Let me preface this post with yes, I’m fully and completely aware this is a #FirstWorldProblem. But surely I’m not alone.
So here’s my confession: I’m having a hard time with Christmas this year.
We’ve written in the past about how to keep Christmas clutter-free. We also know that this season is more about giving than anything else – experiencing that joy with our kids, when they finally reach the age where they get that they can be on the other end of things. That they can be the ones perpetuating the holiday spirit through giving their own time, talents, and gifts to others that are lonely or less fortunate.
Too Many Presents
Ultimately? My kids really want for nothing. They have enough clothes to wear, a warm spacious roof over their heads, love & laughter, LEGOS for miles, a dog at their heels, books & video games at their disposal. Stuffed animals multiply like vermin. We have FOUR basketballs, and board games we’ve only played once. We are so fortunate to be able to provide these things, but I worry about having too many Christmas presents.
So what’s a mom to do with more? How do I reconcile childhood Christmas magic without perpetuating a sense of entitlement, however innocent that may be? I don’t want to be a Scrooge, but I just can’t get over how quickly it all starts to pile up, and how so many kids never even come close to having all the things we have.
We need a Christmas moderation check at my house.
Something They Want, Something They Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read
In looking into what other families do, this approach shows a lot of promise. Everyone wins here – kids, parents, and teachers. Growing kids can always use a pair of jeans or shoes, and books are my favorite thing to give – here’s a great book list. Planning gift-giving around this motto still leaves wiggle room for that one big thing the kids REALLY want, and one thing you think they will use the most.
Three Gifts Were Good Enough for Baby Jesus
Another popular sentiment, especially here in the South. Now I don’t recommend gold, frankincense and myrrh, but applying an internal limit to three gifts per child seems perfectly reasonable to me. Of course, this rule doesn’t need to include grandmas and grandpas. Good luck keeping them in check.
I can’t be the only parent concerned about a blessing of riches this year. We hope to be very thoughtful about giving experiences rather than things, and utilizing one of the processes above when it comes to giving gifts to our kids. But I want to hear from you – do you have any ideas to share? What has worked for your family?
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Stephenie has worked with and around books and authors for over 12 years, both at retail booksellers and public libraries. She is a rare Huntsville native, mother of two high-energy boys, wife of one, and eerily addicted to community volunteering. When she's not being the Managing Editor for RCM she likes to stalk her favorite authors online, cook with way too much butter, and also manages to conduct freelance marketing and PR work.