Afikomen is sort of the loot bag at the end of a Very Long party. Having lasted through the Seder, it seems to be the least we can do to offer up a gift in exchange for that mischievous piece of disappearing matza, the Afikomen. But it’s the gift, itself, that stumps me every year.
My kids don’t need more stuff. They have kind and generous grandparents who have purchased their fair share of lego, playmobil, puzzles and toys over the years. Yet Seder night finds my kids sitting with every one of their Toy Suppliers — grandparents, uncle and aunts, united under one roof ready to enter into serious toy negotiations with my kids.
This year, I’m shaking things up. I’m going to attempt to replace gifts with experiences. I’d like sleepovers with the grandparents, movie dates with the cool uncles (you know who you are), gift certificates for father/daughter or aunt/nephew cooking classes. I want to create experiences and memories as opposed to adding to my toy inventory. I realize I may have a mutiny on my hands, but I’m hoping to stand my ground.
One last thought: On Friday, my wonderful friend gave my seven-year old some Lego magazines. He spent hours over Shabbat looking through each magazine, page by page taking in every detail, looking at how we could improve upon his Lego Star Wars collection and finding new building techniques. I sat with him, a willing accomplice to his Lego fantasies, and thought, “well maybe buying the Taj Mahal in Lego (5,922 pieces and $749.98) will turn him into an architect.” Or maybe not. These days I’m just happy to sit with him, taking a break from Pesach cleaning and lists of things to do, and flip through the magazine. It’s the experience, I think, and not the 5,992 pieces of Lego.
What will your kids be getting this year for the Afikomen?