A couple of weeks ago, the blog post 'Why My Husband And I Cancelled Christmas' went viral. The premise of the post, to me, seemed pretty predictable: Parents of three young boys, who have been acting especially entitled lately, have decided to focus on giving to others this holiday rather than giving to their children. But sometimes it's the simplest concepts that blow people's minds. Several major news outlets and thousands of social media posts have zeroed in on this blog post, debating and discussing and praising and holding it up as an example to others. On the surface, it may seem like an extraordinary amount of attention to heap on an individual post. I mean, how difficult can this "canceling Christmas" concept be? But based on the reactions, it appears the post is popular because it's unfathomably progressive. Many impressed parents have said, "Wow, what a great idea. I could never do this with MY kids, but good for these parents!" At the heart of the matter, what's being said, or at least what's understood, is that most parents have moved beyond a place where canceling Christmas is even within the realm of possibility. It just wouldn't happen.
In this era of competitive parenting and helicopter parenting and snow plow parenting and trampoline parenting (okay I made that up), kids have come to expect a certain amount of "stuff" from their parents. Some parents are eager to please -- or giving in to their children's constant desires is just easier than saying no -- which results in kids having a few stores' worth of toys and technologies starting at a young age. And while I'm sure there are still plenty of parents who know when to curb spending and/or acquiring too much for their kids, there are always those parents who don't know when enough is enough. They're proud to spoil their kids, and they use the word "spoiled" like it's a compliment -- a nod to their stellar parenting. They think that people are envious of their lives, or how much they provide for their children, and they rub it in at every opportunity on social media. If it's a holiday or a birthday, they might say they wanted to include all the gifts from grandparents, friends, and other relatives in a photo as a way to honor the gift givers (or something), but we all know what those parents are really communicating, which is a perception of abundance. In America especially, abundance isn't just a good thing anymore; it's the BEST thing, the only thing, and STFU, Parents has the submissions to prove it.
Over the years, I've posted pictures of gift stacks so high you couldn't find the baby (or babies) who'd received them in the picture. I once posted a picture from Easter that featured a terrifying army of oversized chocolate bunnies that I didn't even know existed. And two Christmases ago, I posted a picture of this gift vortex that a parent lovingly called "the aftermath," because a veritable explosion of gifts for a toddler is now totally normal. Some readers pointed out that if parents wants to spoil their children, that's their business, and there are some people for whom spoiling children is such a pleasure, they truly don't care what others think. But if it's posted on Facebook, it's a pretty showy way of conveying a message. And I think what the 'Cancelled Christmas' blog post did was remind people that it's normal not to shower kids with dozens and dozens of gifts on Christmas, or any holiday for that matter. That shouldn't be such a novel concept, but it is. So for today's column, let's take a minute to remember that whether or not you spoil your kids (or nieces/nephews, godchildren, etc.), there's no reason to flaunt it online. Don't brag about the stuff you bought; just enjoy what you already have. You don't have to cancel Christmas to save face on Facebook. It's the least you can do.
1. Nine Months Of Maddox; In Clothing.
On the one hand, babies go through outfits faster than Beyonce in a stage show, and thus they amass large quantities of clothing in the first year of life. On the other hand, Ashley meticulously laid out each outfit, took a picture, and then posted it online to share with friends, some of whom may wonder why she felt inclined to post a picture of baby clothes on Facebook. Parents, even if your babies manage to acquire this much clothing -- in gifts, through donation, whatever -- don't take pictures and post them online. It's just weird. Also, that is a LOT of baby clothes. #justsaying
2. #ShoeAddicts (Whose Feet Grow A New Size Every 4-6 Months)
Baby shoes are cute as hell, and they're one of my favorite unnecessary items to purchase for my friends' kids. That being said, kids' feet grow way too fast to justify making #shoeaddict jokes about toddler shoes. Parents, if your toddler owns more shoes than I (or a toddler) can count on two hands, don't feel inclined to show all of your friends. I assure you, you won't be the first one to do so, and it's not as #impressive as is it #douchey.
I don't know if "Abigail's Closet" is a Facebook page created by Katie and dedicated to Katie's daughter's closet, or if it's just a very aptly named consignment shop that has "Abigail" in the name, but I'm glad it's excited for Abbey's first shoe rack. Aaaaaalso, does anyone kiiiiiindaaaaa want to barf after reading about how the shelf aaaaaalmost fits all of Abbey's shoes, or it that just me? ♥
3. Not Spoiled. Supported.
People!! Listen!!! Linda is not spoiling her daughter, she's just giving her everything that she wants. There is a difference, okay! We're talking about a precious fifteen-year-old who's never had to experience the hardship of manual labor for a single day of her life, God bless her, and so long as Linda has something to say about it, her daughter's life will remain that way! So what if Linda is willing to spend her last penny on buying her daughter everything that her teenage heart desires? Who cares if she spends thousands of dollars on her daughter's extensive designer purse collection? It makes her happy!! And no, her daughter will not be getting a job, because jobs are for old people!! Linda is a parent, and that means she supports her kid 175%. Enough said!!!!
4. Spoiled Rottyn
Hahahahahaha, ohhhh Jacquelyn, keep telling yourself (and all of your friends, apparently) that you're "conning" your daughter by lavishing her with expensive products and underwear. Somewhere between Victoria's Secret and picking out "anything Louis Vuitton" at the mall, I hope you reconsidered who's conning whom. Being spoiled rotten isn't as cute as it seems (to you).
5. What Is Happeningggg
This is the gift-wrapping equivalent of actresses saying they were getting dressed for twelve hours before an awards show. I think a person needs to start wrapping this stuff in July for it to not become overwhelming. That or hire a personal gift wrapper, which I can't imagine is out of the question for parents who are willing to purchase enough presents to fill a studio apartment. It's like a sea of gifts, with so many waves of packages crushing each other, I can't tell how many presents there really are. No matter, though. The outcome is as predictable as you'd think:
The look on this child's face is one of sheer disappointment OR complete exhaustion after unwrapping presents for 18 hours straight with no bathroom breaks. Rachel's cheeky placement of that winky face is enough to make me want to douse the whole mountain of presents and gift wrapping with gasoline and set it on fire. I might even throw in the little girl's beloved giant doll, just because it freaks me out.
No kid needs this many gifts. For reals.
6. Mom's Gold Star Palate Cleanser
As a Facebook user and an adult, I'd much rather read a refreshing update about a parent re-gifting her kid her own stuff than read about a baby's #shoeaddiction. (Especially when the kid's only been walking for a year.) Katy's sneaky version of gift-giving on her daughter's birthday rivals the boldness of canceling Christmas, and if I had to make one Christmas wish (even though I'm Jewish), it would be that more parents practice these versions of celebrating. In the meantime, all I ask is that people avoid posting the 'Great Wall of Presents' photos this season. The holidays are about generosity, not building fortresses out of dozens of individually wrapped toys for your kids.