I don’t buy my daughter Christmas presents.
Yes, you read that correctly. And it’s okay, I’m not surprised you’re shocked, nor am I hurt or offended. It was the reaction I was expecting, actually.
The other day, in a young women’s group I’m a part of on Facebook, someone asked what we do to keep down holiday expenses. I shared a few things my husband and I do, among them not purchasing gifts for our two-year-old Little Miss. Another young woman, in surprise, exclaimed, “Really?!? Why?!?”
I calmly explained that there are several reasons for this:
- She’s two. She doesn’t understand that she’s “supposed” to get gifts from Mom and Dad. She doesn’t even understand that she’s “supposed” to expect gifts at all.
- She gets plenty of gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.
- We spend all year buying her things: diapers, food, clothes, and occasionally (but rarely) toys and books. And while I do understand that Christmas is different from necessities, it’s still something – in today’s day and age – we should consider a blessing and a privilege.
- It saves us money.
Go ahead, call me a Scrooge Mom. I don’t care. As she gets older I think a well-thought-out, meaningful gift under the tree to Little Miss from Mom and Dad would not be out of line, but for now, it’s not that big of a deal.
When I was a kid, Christmas was fun and exciting, and although I loved family time, reading books with my sisters and sleeping with them under the tree on Christmas Eve, and eating Christmas dinner…the highlight of the day was always the presents. Grandma always sent heaps of them to us. One year we got a lawn mower box full of gifts, and that was only one of three deliveries from Grandma that year. Our stockings were often so over-stuffed we actually had additional “bite-sized” gift-wrapped items on shelves and tables under the socks (we didn’t have a fireplace or I’m sure the mantle would’ve been covered in additional gifts).
The older I got, though, the more I started to feel the “weird” after the presents were all opened. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but there was a strange sensation that went through me as I sat surrounded by mountains of new things, staring at the pile of red, green, white, and gold wrapping paper and tissue in the middle of the room. As a kid I think I interpreted it as , there must be “something more” under the tree – this is it? As an adult, I think I recognize it as the feeling of “something more.” As in, there must be “something more” to Christmas.
I’m still not sure how I’m going to do it, but I never want my kids to have that feeling. It wasn’t anyone’s fault when I was a kid, but I think it WOULD be my fault if I allowed my children to experience that by not showing them the true fulfillment of the Christmas spirit in one’s life: serving, giving, thankfulness, happiness, contentment, and love.
So go ahead – call me a Scrooge for not buying presents for my “poor” child. I’m okay with the way things are in my family…and the direction they’re going.