Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas present musings...

Christmas is for children, that's what Ive always heard and I think its really the most magical for time for them. If you are a parent who has a lot of money, the high expectations of gifts received is usually satisfied or surpassed. If not... well some kids will be disappointed. Especially if they are older, and can see what "Santa" or a classmates parent gave their friends.

I am not tying to say there is anything wrong with giving your children gifts, large gifts, expensive gifts... but I think sometimes it makes other parents not as well off feel inferior (me sometimes) I envy the ability of some parents to buy things for their kids that they really want, even if they are pricey. Lets face it, if my kids asked me for a Wii, or Guitar hero, the answer would be no. And then I would feel badly, and I would feel like I was a failure...even though I know deep down in my heart that it isn't all about what you give, but the why and the hows... I do not begrudge anyone the means and ability to make their children's Christmas dreams a reality. I think its awesome to be able to give to your children things that they want and hopefully have been good enough to deserve...LOL The thing is, its my issue, and one I need to work on. Because I know I am a good parent, a parent who provides the necessities in life and a few luxuries... I just wish I could do more.

Why are we so hard on ourselves as parents? Why is what we do never good enough? Because even my more well off friends think they are not giving enough... When will we realize its the happiness and love you give that will be remembered in years to come, not the amount of presents given, or not given... The riches we have are not of the material variety, they are something that comes from inside... that comes from our family and our bonds and love for each other. Thats something we all need to or poor.


sheila said...

That's a good post. My kids don't even ask for all that expensive stuff. They know it's not happening. lol. My brother in law brought them over guitar hero for christmas...his used set, along with a new set he got on sale for $35! They were flabbergasted! (and I saved $$ - lol)

My thought on the whole issue is that kids are humbled, parents are humbled...when money is an issue. It also teaches all parties many lessons and builds character.

Those who get what they want all the time and when nothing is spared...they will have many other sets of lessons to learn in life as a result of that.

You may feel conflicted and jealous...but what you end up with in your core being is far better than the alternative (when you can't afford everything)

3 Bay B Chicks said...

A sincere thanks, Mimi, for this post. You seriously rock the casbah! Such a wonderful message, especially this time of year.

Parenting is by far the toughest job that any of us will ever face. I do believe that we wouldn't be doing our "job" if we weren't critical of ourselves. Yes, it would be great if we could give our children the world, but the reality is that we simply can't (or at least you and I can't.) I have to believe that the love, support, and attention that we do give them will make our kids into the thriving and productive adults that we so want them to become.

Now that's a Christmas gift in itself!

Happy Holidays, my friend.

ciara said...

my kids are tweens & teen so they do ask for certain things. but we budget out for each kid. so this year they didn't get a whole lot cos they asked for big items.

you know what though? what i want my kids to remember about me is that i was always there for them, gave them love, etc. and that that far outweighed any gift they've ever gotten from me.

i'm not always the best parent, and there's no such thing as the perfect parent, but we try, right?

i think part of my issue w trying to give my kids what they want stems from my dad doing that w me & bro cos he grew up poor & in orphanage. but i've been doing pretty good not succumbing to every whim lol

Kristina P. said...

I think that the most imporant gift a parent can teach their child is that we don't always get everything we want in life.

I work with at-risk youth, and I can't even begin to tell you the entitlement I see in today's teenagers. And it's because their parents never say no. They have another thing coming to them when they have to work in the real world!

Lana said...

Well written/well said.

I am in the same boat as you. Even though I too feel a tad (okay, sometimes a lot)envious that I can't get my kids exactly what they want because of money, I know in the long run they'll be just fine without getting what little Johnny or little Susie got for a gift.

Saundra@An Italian Mama Gone Crazy said...

At the risk of sounding 'uppity" I'm going to say what I want to say anyway... please don't take it the wrong way...

First off, I completely agree with you...

Second... I CAN afford to give my kids their every whim... But I don't... as a CHOICE!
I choose to have good, non spoiled kids as opposed to have kids that expect everything and work for nothing.
I don't understand parents that give, and give, and give until the kid actually bores with opening gifts. It makes no sense to me.
The parents that feel "guilty" about not giving more, are creating monsters!
My philosophy... parents provide for the kids basic needs EVERY DAY! let's raise kids that appreciate that fact... and give a gift now and then as a gesture...
Let's not give gifts because the Jones's gave Sally a Bentley for her 16th Xmas gift, and I have to do one better!!!

Mimi... you have NOTHING to worry about. The gifts we are giving our kids are gifts of gratitude, respect, love, home, family and great food. The junk breaks and gets lost... love remains forever.

Saundra@An Italian Mama Gone Crazy said...

p.s... My boys remember HOW we gave the gifts, more than the WHAT we gave.

