I’m over it
When did the holidays become so …. forced? Last month, when I sat down to figure out what to get everyone, it dawned on me, I’m not having fun anymore. I don’t want to spend all my hard earned money on something that won’t be remembered or enjoyed. I am so tired of looking at all the crap my kids already have. The thought of adding to it just makes me feel sick.
At Claire’s birthday party, she had 20 kids there, and that meant 20 gifts, and all I could think was, “That’s a lot of stuff.” Part of me wished I had said to the parents, “Bring something that can be donated to a local homeless/animal shelter,” but it was Claire’s first real birthday party and I didn’t want to rain on her parade. Still, though, I feel as if she got so much stuff, people spent so much of their money on my kid and what for? So her room could be even more cluttered than it already is? I’m not saying I’m ungrateful, because I’m not. But I am wondering when it became all about stuff?
Everyone is entitled to do their own things with their own families, but I, after talking it out with Matt, decided that this Christmas we are doing a simple Christmas.
From us, the kids will get exactly one thing. And this one thing will be handmade by us. They will get their gifts from Santa (which for the record, they are only allowed to ask for simple things, because, as I explain, “Santa has to make a lot of things for a lot of kids. So if you ask for a Barbie Dream House, that’s 200 dollars, and that keeps other kids from getting gifts. That’s not fair,”) and then they will get the one handmade gift from Matt and me. The rest of the family is free to do what they want when it comes to giving gifts to my kids. When they asked what to give them, I’ve given practical answers. Claire, for example, wants a white board in her room. Her uncle will be getting her just that. I’ve also asked for experiences. A private lesson for Claire or Luca at taekwondo. My mom paid for Mae to go to a Frozen Fantasy Camp at dance class, which she ADORED.
When I talked to Matt about it, I presented it like this: Do you remember what you got the kids for Christmas last year? Vaguely. What about when you took Luca to the museum. You remember that.
You remember the trips and the experiences. The stuff is fun to unwrap, sure, but the time alone with dad or mom is pretty awesome.
So what are the kids getting this Christmas? They’re getting a coupon book, one for each kid, with things like, “Dad has to clean out Jill’s litter box,” “One extra treat after dinner,” “Mom will pick up all the Legos,” “Extra 10 minutes in the bathtub,” and “An afternoon with mom or dad, alone.”
Mae and Luca will be going with Matt to the museum, and Matt will be taking Claire ice skating. (Audrey is too small to even notice she’s being left out of this.)
We are making Claire a thing to hang her medals on. We are making Luca a Lego chest that looks exactly like a giant Lego brick and we are making Mae and Audrey a toy chest.
Matt will construct them, I will finish and paint them. It will be something they remember, or at least we will, and it means something. That’s my whole point. It will mean something.
I am also making my sister’s gift and mom’s gift. And I’m having fun doing it, too. So perhaps the gift isn’t so much what they’re getting, rather what I’m getting in making it.
The point is, I want my kids to remember that the holidays aren’t about me, me, me. Rather, that they’re about family, good food, baking, Christmas lights, music and that feeling of excitement and wonder.
I remember Claire’s second Christmas, only because we went to the zoo the day after. I don’t remember what she got. But the zoo was fun, and it was 65 degrees that day.
I remember when I was a kid packing my bags and going to my grandparents house Christmas day to stay for a week.
I remember the year I made, with the help of my sister, a book of all of my mom’s blogs.
I remember that feeling, Christmas Eve night, looking at the tree and feeling that overwhelming sense of magic.
I will remember this year. Magic and all.