Should I give my kids video games for Christmas? Or not?

Should I give my kids video games for Christmas? Or not?
Xbox with Kinect

I am not a video game person. My husband is not a video game person. But we find ourselves in a video game dilemma.

A couple of weeks ago, we were playing at a friend's house. They had just given their six year-old son an Xbox 360 With Kinect for Hanukkah. This was all new to us. My eight year-old daughter had the time of her life playing football and baseball using their new Xbox 360 with Kinect (which was cool because it just involved them using their bodies and being super active for an hour). I have to confess that I thought it was great. My daughter declared it the best time ever.

This experience made me look at video games in a whole new light. In my mind, video games are mindless time sucks that often involve violence. However, the sports game on Xbox Kinect actually seemed like a decent use of time for kids during a long Chicago winter.

My husband and I chatted about this a little bit and we thought that this would made a great Christmas present. So he headed off to Best Buy to pick up an Xbox with Kinect system for the kiddos for Christmas as gift from Mom and Dad.

And then we started having major doubts.

Our kids (ages 8, 6 and 4) are also the lucky recipients of a number of really great other Christmas presents -- including LEGOS, a keyboard, games and books. Our fear is that the XBox would completely overshadow any of these other gifts. I am not concerned that the XBox itself is bad -- we are basically worried that it will be "too fun" and our kids will have absolutely no interest in any of their other gifts.

Now we're thinking that is is an unnecessary extravagance and we're planning to take it back to the store.

I am looking for advice for parents who've purchased video games for their kids (the Xbox in particular). I am feeling so unsure about introducing this into our family (because I know that you can't go back once you go there).

Do you have video games at your house? Was it a good decision for your family? How old do you think kids should be before they have access to video games (or is it never a good idea at any age in your opinion)? Do you regret introducing video games into your house?

Would love to hear from some experienced Chicago parents with their thoughts before I trek back to Best Buy to return our (errant?) purchase.

Thoughts?

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