If you make it different and fun... you can give them a ball of lint... and it will be memorable!

HeatherL said...

You know Mimi, I was a bit disgruntled this year. Maybe pg hormones, but from my point of view, Christmas is void of any meaning (to me) without the focus on Jesus. I worked hard to use the nativity to teach the boys what happened when He was born, we went to the Christmas Eve service at church, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, talked about it to no end, but somehow it still seemed to take a backseat to the presents. It's hard to top a stack of new toys. Christmas is a time I celebrate the birth of my Savior. But, we bought a ton of toys and they overshadowed that I think. BTW, we cashed in our credit card points (we use the cc for all our expenses but keep a zero balance) and didn't spend any cash for gifts. I definitely think I went overboard in the gift buying for the kids. I got caught up because I knew I had X number of dollars I could spend with the gift cards and wanted to spend it all. They did tire of opening packages after a while. And I ended up feeling like I failed to keep the focus where it should have been. I'll have to use more restraint next year.

Simply AnonyMom said...

I "know" (through the computer mainly) way too many people who try too hard to justify everything by spending nonstop and spoiling their kids. There are moms that work so they feel the need to max out their cards to make their kids feel loved. There are the moms that feel guilty that the neighbor has fancier clothes so she maxes out their cards so the kids can have better. THere are too many people spending too much for no real reason.

Yes, this year sucked royally. My parents and my ILs each gave the kids $20 (so $80 total) and that bought the majority of what the kids got. I can tell you I spent less than $200 total on our family of 4. If circumstances were different, would I have spent more? maybe. WOuld I trade the joy my kids had and the knowledge that they got what they really wanted? Never.

I think as a society we are too focused on "keeping up with the Jones's" and not enough on centering on family.

I hope you had a fun day with your family and wanted to tell you your boys are so adorable!!

Minxy Mimi said...

Thanks for all the comments. I feel like you all have read my words and truly understand where I am coming from. I appreciate the kind words, the encouragement and empathy. You guys are the best!

Anonymous said...

I feel exactly the same way. We used to do things to excess but not anymore. The kids are just as happy now, if not more.

It amazes me to see that my sister's little kids are getting gadgets and doodads before my kids who are 10 years older than them. ?????

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

Mimi, what an eloquent and thought provoking post! I completely agree with you, and pretty much all of the comments above. My hubby and I know people that shower their kids with expensive gifts - and to be quite blunt, their kids are spoiled brats with attitudes of 'gimme, gimme, gimme' rather than even an ounce of thankfulness for what they have. Because the parents never - and I mean never - say 'No'. Sometimes it starts of with 'No', but eventually, after a lot of insistent pleading, turns into a 'Yes'. They are too busy with their own lives to make time or spend quality time with their kids - so they feel 'guilty' about it, and shower the kids with whatever they ask for.

This year we had to cut back on spending at Christmas, so we didn't get everything that our daughter 'thought' she wanted...was she any less happy? Absolutely not - she probably doesn't even remember the other things she asked for, and if she does, it hasn't affected her attitude or her thankfulness for the things she did get. While I wish I could do more, and not have to tell her 'no', I do feel good that I am trying to teach her about having a 'giving heart'. And like Kristina said, we do need to teach them that they can't always get what they want. My hubby and I sometimes sing that song to our daughter if she starts pouting or whining when we've told her 'No'. Seems to diffuse the situation! LOL!!

Bottom line is, Mimi, you are not alone! :)

~Michelle~ said...

I completely know what you're talking about, Mimi! This year, I could only afford to buy my oldest 2 boys the present they really wanted the most, and they were both really happy with it. BUT, I was feeling very guilty, b/c my neices and nephews, who are all around the same age, all got new cell phones, lap tops, Ipod touches, etc, and I was worried that my kids would feel left out because they weren't getting all kinds of fancy toys and electronics.

I think in the long run, kids will appreciate if they get things that mean more to them, rather than senseless toys. I try to teach my kids that Christmas isn't about how much you get, it's about spending time with your family and being appreciate of what you DO get.

Great post :-) I hope your kiddos had a wonderful Christmas!

Keb-o-Mania said...

Very well said Mimi. I totally agree.

Moriah said...

So true Mimi! I felt like I wasn't giving my kids enough this year. Lo and behold this was the first year not one of them said "Is that all?" Alex even said it was the best one in many years. So i guess sometimes maybe my expectations are higher then theirs.

Anonymous said...

Well said!! I have 4 daughters and they dont get expensive items, it's a big no no. My girls are always happy and thankful for what they have.
Happy new year to you.I hope 2009 is a good one for you.
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