I love Christmas, and this upcoming Christmas will be an exciting one for our family. Although it’s not my 13-month-old’s first Christmas, it’s her first time truly experiencing it – the shiny wrapping paper, the twinkling lights, decorating (or climbing on) the tree, singing yule tide carols, and stuffing her face with too much decadent holiday-themed food.
Gift-Giving: Quality Over Quantity
I can’t wait to make this the perfect Christmas for her, complete with the perfect Christmas outfit, perfect Christmas brunch, and perfect Christmas gifts. Before I get too wrapped up (see what I did there?) in the craziness that is holiday gift giving, I need to ground myself. I need to set a budget and reinforce to her what Christmas really means. My husband and I decided we’d like to start the tradition of giving her five gifts for Christmas: Something she wants, something she needs, something to wear, and something to read. Plus a gift from Santa.
“Want. Need. Wear. Read.” isn’t a new concept, but in my opinion, it’s an important one. It simplifies gift-giving and allows parents to invest in high-quality, meaningful gifts instead of slew of random, cheaper gifts. Quality over quantity. I often get caught up in the thrill of sales and the excitement of spending a pretty penny so my daughter can have even more gifts under the tree. This concept brings me back to my center before I spin out of control. Believe me, it’s easy to do! The gifts are also more personalized and aren’t the primary focus of Christmas morning.
The expectations are set so there are no whines of “Aw, that’s it?” in the future. Trust me, your kids aren’t going to look back 20 years from now and think “Boy, my 2016 Christmas loot was seriously lacking.” That’s just silly.
We made this decision after I had a flashback of the Facebook posts on my Newsfeed last year.
Humblebragging: Think Before You Post
Excited, eager, and proud moms posted pictures of their trees with mountains of presents nestled under it. Their captions read: “I hope the kids are happy #spoiled” and “Spent my life savings for them #worthit.”
It’s wonderful that you’re able to make Christmas special for your little ones. Know that it’s not my place to judge what you spend your money on or how many gifts you buy for your kids, but I want to gently ask you to please not post multiple photos of the giant, neatly-arranged pile of opened gifts with your child posing next to it or the toppling Mt. Everest of presents under your tree this Christmas season.
I’m sure you mean nothing by it (hopefully you’re not posting it to brag), but for me and many other moms who don’t want gifts to be the center of the holiday, it sets a strange tone. Stop for a moment and think how posting a photo like that makes other people feel. Other friends and family who might not be able to afford such an extravagant pile of gifts.
Think about the single parents who may be just scraping by.
Think about those were recently laid off from their jobs.
Think about those affected by the flood or other natural disaster.
Think about those children who don’t get to celebrate Christmas at all.
Think about another child seeing that photo, wondering why Santa cares so much more about your kids than he does about him or her.
Not Sharing is Caring
I’m not writing this plea because I’m jealous, offended, being judgmental, or overly sensitive. As a kid, I had pretty rockin’ Christmases in terms of presents. However, that’s nobody’s business but ours – and we didn’t have social media to post about our loot. I get that you’re excited and feel accomplished, I totally do! It’s just that the “Look at all the cool stuff we can afford!!” posts are just a little much, in my opinion.
By all means, take photos on Christmas morning. Capture those little, bright-eyed faces and save those precious memories forever. But, consider keeping those photos in a private family photo album and not on Facebook. If you can’t resist sharing your child’s joy, maybe snap a photo of her/him opening one of her/his favorite presents instead. Of course you are entitled to post whatever your heart desires, it’s the world wide web, after all. I politely ask that you try not be distasteful, flaunt, brag or purposely offend this holiday season.
This magical time of year is about much more than overindulging on presents and having the biggest and best.
This time of year is about making memories, appreciation of what you have, and cultivating quiet happiness and thankfulness without the praise of others.