I tried to find a cute sweater for John for picture day, since the boy has grown out of everything he owns. But I ended up in Aeropostale. John pulled tags off of shirts, harrassed customers, dumped a dozen pairs of sweatpants on the floor, and misplaced all the sale signs. I
When Emma was a toddler, and Clara just a baby, I felt like all the Christmas gits were getting out of control. So for many years, (until last year, actually) we had a three gift limit. Santa Claus would leave one big gift, and Mommy and Daddy would give each child three gifts - one for each of the three gifts that the wise men brought to baby Jesus.
In the beginning, it was tough. I had to get over the nagging feeling that giving my kids only three gifts (technically 4, since Saint Nick has yet to actually pay for something out of his own pocket) was mean. I was almost embarassed to tell anyone what we did. But you know what? It made things so much easier! They still got little prizes in their stockings from Santa. But it forced me to really think things through before making a purchase. The kids had happier Christmas mornings. They loved what they were given, and they weren't crabby or exhausted from opening too many gifts. Ryan and I felt content too, knowing we hadn't gone overboard.
Since the girls have gotten older, I did away with the three gift tradition last year. Emma only wanted clothes and music, and I couldn't see giving her only 3 shirts. I still stuck to a budget, but the shopping was actually harder for me!
Now I'm sitting here, looking at the purchases I made today for Emma. So far, three t-shirts and a zip-up hoodie. I don't even know what else I'll be purchasing for her, but I DO know that I miss the three gift limit. I guess it makes me feel like I'm falling into the trap of excessiveness again.
The excessiveness at Christmas frustrates me. It seems almost everyone I know goes nuts with the amount of stuff they buy their kids. Electric scooters, game systems, cell phones - you name it. (Don't EVEN get me started on the "kids with cell phones" thing!)
So I wonder, when does it stop? What's next??
For the 11 year old with the iPhone - what's expected next? And what happens when these kids are in the "real world" one day. What exactly is it that they'll think they're intitled to? And what is it teaching them, to surround them with hundreds and hundreds of dollars of gifts, when there might be a child in their class that doesn't have a warm coat? Now I'm rambling....
SO. How about you? Do you find ourself going "overboard" with your kids at Christmas? If not, how do you keep yourself from buying too much "stuff"? I'd love to hear about it!