When I was a child I loved writing my annual letter to Santa. My mom would cut out pictures from the toy catalog and I would glue them to the letter, asking “Pretty please, can I?” So, this year I got all the supplies ready for my son and asked him, innocently, what he wanted from Father Christmas. His answer? "Everything." After I finished laughing I realized that was probably a bad sign. At that very moment I decided I won't spoil my kid during the holidays.
It might be a cliché, but the best things about the holiday season don’t cost a penny at all, and are certainly not something my child is going to find after sending a letter to Santa Claus. Being with our loved ones and enjoying the season are totally free, and that's what I remember loving the most about the holiday season. In the end, that's what I want my son to love most, too.
Sure, this time of year can be (read: is) stressful, especially for those on a budget. With work secret Santa's, extended family to purchase gifts for, and kids wanting every toy they see aggressively marketed to them since October, gift giving can cost a fortune. It has me wondering if any of it is needed at all? What would happen if we all scaled back a little and bought one special present just for our nearest and dearest, and wished everyone else a wonderful holiday? At the very least we might start the new year with a healthier bank balance. So, with that in mind, here are just a few of the many reasons why I wont be spoiling my kid this holiday season.
Because It’s Just Too Much
My son was born the day after New Years Day, which means that in a two week span he gets Christmas and birthday gifts. That's enough presents to restock a daycare. It's an extravagant excess that really isn't necessary (and makes the present-free remaining 11 months all the more difficult).
Because We Can’t Afford It
Quite simply, we don’t have the sort of money that makes it possible to buy everything on my kid's wish list. The mass marketing around the holidays makes him believe he really needs every latest toy, and all his favorites seem to be over the $100 mark.
Just for fun (because there is no way he is actually getting everything) I did a quick calculation. If my partner and I were to purchase every single item on my son's wish list, it would total more than $500. Yeah, that's not going to happen, kiddo. #SorryNotSorry
Because I Don’t Want My Kid To Grow Up Ungrateful
Buying children every single thing they ask for creates, in my opinion, entitled children who don't understand the value of, well, anything. So, yeah, sometimes mom and dad have to say, "No." After all, it was the Rolling Stones that said, "You can't always get what you want."
Because I Want Him To Value More Than Just Materialistic Items
There are so many more important things than the objects you buy. We want our son to care about creating memories with us, being kind and loving, and to spend time laughing and enjoying himself. If we allow him to only focus on accumulating more products, that's all the holidays will end up being about.
Because He Doesn’t Play With The Toys He Already Has
Our house looks like the place forgotten toys go to die. Seriously, our home is full of every toy you can imagine; new shiny toys, old hand-me-down toys, toys left over from when I ran a daycare, and everything in between that we've managed to keep for unknown reasons. Our child, of course, only plays with about five percent of the toys made available to him.
He has a few favorite stuffed animals, a beloved fire truck, and a handful of cars, but the rest are largely ignored. In the end they take up space in our home and make a whole lot of clutter, so I think it's time for a purge instead of a time to purchase additional toys that will probably go un-touched.
Because I Don’t Want Him To Equate Stuff With Love
The amount of presents you are gifted doesn't equate to the amount of love someone has for you. We want our son to know that we love him without conditions. We want him to know that on the days we don't shower him with gifts, he's still loved.
As he becomes an adult, we don't want him going into debt just to buy the girl or guy of his dreams a lavish extravagant present, thinking that it will prove his love. Love should be way more simple than that.
Because We Don’t Have The Room
Every time we come home from a family holiday, our car is crammed full of boxes and bags. After we unpack, of course, we have to actually find a home for all the new stuff in our already crowded home.
Trying to stack and organize all the new things onto shelves and cubbies turns into some kind of life-size puzzle situation, while I spend the majority of my time wondering, "Do we really need any of this?" (Hint: the answer is no.)
Because Holidays Are More Than Just Presents
My favorite things about the holidays are snow (luckily, as I live in Canada), the Christmas tree, singing carols, seeing the mall all decorated, visiting Santa with my son and enjoying a special meal with my family. Sure I like presents too, and I have my eye on a few things, but we really don't need the avalanche of gifts.
The holidays should be about spending time with your family, enjoying your cultural traditions, and having a break from your run-of-the-mill schedule. In other words, the holidays are a time to throw a little glitter at your life and see what sticks.
So, I will be taking a look at my sons list for Santa, but he won't be getting "everything." Well, at least not until his grandparents take a gander. I guess they're allowed to spoil the kid as much as they want.