When our first 2 kids were toddlers, we went crazy come Christmas time. It was anything and everything they could want. We don’t buy toys year round, just on birthdays and Christmas – so we had no qualms about it.
Then we had this set of toddlers. The years of raising 2 kids, then having 2 more have reset much of my thinking. The need vs want factor is much more clear now a days. So when it came to purchasing for Christmas this year, I ran into a dilema. My toddlers just didn’t NEED anything. They are really too young (1 and 2 years old) to say they “wanted” anything.
On Christmas eve as we were putting out the gifts for our kids, I realized whoops – I had just a few gifts for the toddlers compared to the older kids – and totally forgot about getting them anything for their stockings, but that’s another story. Only to realize on Christmas day, that I should of just skipped that Christmas Eve trip to Target.
I was smacked in the face with this ditty: little kids don’t care about what you buy them on Christmas. They just enjoy opening boxes. Sure they like the toys but if the boxes were empty, they’d make a toy out of the boxes. The older kids care ONLY because that is the expectation we set for them. I remember looking thru catalogs as a child choosing gifts. I am totally guilty of in year’s past setting my older kids expectations as to what to expect at Christmas time. “Oh you want that, put it on Santa’s letter.” Never again.
I want my kids to have the best, but the truth is they don’t need it. I am setting up false expectations for them. It’s an endless cycle in life of MORE and by teaching my kids this now I am just setting them up for failure.
Sure, my kids had a very nice Christmas – we are very blessed, but this excess isn’t what Christmas should be about. The house is littered with boxes and wrapping paper. The toys are overflowing and parts are already being lost for games and what not. This is a dumb way to spend money. Never again – and I thought I did so good this year by not buying as much.
While I still have some work to do with our older 2 kids, I can at least raise our toddlers to understand that Christmas is so much more than gifts. While I love Christmas shopping and the season in general, as for our family – we will be rethinking our approach to how we spend the day.
Can we please come up with a new holiday for gift opening and keep Christmas holy? Let’s reschedule Christmas gift opening until after Christmas. Do you realize how much money we would all save?
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Molly blogs parenting, geekery and technology at Digital Mom Blog