that was enough. That and a bit of imagination and an old cardboard box.
So suggestions please - what would make the ideal gift for a seven year old boy.