Recently I heard another mother discussing her Christmas shopping dilemma and the angst she was feeling. You see, the items on her children’s wish lists were beginning to move from the get-everything-they-want-at-ToysRUs-for-$200-per-kid stage into that digital, electronic, can’t-find-one-item-for-less-than-$100 era.
This totally changes the Santa dynamic and it’s been my challenge every Christmas for about the past 8-10 years.
Of course, I could take the easy road and blame my parents, who raised me with very high expectations of what Christmas morning should be like. My mom now admits she went overboard — but only because she wanted us to have the magical holiday she always dreamed of but didn’t get when she was little because of her family’s financial situation.
Christmas in my house when I was growing up was filled with more presents than you can imagine. My brothers and I awoke to find huge piles of gifts waiting for us. And this was after spending Christmas Eve with one side of the family, getting presents from aunts and uncles, and anticipating Christmas afternoon with the other side of the family for more presents!
When my kids were little, they got those same big piles simply because I thought that’s what they were supposed to get, based on my life experience. “Don’t you have enough?” my husband would ask me as I shared purchases for each child. “Oh, no!” I would say, as I continued to build their piles.
But back then, I could do that without totally busting our budget. Now they want iPods and gaming systems and computers and pricey cell phones, concert tickets, Uggs, top-of-the-line hiking boots, other expensive clothing items and a host of things that would put me into bankruptcy if I tried to buy them all.
So Christmas the past few years has been about weaning them from their gift piles into a few strategic gifts each. Frankly, I think it’s more difficult for me than it is for them!
And let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas, minus the commercialization. Pile or no pile, I hope my kids have embraced that in their hearts.
Whatever holiday your family celebrates this season, I hope it’s filled with warmth, love and happiness!