Maybe I’m the only one feeling this right now – but I feel it every year.
I simultaneously feel like I’ve overdone the Christmas presents while also not having done enough.
I feel like I’ve gone too far, I’ve spent too much, they don’t need so much stuff. They just don’t a pile of presents to make Christmas wonderful.
On the other hand… I feel like I’ve not done enough. There’s no big present. There’s no trampoline, or bike, or console, tablet or computer. There’s nothing there that’s amazing. Because they really need none of these things. But there’s no “OMG WOW” moment under my tree.
Last night we got all the way to the online check out buy the kids an Xbox before closing the window and putting away the credit card.
They Just Don’t Need It
They already have two consoles. And the only game they would particularly want on the Xbox is Minecraft. Which they already have on the Wii U, the computer AND on a mobile device. THEY DON’T NEED FOUR VERSIONS OF THE SAME GAME.
But all I could see in my mind was that moment when they unwrap the controllers. That moment when their eyes would light up when they’d realise what they were for. That moment. That’s all. I don’t actually even want them to have another thing that they sit inside glued to a screen! I just wanted the joy of giving them something incredible.
Which means really the motivation is all about me and nothing about what I think is actually best for them.
How did this even happen?!? Eleven months of the year I’m so frugal and sensible with money. And so anti-stuff-for-the-sake-of-stuff. But Christmas just makes something snap inside me.
My Childhood Christmas Wasn’t Like This
Growing up we got a couple of presents from our parents under the tree, one or two presents from “Santa” and then a bunch of “stocking stuffers”. And our “stocking stuffers” were things like chocolate, sugary cereal, and soft drink. Actually my parents are GENIUSES because we weren’t allowed to have things like Coco Pops and Fruit Loops, but Oh well if Santa brought them what can we do about it.
So, as children we were legitimately thrilled to get cereal for Christmas. CEREAL. Thrilled.
It’s Not About The Presents
It could just be the relentless pressure of the consumerism associated with Christmas. But I suspect I know what’s at the heart of this issue for me. We don’t have much in the way of family around. My mum and brother will come, but there’s no big extended family or close community of local friends. There won’t be children running around everywhere. We won’t spill out into the front of the house for a game of cricket with whoever is around. It’ll just be us. And I don’t feel like we’re enough. So nothing I get them will feel like enough. Because nothing will recreate my own childhood Christmases.
But my kids don’t know the difference. So they don’t actually feel like they’re missing out on anything. So it’s really not a problem. It’s all fine.
And I really really really don’t need to get them an Xbox to make their Christmas magical. Christmas IS magical. And we ARE enough. And breaking out budget to get them stuff they don’t need won’t make them appreciate things more. The more they have the less value it’ll all have.
So the best gift I can give them is appreciating what they get. And the only way to do that is lead by example and for me to be satisfied with what I’m giving them.