Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christmas In July

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.)
I'm not sure if we'll add anything to the list or not. This list might sound a bit short to the average consumer today, however to our grandparents that were grateful to receive an orange in the bottom of their stocking it sounds pretty extravagant. Which you rather your child be like, your sweet little grandmother that survived the Depression or the child that kicks and screams on the floor of the grocery store because he didn't get the candy he wanted?

Photo courtesy of morberg

1 comment:

  1. Mmm... very good to think about. Thanks for the cool list of ideas. I might have to consider something similar! By the way, did you notice Life as Mom blog is doing a Christmas in July this week too? :)