In an effort to combat the materialism and endless flood of breakable plastic junk that seems to accompany each Christmas, my husband and I decided last year to limit the number of toys that came into our house on or around December 25th.
Having just moved into our brand new digs complete with a big, open play room, we opted to splurge and purchase a "Bounce House" as the "big present." Thinking that this would be a good lesson in appreciation and understanding that it is not quantity but quality that counts.
What we failed to recognize is that when you are five and your Christmas's have previously included great quantities of gifts cascading out from under the tree, it is difficult to understand, regardless of how QUALITY the big present is, why you only got three gifts.
Yep. We got each kid three presents.
And no stockings.
Please don't get me wrong, the kids loved the bounce house and each of their three gifts. They were over the moon for them.
They played all day and had so much fun but that was little comfort for the knife in my heart after hearing my oldest son say to my middle guy, "Wow. Not many presents this year like the other years. Guess we didn't do so good."
Knife. Heart. Ouch.
The decision was made, right then and there, that we would do our best to remedy the situation.
And so it was that two remorseful parents went gallivanting on December 26th snapping up every single solitary toy that was left in any store in 40 mile radius. We wrapped the gifts and stuffed the stockings. We shoved it all back behind the tree and set about our plan.
On December 27th when we began taking down the tree, my oldest son suddenly exclaimed, "Hey!! We missed a present! It is back here behind the tree!!"
"No way!" my husband and I exchanged conspiratorial glances, "Is there just one?"
"Holy Moly! There are bunch! And stockings too!"
When he emerged from beneath the tree with all the loot he said, "I guess Santa wasn't mad at us after all! He was just being tricky."
Knife. Heart. Twist.
Oh that sweet boy.
It was declared on that day, that if we could help it, we would never again deny our children the bells and whistles of Christmas.
We will never again forgo the excessive spending and wrapping in the name of teaching our kids about the true spirit of Christmas.
Those are lessons for the other 364 days of the year. We live our lives so that our children know how good it feels to give. They are not materialistic. They are not spoiled (by us). They are DAMN good kids.
They deserve to have Santa's magic come down our chimney and fill our house with toys and treats everything children believe Christmas to be.
This year we will participate in the materialistic plastic celebration. This year the stockings will be hung by the chimney with care. This year St. Nicklaus will definitely be there.