Photo courtesy of krisdecurtis
Since this is the last week of July, I figured this was the last opportunity to do a "Christmas in July" post. With beautiful weather and back to school still 3 weeks away, it's hard to think about mistletoe and holly. However, waiting until the last minute to plan for Christmas buying can be a big strain on the budget not to mention very stressful.
Last Christmas was really nice--we simplified a lot and it was much more peaceful than previous years. The kids still got so much "stuff", though! They have two sets of grandparents, 3 aunts and 4 uncles that buy for them.
As you know, there can be a temptation for parents to get into a competition game. "Well, I want them to like my present best!" (How pre-school is that?! Almost makes as much sense as grandmas vying for "favorite granny" position--but that's another post.) So, we go out and buy bigger presents than we afford that get a "Wow!" on Christmas morning and "ho hum" a few days later.
I've heard different schools of thought on this. A lot of parents get their children 3 presents. Since that was all Jesus received, they figure their children shouldn't get more than Jesus. Considering Jesus was given gold, frankincense and myrrh; I wasn't too fond of the idea of comparing my children's presents to Jesus'. Talk about breaking the budget!
A lot more parents have the attitude, "It's only once a year...we don't buy them much through the year...we'll just splurge a little." A little becomes a lot quickly (don't ask me how I know this!). Even for those parents that can afford it, I'm not so sure this is good training for our children. A few simple, quality things are so much more enjoyable than lots of glittery, impractical presents anyway.
Before you think I am Scrooge in thinly-veiled disguise, let me tell you my idea for this Christmas. After all, we have 3 children instead of 2 now and precedents are easily set. My oldest and I recently had a discussion about what kind of Christmas she would like. I found out a lot of interesting things, and found that she would actually be satisfied and happy with fewer, nicer things rather than a lot of trinkets. She also loves traditions. So, we thought we'd try out this tradition and see how well we like it:
- One BIG SURPRISE present ("Big" can be big as in more expensive or big as in..well, big)
- One present to WEAR (This is actually a tradition we already started. They get some fun pajamas that we wouldn't normally get them.)
- One present to READ (My kids love books and a book is one thing that rarely gets ruined or ignored in our house. Christmas books would be special books that we wouldn't normally get at the library.)
- One present to LEARN (This would be a present that reflects the current interest of the child be it trains, building, numbers, art, etc.)
Photo courtesy of morberg