It is Thanksgiving weekend and the Christmas lists have begun. Actually, for Alex, our 4 year old, the Christmas list started the day after his birthday back in August and has been amended and re prioritized dozens of times.
Gary, my husband, and I were talking this weekend about the kids and what we wanted to do for them for Christmas. When I asked Gary what he wanted to do for each of the boys, he responded, “I just want to be able to give our kids everything.” Which sparked the conversation, ‘what is everything’? I think as parents we immediately default to material things. It’s easy, and certainly what society and the media support. But think back to your Christmas’ growing up. I came from a middle class family. We certainly had everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted too, but there certainly were limits. I always remember having wonderful Christmas and receiving lots of gifts growing up but really when I look back it isn’t so much the presents and the whole experience of Christmas. I remember being excited when the JC Penny wish book came and I would start making my list which was always no less than a dozen pages long. My parents would then ask me to prioritize the list to the things that I REALLY wanted. After several revisions I would finally get it down to what I felt was a reasonable 3 or 4 pages. But you know what? I can’t tell you in any given year what I actually got versus what was on the list. I just remember the tradition of making it. I also remember other traditions. We always got a calendar for our rooms, an orange in one of our stockings and a bar of marzipan covered in chocolate. Sure I can remember various presents if I think back, but the point is, I remember the whole feeling of Christmas versus the individual things.
So what is the point of this rambling? I really feel that as parents we need to give ourselves a break financially and emotionally. I think more than the presents, giving your child everything means giving them 100% of you when you are with them. That is what they remember and makes them happy. What made you the happiest about your Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate growing up?