I got the following comment from Lil on my previous post and it really got me to thinking:
“My grown sister and I were talking a few days ago about Christmases past and she was saying that thinking back on our childhood Christmases, she never got THE thing she really wanted, she always got a variation or knock off of the desired object and that she never had a WOW Christmas because of it. I said that my poor mom was trying to make four kids happy on a limited budget and had done pretty darned well. But her lingering disappointment in those Christmases past made me think that maybe for my kid, the memory of getting what he really wants on Christmas, at least with one toy, is worth the expense.
On the other hand, I have a friend and in her family of five kids, they each got one item of clothing on Christmas morning and then all went out sledding and she had wonderful memories of that!
I guess with Christmas, we’re really just trying to make happy memories for our kids, however that is possible, with the realization of a dream come true gift, or/and a great happy time with family.”
And I thought, you know that is a very interesting discussion point and one that is probably worthy of an entire post.
The philosophical side of me sniffs and dismisses toys and gifts, the side that tries to ponder upon loftier things. The six-year-old poor girl in me wants the Hollywood stage set Christmas and the IT doll wrapped in shiny foil paper and a sparkly bow. And a pretty red velvet dress. And those sides are like two siblings in the backseat of a car on a trip to eternity, slap fighting the whole way.
My parents never had money for the IT toy or even the knock-off IT toy and while I had a wonderful childhood, I had the impression that everyone else except us was having a Norman Rockwell Christmas and getting IT toys and new pajamas and spending money from grandma and were delirious with joy on Christmas morning. And because of that, for me, Christmas always came with a feeling of disappointment. And that disappointment seems to have nestled deep within me and feeds my desire to give Sean at least one IT toy.
One the other hand….
If you (meaning me) are focused inward then it’s easy to believe in the false-Christmas that retailers sell, the one that can never be had, and you deny yourself the joy of the season. But if you (meaning me) adjust your expectations and focus out, then you (meaning me) can tap into the joy of Christmas and anesthetize the disappointment. To some degree. I’m pretty sure that makes no sense to you (meaning you) because it barely makes sense to me.
So while I do indulge my inner poor girl and buy Sean at least one thing he really wants, AD and I go to considerable efforts to counter that by playing down the gifts and focusing on the traditions that we are creating as a family and on the story of the birth of Christ as told in Luke.
When Sean is a grown man, I want him to remember Christmas in our house as a time of joy more so than whether or not he got a Bakugan when he was seven. I guess he can let you know in another 15 years or so.
I would love to hear your thoughts and stories.