Since my husband and kids are still on vacation, I’m struggling to get back in the swing of blogging for the new year. It doesn’t help that my youngest son has taken over my favorite comfy writing chair, leaving me floating between the edge of my bed and the dining room table.
I’ve gotten all the Christmas decorations down. All but one box of them are already stashed back where they belong. It felt really good to have Christmas packed and put away before the New Year began. But it feels like I need to finish out the Christmas stuff with YOU before I can move forward into the New Year.
I’ll tell you up front, this was a tough Christmas for us.
This is the year Santa scaled back.
When I asked them, both kids told me they still believe in Santa. When I asked my husband, he told me they had BOTH had “the talk” with him and that they knew good and well what the truth was.
So I scaled way back on the Santa thing. I didn’t use a secret separate wrapping paper. They each got two gifts from Santa (a book and a science kit, nothing over the top) instead of the somewhat expected half-dozen. Four little gifts looked really lonely under that special “Santa tree” the kids had asked us to set up.
It probably didn’t help that I had totally spaced buying stocking gifts. Christmas Eve found me scrounging through the pantry, the gift closet, and my stash of confiscated toys. It was ridiculous.
We scaled back on the gifts from mom and dad too.
Even as late as December 23rd, both kids struggled to tell us anything that they actually wanted for Christmas. One of them gave us a “nothing special” kind of response. The other one said simply that he already “had everything he wanted.”
Yeah. That’s what we thought too.
When kids give those kind of responses they either have too much stuff or have something big and huge that they don’t want to ask for.
Since I know that my kids have too much stuff (and I’ve been unable to clean out the playroom for MONTHS because of my knee), I was hoping that my kids agreed. Honestly, I ignored any chance that they might be hoping for some big and huge surprise.
We’ve done big and huge before.
When they were still in preschool, the boy got it in their heads to start praying and asking God to let them go to Disney World for Christmas. We had ALREADY booked the trip. We didn’t tell them. They figured it out when our car crossed UNDER the big signs at the Disney toll booths.
Two years ago, I gave them long underwear and socks. That was the year we had Christmas in a hotel room during the remodel. An hour later, we were packed and driving to find snow. For Houstonians, a trip to play in the snow is a big deal.
This year, we did scaled back.
Apparently, the kids weren’t happy with scaled back.
I went with the three gifts thing – something to read, something to wear, and something you want. We made a conscious choice to give “unplugged” gifts because we’re trying to wean them from excessive screen dependence.
My kids went with the three complaints thing – something to whine about, something to moan about, and something to give deep and meaningful sighs about.
My oldest walked around saying “don’t ever put your hopes in Christmas.”
My youngest said it was his “worst Christmas ever.” In part, that was because his headphones weren’t the exact color he was asking for.
I think the whole “scaled back Christmas” thing is a right of passage. Every adult I’ve talked to has memories of at least one Christmas where they were deeply dissatisfied with their gifts. Every adult also remembers how the Christmases to follow were somehow sweeter and more appreciated.
So would I do it again? Absolutely.
My kids are more worried that they don’t have anything “brag worthy” to tell their friends about than anything else.
I think we’ll be doing scaled back birthdays this year too.
How was your Christmas? Big and over the top is fun. Scaled back and whine-worthy has a sweetness to it too.