We LOVE Christmas BUT....
To all of you awesome parents out there...hear me out. Please read my whole post before you think I am a bad mom or John is a bad dad. We live in America. We both work very, very hard. And we have FOUR kids. Our extended family is HUGE, we celebrate Christmas three times on Christmas day, once in the morning as a family of 6, next at brunch with my side of the family and in the afternoon and evening with John's side of the family. Needless to say, our kids are completely spoiled and have tons of toys. I mean tons. It's getting to the point where we have to do trips to Goodwill before Christmas and after Christmas! We have even told the wonderful grandparents, and aunts and uncles that each kid is only allowed to get one gift each because they were getting too much stuff.
So, John and I sat down a few months ago and we decided this is the year to pare down. The big kids are almost 8 and 6 years old and their toys are getting more and more expensive (American Girl Dolls are $120 and big Lego sets are around $70) and forget electronics. Everything is costly and we have to spread the love around times 4! So we said to ourselves Jesus got 3 gifts when He was born and He was God! Now, our kids will not be getting Gold, Frankincense, or Myrrh, but we will try to get them 3 gifts that are each unique and practical and fun! Three sounded like a really, really good number to us. So we told the big kids this year they are only getting 3 gifts each (and of course stocking stuffers don't count).
The whole point of celebrating Christmas is marveling at the birth of Christ and how He would come to earth in such a lowly way to bring us the sweetest gift of all...the gift of Himself and such a costly gift for not only did he come to be born but he came to die for our sins. There is so much to teach the kids during this time of the year and it's getting harder and harder with all of the STUFF they get. Many times I feel like they don't even play with half of the things we get them. They like it for a minute and then they are asking for more, and saying what else did you buy me?
I told a few moms that I was doing this this year and I got mixed reviews. Some moms were like do it, great, totally understand, and others were like, yea, good luck with that! But the thing is, when we told Julia and Mark about our 3 gift rule they were totally fine. They didn't complain, they didn't whine, they just said, ok!
We will see how this year goes. I guess it is easy for them to say ok since we didn't have Christmas yet, but I'm really hoping it's just a non-issue. Let's be honest...do your kids really need anything? Besides, new pajamas, socks and a new toothbrush every 3 months, most of our kids have so much already. We live in such a saturated culture. I'm just to the point where less is more and I want to teach my kids (however hard it may be) that is truly is better to give than to receive.
So, three gifts each it is! I got the girls their gifts and John is in charge of buying the boys their gifts. Christmas shopping this year was so much easier and all of the gifts are wrapped and ready to go.
Now....I am still working on John's gifts. Hmmmmmm