|In the comments were at least three "wows" and one "holy shit."|
...And tagged me in it. I was so embarrassed about how many presents there were that I almost untagged myself.
This year will be much more restrained.
That’s what I told myself in October.
And yet here we are, mid-December, and getting into my closet is like that scene in Entrapment where Katherine Zeta-Jones navigates the web of lasers in a skin-tight Lycra pantsuit.
We... might be one of those families that people condemn for their unrestrained consumerism.
I keep going through the kids’ lists and trying to find something that I should return (I have an excel spreadsheet. There; now you truly know me.) But I can’t pick one! I know them and I know they’ll play with and love every one of those toys to death.
The other day, I whined to my husband that I felt guilty about being materialistic. He said I shouldn’t, pointing out that we really aren’t materialistic. The only time we “spoil” our kids is at Christmas. He also pointed out that we’re still teaching our kids about the true meaning of Christmas. Our kids are not ungrateful. In our house, we talk every day about the differences in how people live around the world, how fortunate our kids are. And my husband says he wants our kids to have life-long memories of Christmas-morning unwrapping insanity.
And truthfully, I do too. I remember my sister and I having crazy Christmases growing up, wrapping paper flying, squeals of glee, afternoons spent untying dolls from their boxes. I remember the innocent, heart-palpitating bliss of believing a fat man in a red suit magically poofed his way into our living room (it’s Florida - no fireplaces) and dumped a shit-ton of toys on the couch. It was amazing, and yes, those memories are some of the favorites from my childhood.
This is probably the last Christmas Lucas will believe in Santa Claus. It kills me to think of him losing his belief in these sweet, magical legends. To prolong the magic, I even went out and bought one of those “Elf on the Shelf” dolls which Lucas promptly named “Zachary” (is that not the perfect name for an elf?). That stupid little thing has turned out to be the highlight of the kids’ day, not to mention a great way to get them out of bed in the morning!
If I can contribute to that tenuous, fleeting magic before it disappears from our lives altogether, then dammit, I’m going to do it!
So why do I still feel so guilty about that big pile of toys in my closet?
Well… to be perfectly honest, if I didn’t think anyone besides us would know about that pile of toys, I wouldn’t feel guilty at all.
No, my guilt has nothing to do with any of my personal feelings about Christmas or materialism. I’m doing that thing again, that thing where I care way too much about what other people think.
This year has been a particularly judgy one, likely in response to this new “Brown Thursday” phenomenon (which I actually think is a bit much; let us finish our Thanksgiving dessert for Pete’s sake).
Regardless of the reason, this year there seemed to be a much higher-than-usual amount of consumerism-bashing and toy-boycotting than in previous years. I read through several Facebook threads of people bragging about how they only allow their kids three items on their wish-list or how they have foregone presents altogether. Many of these people were very vocal about how disgusting it is that consumerism has gotten out of hand, that parents ought to be ashamed of themselves. Some questioned the parenting skills of those who buy their kids a lot of Christmas presents.
Well you know what? I won’t have it! I release my guilt! In fact, I think those people up on their high horses are the ones who ought to be ashamed of themselves. I’m not judging them for having a small Christmas or trying to model the holiday after the Bible. Great! Good for you. How very Godly of you; I’m sure you now have a free pass into Heaven.
If you are one of those people, those holier-than-thou people who thinks everyone else is doing Christmas “wrong,” please do me a favor and try to refrain from criticizing how my family celebrates this holiday. It’s really none of your business what I do in the privacy of my own home, and even if it was your business to know how I celebrate this day, you don’t know how I raise my kids the other 364 days of the year, so you’re really in no place to judge!
My family is not materialistic; we just have a tradition of big Christmases. And for as long as we are able, that’s how it’s going to be. So suck it!
Okay maybe not that last thing. I got a little emotional. Sorry.
Oh and as soon as Lucas is old enough we’re going to volunteer in soup kitchens.
Wrapping paper is recyclable, right?