Christmas Morning Guilt: Despite Our Best Efforts, Santa Spoiled Our Kids. Again.

As we lounge about the couch in a twisted mess of wrapping paper, ribbons, and screaming, I’m left with the sick feeling that we did it again.

Despite our best pledges of giving our kids a reasonable Christmas, we have gone overboard.

They didn’t get everything on their list, but as I sat back and watched the Christmas morning carnage I realized it wasn’t about what was in the packages that gets the kids going, it’s about opening the packages. They just want to open, open, open!

Bright, glittering paper is simply the most potent, crack-filled cat nip that children cannot resist. The greatest gift ever is quickly tossed aside so they can open another parcel to ultimately discard its contents. Each package is a mystery to be unraveled, and as soon as the answer is revealed, they move on to the next mystery.

The odd part of our scenario is what happened on Thursday night. My wife and I sorted out our shopping haul, looked at the pile of unwrapped gifts, and thought that we might not have enough. There were no big parcels, each boy was going to receive a collection of Lego kits and Star Wars figures, but we didn’t think anything was a home run.

Even after we wrapped them and placed them under the tree, it still felt empty.

Then halfway through the onslaught that is Christmas morning, my wife and I gave each other a knowing glance: we went overboard. As the boys ripped the wrapping, we started taking parcels away and putting them back in our “prize closet.” They didn’t even notice. Some we will return, others we will save and use as birthday presents for the upcoming school parties.

Last year we did the same thing and they had no idea. Some gifts we stash to break out in the spring and summer after the other toys had lost their lustre. They were clueless. I still have 2 boxes of Lincoln Logs from Christmas 2010 that the boys have yet to play with.

My wife and I promised that we would be better this year and stick to just a couple of things, and still our boys have a few dozen boxes sitting on the carpet totally ignored while they fly around with their Jedi Force Star Wars figurines. Seriously, they could have had one of those each and it still would have been the best Christmas ever.

My parents used to tell me how they were embarrassed by the heaving pile of presents under the tree each year and how they would vow to trim the pile the following year. As a kid I didn’t get it but now, as a parent, I’m totally guilty of continuing the trend.

I lamented my behavior on Twitter and was quickly met with an echo from other parents guilty of the same.

There’s always next year.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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