It's the most wonderful time of the year, and y'all know what that means! Scrolling through your Facebook feed feels like talking a stroll through a mall. Santa is there, of course, sitting with all your friends' tiny children on his lap, but I'm referring more specifically to the feeling of actually being inside a giant toy store. Each year, as many of our friends continue to have children, we're increasingly exposed to photos of the crap they got them for Christmas. Like it or not, posting these photos has become a bit of a holiday tradition for many people on social media. For some parents, this is a harmless way of sharing that their children are happy and want for nothing. They're sending a casual message of, "Look at my child's smile as she stands next to her new bike. Isn't this what the holidays and family are all about?" with a loving air of total sincerity.
And yes, of course it is, we all tell ourselves as we Like the photo, wondering what our parents did way back in the 1960s or the 1980s when they -- gasp! -- had no fucking clue what their friends purchased for their kids during the holidays. I'm trying to imagine either of my grandfathers, or my own father, for that matter, giving the slightest shit about whatever gifts their friends' kids' had received, and whether or not they enjoyed them. This is because people didn't measure respect for their friends and fellow parents by checking out what all they bought for their kids for Christmas. No one was like, "Man, my friends are going to think I am the **greatest** Dad when I show them these 35mm photos of my kids' Christmas presents stacked up to the ceiling." Why? Because our parents, and their parents, didn't care. Showing off photos like that would've been gauche regardless of who you were, because it would've implied that you thought your friends were invested in your kids' affinity for toys. Plus, giving in to your kid's every desire used to be somewhat frowned upon, rather than celebrated like it often is now. Long after Christmas had turned into a highly commercialized holiday with an emphasis on gift-giving, parents still didn't make a huge show of what they bought for their kids. At school, children bragged about what they got, or they bullied kids who didn't score anything good. Kids were the ones who pushed the immature agenda that 'more presents equals better parents.' Parents didn't tend to reinforce that idea themselves.
Today, though, all of that has changed. Whether it's the result of never letting go of those childhood notions, or merely a consequence of wealth-obsessed popular culture, social media now allows parents to brag about what they buy for their kids in both direct and roundabout ways that previous generations didn't bother with. And it's not like these parents are bragging about purchasing their kids precision telescopes or karate lessons. Usually, they're just fulfilling their own childhood fantasies by gifting their kids overpriced toys that will likely be obsolete within a matter of months.
Not to mention, everyone puts so pressure on themselves, a parent's desire to simply be a good mom or dad and give their kids a warm, happy Christmas isn't enough anymore. Parents are so consumed with wanting to please their rabid children (who have come to expect the fanciest products on the market) or impress their equally-superficial Facebook friends, they lose the entire meaning of Christmas while trying to be perfect or the "best." This results in treating the holiday like it's merely a game in which spoiled children are the "winners." No wonder so many parents act like righteous assholes around Christmas. They've got kids and Facebook friends to impress, and anyone who stands in the way of that goal is essentially *ruining* Christmas.
Fuck off, Casse. UPS workers are like Santa's minions IRL, and they're not always going to complete their deliveries on time around the holidays. If you're not sure why that is, consider reading an article about Amazon's unrealistic expectations for its workers in order-fulfillment warehouses, and then apply that crime against humanity to UPS's unrealistic delivery expectations for its many drivers during the holiday season, and what you'll end up with are thousands of unhappy people, most of whom work for Amazon and UPS. If you're more concerned with what a toddler thinks about Santa Claus versus how an adult working at a call center feels when she's told by a stranger than she's "ruined Christmas," then how about going out and buying the gift your damn self?? It's no one's "fault" if Christmas is "ruined" because Amazon's "elves" (aka modern day slaves) can't fulfill your order quickly enough, nor is it a UPS driver's fault when a gift isn't delivered during the busiest shopping season of the year. Conveniences like online shopping don't come without their share of downsides. If you're not emotionally equipped to handle the news that "Santa" got stuck in traffic, and you're not raising your kid to be emotionally equipped, either, might I suggest volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve instead? Oh, and taking a long, hard look in the mirror, because ranting on Facebook about making a "worker" cry makes you sound far worse than the Grinch ever did. It actually makes you sound like a soulless monster.
With all of this holiday "spirit" in mind, let's take a look at some examples of Christmas last year, during which time parents did not heed my advice and resumed flagrantly posting with jubilance about spoiling their kids rotten. PRO-TIP: If you're going to post a picture of your kids on Christmas Day, avoid collecting all of your kids' crap for the photo and using the word "spoiled" as though it's a great compliment. No one really cares how much stuff you bought for your kid, OR if your kid likes it. And wouldn't it be nice if bragging wasn't so trendy this year?
1. Can U Say Spoiled?
Jesus Christ is right. I bet Jesus *wishes* he got all this stuff for his birthday when he was born! Look at all those action figures, cars, and piles of what are sure to become future family heirlooms! I think there's a Christmas tree in there somewhere, too, if you squint. The kid is probably outside somewhere playing with some sticks and pinecones.
2. Nice Haul
Possessed cats are great and all, but Thomas's jokes can't fully distract me from Jessica's very proud arrangement of her kid's presents. She probably should've left out the part about how her daughter's grandparents, whose gifts aren't pictured here, went 'overboard lol.' Pics or it didn't happen, Jessica. I don't believe that your kid's grandparents purchased her another 17 items from the LEGO 'Friends' line until you prove it with pictures!!!
3. Staged Happiness
"Okay, kids, grab all your shit and bring it into the kitchen! I've got to meticulously stack up your piles of loot so that you can individually pose with all your holiday goodies for my Facebook friends to admire." Ugh. There's something depressing about posing children in front of a bunch of plastic gifts like they're visiting the Grand Canyon. Sadly, this scene is a whole other kind of "earthly wonder" that will later re-appear in the form of a landfill.
4. Truly Loved Children Get The Mostest
If you've ever felt truly unloved around the holidays and thought deep-down that it was because your parents never bought you the equivalent of a whole toy store for Christmas—you're right. Some parents DO buy their children the equivalent of a whole toy store for Christmas, AND they document it to show off how much they love their kids on top of that! "Children will never be properly nurtured unless they're drowning in materialism." That's what the Pope always says.
5. Santa's Nice List = All The Things
Okay, seriously, what is happening here? Is this child sitting amongst her Christmas presents, or is she chilling in the stockroom at Toys R Us? Check out the carousel of costumes dangling behind her. I can barely see the floor. I'm not saying this little girl wasn't "nice" last year or whatever, but I can't endorse this level of reward. Couldn't she have just gotten chocolate chip pancakes for being good, rather than the entire kids' section at Target? And how does she think Santa managed to fit everyone else's toys onto his sleigh if he had to bring her all this stuff? Logistically speaking, it makes no sense.
6. Mom's Gold Star
Let's finish out this column on a positive note. Here we have a kid sitting with his Mickey Mouse balloon against a wall that isn't made of presents, but he still looks like he's got it made. This Christmas, remember when you're posting on Facebook that it's the sentiment of your status updates that counts, not the number of presents that your kid is surrounded by. No one is ever as impressed as you think they are.