A Forgotten Gift From My Long-Ago Teenaged Daughter — No Good After December 31

A three-by-five card with a teenager's promise to do work for her mother; it's a gift coupon. Photo by BF Newhall.

Christina was a brand-new teenager when she gave me this coupon for my birthday. It would be “no good” if I didn’t redeem it soon, which I didn’t.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Sometimes it pays to clean out the drawers in your office. Look what a recent rampage through my stationery drawers turned up: Two coupons from my then 13-year-old daughter Christina promising to do chores around the house — including yard work, for heaven’s sake.

A 13-year-old girl with long brown and blond hair outdoors with trees. Photo by BF Newhall

Christina — barely 13. Photos by BF Newhall

I’m pretty sure they were not Christmas gifts. Christina was a good kid, even as a teenager. She wouldn’t have presented me with coupons timed to expire in a couple of days. I probably got these for my birthday back in September, 1996.

Obviously, I didn’t have the heart to turn in these adorable coupons and get the promised work — sans complaints — out of Christina.

I saved them. Which is what I’m going to keep on doing. Back into the tidied-up stationery drawer they go to be smiled upon the next time I finally get around to organizing my stuff.

Read more about Christina at “Four-Year-Old Girls — The Last Bastion of Pretty” and “How to Overmother a Twenty-Something.”


A three-by-five card on which a 12-year-old promises to yard work as a gift to her mother. Photo by BF Newhall




  1. Christina says:

    Mom, you might like to know that the 8-year-old received the reverse of these gift certificates for Christmas last year – good for getting a grown-up to do one of his chores so he wouldn’t have to.
    He had no such sentimental compunctions about using one immediately to get me to clean up the toys we were playing with in the kitchen. Beywheelz, in fact:
    I can’t decide if this was a sign of underdeveloped cost-benefit analysis – the mess we made was relatively quite small when compared to the mess that can develop in his room over the weekend – or if he just wanted to show off one of his Christmas gifts to me ASAP. Probably the latter.

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Wonder how long it will take Eight-Year-Old to start handing out such coupons himself.

  2. Christina says:

    I rather remember calculating that you wouldn’t redeem them by the expiration date. Such thinking is typical of the middle-school-girl mentality. That said, though, I think they may have been a Christmas present in 1995. I’m not sure.
    I can’t decide if my handwriting has improved or declined since then.

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Penmanship would not have made it past Miss Werle, my third grade teacher. But then we didn’t have keyboards as an excuse in the olden days.

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Your handwriting, btw, is what makes these coupons so adorable. You can practically see the little brain and hands at work.

  3. I, too, have unredeemed coupons from our kids! They are priceless.


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