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Getting caught up in the wrong things

This holiday season (for the record, I am referring to it as the holiday season because Christmas does not start until December 25 and it seems a little too narrow to refer to it as Advent), I am doing just what I said I would not.

Well, I am doing what I said I would a few weeks ago, which is embracing the season. I listen to Christmas music every day in the car (mixed in with some sports radio, of course). I am trying my best to be extra pleasant to people while waiting in long lines. More often than usual, I let cars in traffic get in front of me. I have worn my various Santa hats (PSU, Steelers, red) several times , including yesterday during lunch duty. I bought a gift for the angel tree at church and have given a donation to the food bank. And I finished my Christmas cards before Thanksgiving and painstakingly waited to send them out until November 29 (just could not wait until December 1).

The thing that I did not want to do was get caught up in the presents, which is exactly what I am doing. Finances are tough this year, and yet I still feel intent on buying Jordan over a half dozen things, even knowing that her one grandma will have at least 15 to 20 presents for her to open up.

I am loathe to admit this, but I felt bad last year (even though Jordan did not seem to) when Jordan saw that Santa brought her what I remembered as only four or five things. When I saw those items under the tree Christmas morning and watched her pick them up and look at them, which took all of a few minutes (Santa does not wrap gifts in this house), it seemed like a letdown.

Believe me, I emphasize the Christian aspect of Christmas. Jordan talks about Jesus and God. She plays with her Little People Nativity set. She willingly donated her piggy bank money for a gift for a less fortunate kid. She has only three items on her Christmas list! In some ways, the kid is probably more religious than I am.

But I just can't help thinking that I am slighting Jordan on the secular, Santa part. Sadly, as I am sitting here tallying up what I spent on her and other relatives, I looked at my list from last year. Jordan actually ended up with seven or eight things. Why is it that I remembered only a few? More importantly, why does it even matter?

Am I alone in this? Believe me, I have no desire to spend hundreds of dollars on my kid; and I don't, nor do I begrudge those who want to do just that. So why is it that I am so focused on the wrong things?


Sherri said…
I know what you mean. We do a Santa list for everyone, but we try to emphasize giving to others, enjoying one another by baking, laughing, skating - whatever during the "season"; we even get our teen to donate money, scale back what she wants, use her own hard-earned money for gifts, etc. Like you, though, I often think they get too much, BUT I don't want them to be disappointed on Christmas morning because it is a season of joy and giving and ... it is ALL about kids, isn't it (and Santa :-). This year, I got my boys to nail their "really want" gifts down to one or two so they will have a thrill Christmas morning when they get those things (even it they're big), but then.... I do little things... trinkets they might enjoy playing with or family gifts like movies that even little sis (who still doesn't get it) or big sis (who is no longer a santa girl, obviously) will enjoy as well. Sigh. Happy shopping, and.... keep up that spirit! Love the music and the decorations :-). Jealous that you have your cards out; I have yet to START mine.
Anonymous said…
Why doesn't Santa wrap gifts?
Facie said…
Sherri: I typically send cards out around 12.23 (one year 12.26!), but I went an entire month without working, so I had time on my hands!

Anonymous: The no-Santa deal is a holdover from when I was a kid. I think it was a combo of my parents giving us big gifts that could not easily be wrapped and their being too tired to wrap something like 30 gifts. My mom insists that Santa did wrap some, but I do not remember it that way. I am considering wrapping some this year. But my poor wrap job would probably give it away.
We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our house and, since my boys are the only grandchildren on either side of the family, they are overloaded with gifts at this time of year. My husband and I decided not to buy gifts for them from us because we notice how little they actually stop and take in the abundance that they do have (plus, they're 3 and 18 months so they don't really process what is from whom).

That being said, they, like your daughter, are very good about hearing "no" when they ask for something they can't have. But, like you, sometimes it's me who ends up feeling bad about it rather than them.
Facie said…
Kristen: Glad I am not alone in feeling bad. It IS nice when they are young and don't get it. For the first couple of years, we bought nothing for Jordan either.
chris h. said…
So much of it is ME wanting the joy of giving, even know the kids don't really get the joy of receiving beyond the 10-second, rip-open-the-package. I know my little great-nephews (5,3,9 mos) will get a ton of stuff, but I wanted to get something anyway just to see them open it and like it for those 10 seconds. It's crazy. We also picked a couple "giving tree" names, and while I know that is important, I miss seeing the child's reaction to the gift. So really, I'm making it all too much about me -- not very "spirit of Christmas." :(
Facie said…
Chris: I totally get the joy of seeing people open gifts you know they will like. Last Christmas, I got my then-4.5 year old nephew a shirt and a toy (the latter knowing he would not want the clothes). And was I ever right. When he opened the shirt box, he said, "Waw, waw, waw. Boring clothes!" (Imagine the Match Game sound!) It WAS funny!

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