Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: A New Family Tradition

This year, I've come to the realization (which makes me feel a bit bad about the state of things in my household, actually) that my children do not need anything. I'm being perfectly honest here. They don't need more clothes. New shoes. New jackets. New toys. New electronics. A big fat nada.

My kids tend to get whatever their hearts desire. If we don't get it for them, their grandparents do. Now, I realize that it is a tremendous blessing to be able to give one's children everything they desire. Don't get me wrong. I do feel, however, that the amassing of mass quantities of goods also leads to a tremendous sense of entitlement and a lack of valuation of the things they thought they absolutely had to have. Consider the current state of our playroom.

I'm not alone in this. I'm positive of it.
So, here's what I'm doing this year to start scaling back our Christmas. In years past, I would go hog wild at Christmas time, buying a ton of presents. I wanted to give them everything I thought they wanted, but I also felt pressured to have a gorgeous array of gifts under the tree. First of all, I'm not going Black Friday shopping. I have in the past, and I have pegged it as kicking off the feeding frenzy of holiday gifting. I'm going to spend the day with my family, as it was intended.

Here's the second thing. I explained to the girls last night that this year we are going to try something new. They get to make a list of twelve "things." Two of the things can be bigger presents. One can be an experience - like spending the day in the "big city," going to a play, a special dance workshop, etc. One should be a new book that they really, really want to read. The other eight should be smaller things they really, really desire.

Simplifying Christmas
It breaks down like this.
Here's what I'm hoping.  First, it gets my kids to think about what they really would like to have and what they would value, since they only get to pick so many things. Second, it automatically makes the number of presents I have to buy even (something I always struggle with having two kids). Third, there's less I have to wrap. Ha! All joking aside, I think it will be fun for them to make a list that requires some thought, rather than just listing off EVERY SINGLE THING they saw in the past year that they would like to have (we're then going to take them to Macy's and mail them off to Santa next week while I'm off for Thanksgiving break). Of course, I will also probably throw in a few surprises so that Christmas morning is still fun and has a magical element of the unexpected - there's always the stockings to fill!

Oh, and we are going to do the Kindness Elves tradition this year. You guys know how I feel about that damned elf (and in case you don't, here's a post explaining exactly what I think about that little jerk). What ways are you cutting back this year, if you are? A/J

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