It’s that time of year again. The time where everyone is so busy shopping for Christmas gifts that no one actually has any time to spend with loved ones. Or at least that’s how it feels. Stores are packed, bank accounts are empty and social engagements are hard to plan.
I don’t mean to sound bitter. I’m not. I just think the holidays are meant to be shared with friends and family, not spent at the mall with strangers fighting over the last Hatchimal. This time of year can be overwhelming enough. Wouldn’t you rather just sit down with a few good friends and share a laugh over a few cocktails? I would. But instead I’ve been experiencing what I like to call Christmas anxiety. I’m sure most of us suffer from it in one form or another. Before we had kids, I didn’t notice it so much. We aren’t a big gift-giving family. We only buy for our niece and nephews. We don’t exchange gifts with our parents and, as a couple, we don’t buy each other presents. We just feel like if we need it, we’ll buy it but otherwise, we don’t need it. Now that we’ve had kids, things are different and slightly more complicated. I fully abide by the “only buy what you need” philosophy, especially since our family has grown. Money is tight and living frugally has emerged partly out of necessity. But I’ve also come to really appreciate it, as I wrote about it my last post, No Money, No Problems. For me, living minimalistically has actually made me feel healthier, happier and lighter. It is so refreshing to not feel like I have to buy anything. To not feel like I am deprived in some way or missing anything in my life. My closet is still full of clothes that I’m sick of but not needing to remedy that is less stressful than trying to find new clothes. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate having that weight lifted off my shoulders. A weight that I didn’t even realize was there before.
That being said, our kids do not want for much. We are lucky in the hand-me-down department and I’ve found some amazing bargains at Value Village. They have a plethora of toys that we frequently either rotate or donate. I would say that we still have too many toys and they are often overwhelmed with the options so they don’t play with anything. We will do another purge before Christmas morning arrives. And that brings me to my main point.
If you live in a family that is fortunate enough to be able to afford gifts for your little ones, count yourself lucky. And if you’re able to splurge on your kids, you’re even luckier. But can we please all live by this one simple rule? Santa makes and delivers one gift to each child. One. Not two. Not Twelve. ONE. Santa’s a busy fellow so one gift per child is all he can handle. If you want to shower your family with gifts, go for it…but under your own name. Not Santa’s. Please. I’m begging you.
Children talk to each other and when a child who received one gift from Santa hears that another child received ten, they come home with some very difficult questions and some even more difficult emotions. “Mom, how come I only got one gift from Santa but Billy got ten? Was I bad?”
Breaks your heart, doesn’t it? It should.
So please, parents, don’t ruin it for the rest of us. We’re the ones having to explain to our children why Santa played favourites with Billy. Our children will learn soon enough about the injustices in the world. They will soon discover that life isn’t always fair. But let’s give them a few more years to develop those brain cells and learn the coping mechanisms required to deal with such big issues. Again, please. I’m begging you.
And while I’m at it, the Tooth Fairy does not leave $100 for your kid’s first tooth. She leaves whatever change is lying around that night. So just cut that shit out.
Photos courtesy of Jillian Schecher Studio