Joe and I started a little tradition with the kids a few years back. We told them that they would only be getting three presents from Santa. Gasp! I know! What kind of Grinches are we? We told them that, “Jesus got three presents, and if it was good enough for Him it is good enough for you. Besides, Santa has a lot of presents to deliver and we wouldn’t want to be greedy.”
They totally bought it!
Now before you think we are totally maniacal, let me explain. Our reasoning was twofold. One is that I can’t stand the stuff. I find myself clearing out toy boxes and cabinets prior to the holiday to only make room for more stuff. We are literally drowning in it. Although I don’t think we overindulge our kids, we certainly have more than some kids. I find myself having to think up things to give them, or ask for around birthdays and holidays, because they literally don’t need a thing. And for crying out loud, we have four kids! If every kid got ten presents and you multiplied that by 18 years and then you carried the 1 and, well, you understand…
The other reason is that we don’t want the kids to be centered on the stuff, either. If you are Facebook friends with me, you have probably seen that we’ve taken several “Christmas road trips” this year. We would rather create memories with the kids than give them things. I tell them that “We would rather do stuff than have stuff.” I know that someday, when this whole Santa gig is up, our kids will be in therapy talking about that Ipad that they never got because their parents were too altruistic, but that’s a chance we’re willing to take.
So far, they haven’t complained. Charlie literally asked for “Star Wars action figures, a Mario DS game and a board game” for Christmas and Finn asked for “a toy boat, a toy train (without a face) and a blanket.” Does it get any better? And then there is this:
Each night before bed, we say our “Sweet and Sours” for the day. It’s a chance for the kids to voice a complaint or say something that upset them, but also find something positive about their day. Charlie, completely unprovoked, wrote, “I am glad that I have a suportive family to suport me around Christmas time. I am glad that I have a rich and happy family and not poor (freesing cold with no home.) Family to go cool Christmas places and ufourd the big winter taxs.”
My job is done. I don’t think he could get any sweeter. I did ask what the “big winter taxes are.” He said “it’s the money you pay in the winter so you can go places.” Hmm… that’s a good thought. Maybe we should tell Obama.
And then we took them to see Santa. Finn, who normally is so particular about EVERYTHING, told Santa that “It didn’t matter what he brought him.” I couldn’t believe it! I almost cried right there on the spot! Top that off with the fact that Finn actually held one of the babies in the picture for me and it nearly blew my mind! (Finn normally won’t hold the babies because he is afraid they are going to slobber on him!)
So, this year, in light of the devastation and tragedy that seems to be all around us, my Christmas spirit is renewed in the faces of my own kids. We will be enjoying a family centered holiday that is light on the gifts and heavy on the love! Merry Christmas!