Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How Many???

No for once I am not talking about how many kids we want.
Even though I think 4 could be it! haha!
I am talking about Christmas, and the gifts we give our kids and each other.

When I was growing up my parents divorced. Which means one thing for a kid.
MORE PRESENTS at the holidays and parents trying to out do each other at times.
I was just stuck in the middle, haha I say that like it bothered me but let's face it, I sadly loved every minute of the gift giving goodness from both sides of my family. It was like the freaking jack pot every year.
I would make a list for my dads side and my moms side, and somehow they never failed to have every present under the tree. I will say I was a tad spoiled. It was just me and my brother and of course he never wanted anything but video games so that left plenty of room for them to shower their only girl with gifts.

Gag me, it pains me to even say that.

When I look back I want to not only punch myself in the face but also tell my parents not to have showered me so heavily or given into my every wish for gifts. I will say it was not super out of control, there was always a limit but it was still more than any girl needed for Christmas. Especially when Christmas is NOT about me or any of us for that matter. Yet we shower and shower each other and our kids with gifts like there is no tomorrow.

I walk through the stores and see piled up carts of gifts out the wazoo and mothers being rude in check out lines or snarky to others looking for gifts. I was just buying wipes the other day and the tension in the store was so high I wanted to suffocate. Another reason why I am an online shopper. Bah Hum Bug is all I could think on these people's faces. I literally cannot handle going any where near the mall or shopping areas at Christmas. Everyone seems so bitter and crazy. This is not how it is supposed to be. There are people spending way more than they can afford, "because it's Christmas" is their excuse. "It's only once a year", "My son or daughter NEED this".  People are maxing out credit cards and for what?? I can't stand the excuses. In my eyes you should not be buying something just because. Christmas is about Christ, about Jesus, about the birth of Jesus and to reflect on what we have, our family, our life. The gift of life and love. That is what it is about in my eyes.

I never grew up very religious so obviously Christmas to me was just a gift giving holiday and Jesus's birthday, but my eyes were more on the gifts. I don't want that for my kids. I don't want that at all. I see the spoiled mess of teenagers and adults that mindset has created. Luckily for me my parents still made me work hard and have jobs to teach me responsibility but some children are just catered to every day of the year.

Vincent's first Christmas he was showered with more gifts than one can imagine, Jordan and I both come from divorced parents so you see how quickly the gifts can multiply and add up. At first I was okay with the whole spoiling my son, because I was so in love with him that I wanted him to have it all. I mean duh, he was one, he needed it all. IDIOT, IDIOT, IDIOT (palm to face). Vincent was 8 months old at the time, homeboy had no idea what day it even was, let alone what all these "gifts" were. I am pretty sure he just played with the wrapping paper and boxes and cried a little. He probably cried because he was overwhelmed by the madness that Christmas has become.
I think back to each of my kids births, the pure bliss that comes in the moments they enter the world (insert teary eyes because I am hormonal) and it's the kind of joy you can't ever BUY. It is happiness to the highest and it's all about the love we share with those moments. No one is unwrapping boxes in the delivery room, no one is making long drawn out lists of what they "need", its true raw love. It's loving the gift of life that God has given us. Family, and sharing a beautiful moment together. I just think that is how Christmas should be. Family, spending precious moments together, not worrying about what's hidden inside the box. Real love is shown through actions, not gifts. 

I was talking with a mom at the boys school book fair a few months ago and somehow we got on the topic of gift giving and birthdays and Christmas and how outrageous it has become. She said it magically, she said I cannot stand "the exchange of money", that is all it is. You are pretty much exchanging money with people. My brother and I exchanged gifts for a few years. I would tell him what I wanted and he would tell me what he wanted and we would buy and exchange. There was literally not much meaning behind it, it was more a "here is what you wanted" and vice versa. How MAGICAL is that?? It's just silly. Silly. Silly. Silly.

For our boys we buy one gift, and the funny thing is we had a hard time even thinking of one for Vincent and Jude. I let Vincent look through a toy ad and of course he said he wanted every thing, not even KNOWING what the heck some of the things were. I am pretty sure he said he wanted a trash can also. Obviously if you show your kids a ton of toys they will say they want them all. I love my kids, I really do but there is no way in God's green earth that I will ever give into their "wants". We have to know hands down that they will need and want the item or else it's not worth buying because guess what, it goes unused and just gets donated. After a month or so we finally pin pointed an item for each that they will LOVE. I think we spent a rocking $75 on all 3 and they will LOVE the things we got. When they get older, we will do one gift each kid and then also a family gift that they can all use together. But from us you will only see one gift for each kid under the tree.

As far as grandparents go I seriously try to regulate the gifts. Mainly because I want their gifts to be used and cherished and not just thrown to collect dust in the toyroom. I try to coordinate them so they can all get the most bang for the buck and most play. I found this stand from Land of Nod that I knew would get tons of use over the years. Instead of my parents buying each kid a gift they got this one. Then I let the other grandparents know and we coordinated things to go with the stand, like puppets and a cash register and grocery items. Therefore, we limit the number of gifts and they have tons of possibilities all stemming from one stand. I feel like grouping toys and items together helps. The toys the boys always end up playing with are ones that are alike. So like Thomas the train sets, kitchen and food and Imaginext toys, if they are random odds and ends they get pushed to the side and forgotten about.

I guess that is just my two cents for the holidays and the craziness of gift giving. Focusing on spending time with our loved ones and EATING yummy food is what it's all about. We are doing all the days of advent along with Elf on the Shelf and are having so much fun with all the fun activities, way cooler than gifts in my eyes! We have made cookies, decorated the tree, dressed the dog as a reindeer, made homemade ornaments, made hot cocoa and had fun as a family creating memories. 
You may wonder if Jordan and I exchange gifts and I think you can guess, we don't. If Jordan ever wants something he just buys it on Amazon without even blinking and same goes for me.We do try to take a vacation and weekend trip alone during the year so that is a huge gift in itself. But other than that this family is very minimal on the gifts.

I will add, the one thing we do yearly, that I love and that has little cost is we make our families a calendar on Shutterfly. We give them to our parents and grandparents and they LOVE them. Its something useful and needed every year and they are FILLED with pictures of the boys and our family. It's like a scrapbook and calendar in one. Hands down the best gift. Jordan heard about this idea on the radio and we will never stop giving these bad boys out as a gift. It's meaningful and used every day by our loved ones.

There you have it, a lot of people wonder why we do our gifts the way we do and there it is. I am not offended by the way others do it. Each family is different and has different ways they celebrate holidays, same with any other holiday, we are all different! 

I am excited to give the boys a huge gift this week of their new sibling, that is the ultimate thing they wanted so I am so excited to introduce them to him or her in a few days!!! 

Merry Christmas friends! 

1 comment:

  1. Love what you've written! We are following a similar 'path' when it comes to Christmas. Thinking about you these next couple days as your new babe is about to arrive! Take care!

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