A friend and I have been talking lately about kids Christmas presents. While I had some pretty over the top lavish Christmas's as a kid, as I grow up I now see the ridiculousness in it. This last Christmas out of everything I got my most favorite gift was the page my mom made of my son for my scrapbook. I liked it because it was from the heart and it was cheap. There have only been a few presents in my life that I actually remember and value. One was pretty recent which was my camera, one was the Nintendo old school my grandma bought me that I still use nearly 20 years later, and one was cooking classes from my mom. While all of these things are a little pricey they were all extremely thoughtful gifts and the only gift I received. As a child I can't say that I really remember much of what I got besides some Barbies here and there and that is just a guess. I remember the year I got my play kitchen set, not because of the kitchen set but because it was the year I caught my mom being Santa.
Brandon will be 2 this year. TWO. He is little. He will have no memory of this year at all and yet he will be old enough to understand Christmas. This year for Christmas Brandon will be getting the following:
An art easel (so he will quit coloring on my damn carpet, walls, counters and doors) under $60.00
A cheap kids camera not more then $20.00
A DVD of some movie
and then in his stocking he will be getting some different kinds of Cheeto's and some cookies that he can eat as much of that he wants and some books.
That is it. Do I sound like a cheap scrooge? Probably. But! He will love each of those things. I am getting the easel because coloring pictures is possibly his favorite thing ever on the planet. However since he has no where to color he just sits on the floor coloring. That means his carpet is red blue and green. He also colors on the walls and doors. I really can't wait to have a place for him to sit and color. The greatest part is each year that he gets older he can use it for something new. He can use it for painting in a few years, then clay, and water colors and so on. It's not a toy it's a piece of furniture that will be used every day for the next 6 years probably until I buy him a nicer desk. Every day for the last year Brandon has stolen my camera and taken pictures. On Tuesday alone he took 54 pictures of his walls, TV, floor, bed, self, foot, and nothing. He doesn't look at the pictures at all, he actually just loves to watch the damn flash go off. DVD's are his favorite thing to do in the morning. He likes to go in and pop in a movie and sit on his bed and watch his Superman TV and invite mom and dad into HIS room. As far as the Cheeto's and cookies, those are his favorite foods and he gets soooo excited any time he gets them. In fact if I bring him a toy or some Cheeto's he would pick the damn orange puffs each time. Finally he has just gotten into books and loves making us read to him. To me I'm not spending to much money on a Christmas that he won't remember but I am getting him stuff that will make him so excited and happy he won't be able to contain himself.
However, a friend of mine is giving her kid a very different Christmas. He is two. She is getting him all kinds of toys. Full tool set with tool bench and all, a tractor with a trailer that pulls a horse, Elmo electronics, and on and on and on. Combined with his 5 year old sister I believe she said she spent close to $500.00! When she told me this I nearly shit myself. So many things jumped out at me, things like,
Thats a lot of fucking money to spend on such young kids who will forget the day in 6 months. It's a lot to spend on a 2 year old whose interests will change in a few weeks.
If you buy them this much this year they will come to expect this much or more every year.
Isn't this a holiday about family and God and not about buying uber ridiculous amounts of presents?
Her response was that this was normal, the kids don't have many toys, they don't think they spent enough and it is Christmas and for kids that means buying them a lot of stuff. I basically came across as a scrooge when I said she was out of her ever loving mind. I asked a second friend who has a 3 year old. Her daughter is getting a bike. The bike is from Walmart it cost $30.00. Then she is getting some DVD's. Sounds like a totally normal Christmas. She is getting her daughter ONE really big (big to a three year old) item, that is still reasonably priced and then a few smaller gifts. Her child won't be so overwhelmed with toys she won't know what to do, she will really respect and cherish her one really big toy and she won't spend future Christmas's expecting to get showered with copious amounts of crap. Then I thought back to all of my friends. It seemed their holidays were similar to mine. We got ONE big ticket item and then some small things. I don't remember many of the ones when I was young, (which is exactly my point) but as I got older I got things like a leather coat, and then smaller little things like a book or Barnes and Noble gift card. I would get a stereo for my truck and then maybe a gift card to tower to buy CD's to play in it. Friends like Katie would get a nice piece of jewelry and then some cool clothes and other smaller things. To me this way of thinking makes complete sense. If you give the kids to many big things all at once isn't that like sensory overload and really how do they get a chance to appreciate each item when they are just opening toy after toy after toy and tossing them aside for whatever is next or bigger or better?
What do you guys think? Am I a scrooge? Am I an asshole for not wanting to spend a shit ton of money on small kids? What are you doing for your kids this year? This is driving me nuts because I really don't want kids who grow up and think Christmas is just about getting a bunch of cheap shitty plastic toys that were probably made in China, rather then having it be about family and getting one really great item that you cherish forever! This is the exact reason I don't really like Christmas. I hate that it has become about seeing how much crap you can buy for people. I know some of you will say my way of thinking makes sense for adults but kids deserve to be spoiled. But then that is what happened, you end up with spoiled kids!
Posted by Shannon Mateo at 11:39 AM
He wanted to catch a snowflake on his tongue like Brandon but none made it inside
Ready to go out and play
Posted by Shannon Mateo at 11:38 AM