Because I’m the grinch and not only do I accidentally tell my kid there’s no such thing as Santa, but I go on a rant about commercialism and they have to write a three page essay on selflessness and not being materialistic, I don’t care if they can’t read or write yet!!
It’s because I’m chea– frugal. We are so incredibly lucky to have lots of family who love to shop for our littles AND I find it very stressful to have too much stuff, for our kids to have too much stuff and to place too much importance on presents. I’m sure there’s a happy balance, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
Now, having said that…my kids make bank on Christmas. They get toys and holiday cheer and love and it’s an incredibly special time. But, if I’m gonna choose between spending money on a family weekend getaways versus sixteen unicorn themed toys my kids will lose, destroy or hoard:…we’re going to Great Wolf Lodge for a night! (They have a fireplace…. in the room!!!!!)
We also give away all of “last year’s” toys. We bag it up and donate it. All of it. Because we have always done this and because my oldest is only 4, we continue to “get away with this.” The kids don’t mind, I feel better about having less stuff and life moves forward!
It also helps that I’ve never been sentimental about “things.” It’s just not who I am. So, before I paint a picture of selfless giving that’s sacrificial, know that I LOVE giving my stuff away. But, I do understand that some people, especially young kids, get attached to “stuff” so there are a few toys we have kept over the years, but no joke, only a few!
I also plan to continue our frugality as the kids get older and focus on experiences rather than things. It feels extra important in our fast paced, instant gratification era to teach my kids patience, disappointment, and gratitude. (But I do know that the best laid plans….)
Patrick and I do buy our other family members and nieces and nephews gifts, we aren’t the Scrooge of the family, but when it comes to our own kids…nope. They’re fine. Will this work for everyone? Absolutely not! Am I writing this as an “advice on Christmas protocol”? No way!!!
It just works for us, and holy smokes do we know how lucky we are to have such an influx of gifts we can choose to teach this lesson in this way. It’s definitely a privileged scenario and we are grateful for the family that are able to express their love through gift giving of toys, paying for classes or other extras!
Would love to hear some other family traditions of giving!!!! As our kids get older we are looking for ways to share the experience of giving time, energy and selves to others!