I mentioned a while back about a post that is running around in my head about Christmas and gifts. I, like every other American this time of year, have been stressed about what to give, how to pay for gifts, how to get it all done before the Big Day. It seems like my kids Wish Lists get longer and the items on it more expensive every year and since we don’t typically buy them a lot of toys throughout the year, I want to spoil them at Christmastime. I stress about how to pay for the things they want because I don’t want them to be disappointed come Christmas morning, and in years past we have gone into debt to satisfy everyone’s (not just the kids’) material wants. This year however, I have decided I. AM. DONE. I’m over it – I’m done with overspending and throwing money at something useless just for the sake of having something to unwrap.  

I want my kids to appreciate the joy of simple things, and I think they do, when they are presented with the opportunity. Last Spring the hubs had a load of dirt delivered for a project he was working on. Within 30 minutes of delivery, that load of dirt was covered with every kid on our street. They played until dark and then came back the next day and the next day and the next day for more. They had a ball with DIRT. Same goes for the big screen TV box my parents had at their house – my kids played with that box for 2 whole days – it was a ship, it was a rocket, it was a car, it was a house…they were enthralled with cardboard and it’s endless possibilities.

During this time of year, I feel pressured (by myself mostly) to get my kids the latest and greatest toys and games and movies. My son’s Christmas list finally ended at 42 items, most of which cost $50 or more. I have agonized over how I am going to pay for the things he wants – he really really REALLY wants a Nintendo Wii, and I can’t blame him – I want one too (Wii Fit calls to me), but the fact of the matter is, we cannot afford to spend $300 on one single gift. My 8 year old wants a Nintendo DS – she’s not getting that either for the same reason. I finally took a deep breath and decided not to stress about what I couldn’t give them and focus instead on the kinds of gifts that would mean something to them. I’m getting each of them a Bible – a real leather bound Bible (well, the 3 year old isn’t getting a leather bound Bible, but she’s getting a Preschooler’s Bible). I’m also getting them a kids’ cookbook – they love to help me cook in the kitchen, and small book lights because they love to read in bed (they are definitely MY children). I am getting them a few toys and DVDs, but I’m not spending my whole paycheck on toys that in 6 months will be at the bottom of the toy box.

Honestly this post is just a way for me to work out this issue in my head. I need to remind myself that it’s okay to scale back – on the spending, the stress, the stuff. I want this Christmas season to mean something to my kids; I want them to have memories, not things. I think what my kids (and all kids really) want most is my time and attention, which is good because at least I know I can afford to give them that!