I was a little Bah Humbug about the gifts this season because we are on a tight budget. Then I looked at my child’s room and realized that it made sense to scale back on the gifts anyway because he already has more stuff than he could ever use. So much for the scaling back idea; I’ve realized it’s impossible to have a child who’s not showered with gifts when you are surrounded by relatives.
First of all – this is not a complaint. I realize how fortunate we are to have all of this stuff and all of these amazing people around us, I really do. I’m just a little concerned about raising a child who will inevitably receive a lot of gifts for every holiday because of our family. His room looks like a toy store. He’s three years old. This is excessive.
Yesterday he received a string of amazing gifts – probably about a dozen of them. His sister – who is 7 months old – received exactly one toy. Although my son was surrounded by amazing gifts, he still wanted hers, too. What the heck? I’m creating a monster with all of this stuff. I can’t help but feel that if he had less, he’d be more appreciative of the things he got. There’s got to be a way to deal with this. I just haven’t figured out what it is yet.
I’ve been so overwhelmed by a recent move that I have failed to really embrace all the ways that we can turn this inevitable avalanche of gifts into a positive thing – as opposed to just spoiling the crap out of this child. I don’t want to put “restrictions” on the gifts my family can give my children – I’ve just recently moved back around them and I know they have been dying for the opportunity to spoil these kids. I don’t want to take that from them, I just want to be sure my kids aren’t learning to expect too much around the holidays.
Knowing how easy it is to fall into a dire financial situation after just a few months of not having the income we were used to last year – I feel blessed that I have a family who can help us out when we need it and at the same time conflicted about all those who don’t. Because of this, it’s important for me to figure out ways to give back and make sure my children grow up knowing that people who don’t have enough during the holidays are just like us – they’re just missing the amazing support we have.
I have some friends who are in some financial distress this year and weren’t able to get their kids as many gifts as they would have liked. This morning – I went “shopping’ in my kid’s room and put together a few care packages. I’m explaining to him that we are sending toys to kids who don’t have as much as he does. He’s not thrilled. I’m not surprised. Next year, he’ll be four and since he’ll be a little older I’m hoping he’ll get it more – and be a little happier about it. Ultimately, I really just want to raise children who appreciate what they have and care about others who aren’t as lucky as they are.
(photo: Getty Images)