This year, I almost succeeded in a no-credit-card-holiday. *confetti!* This is a big deal. We have been paying down the remaining credit cards, and the RELIEF... (And, yes, I said *I. Mama bought the presents. Most of them. I did good.)
We'd have done it entirely card-free had the house not started blowing up (Thank you oil tank and septic tank!) and we did do it because some of the adults in the family decided not to exchange gifts this year. It was just... less. It didn't stop me from over-spending on my own kids, and even over-spending I had a Great Parent Fail.
My eight year old daughter had a very specific "Santa" list. In her mind, I think she expected the list to be fulfilled exactly as she wrote it. It wasn't, and there were tears this morning because she "didn't get what she asked for." Even if she'd received fifteen other toys, clothes and goodies, the few items she expected weren't around.
In my mind, I was thinking "You should be grateful, do you have any IDEA how many children aren't even receiving toys today? Do you have any idea how lucky you are to get all that you have?" I didn't go there -- because she seemed to have the slightest inclination that Santa had something to do with this "fail." She may have received more than plenty, but expected other things.
It feels all very Veruca to me at times, and I loathe it. I love to see the kids excited over a landfall of gifts, because, when does THAT happen? But, I really dislike the grubby-greedies that take over sometimes. "Where's MY FUSHIGI BALL?"
Note for future-parents-of-four: You must match quantity and visual appearance of gifts per child if they are aware of the difference between piles. Even if one child's gifts cost more -- the kids will still see the size difference and assume that "He got more than I did. I didn't get anything I wanted." I think a cure for this? One. gift. each. (Yeah, sure. THAT will happen, but consider it?)
Also, future-parents-of-teens: Functional gifts are fine, but don't expect much reaction. "Yay. Underwear. Thanks."
You have got to have something special to balance out the dull. For the 13 year old, this was clearly, a nook book-reader. Until you realize, "Hey, you need to put a credit card in this to set up my account."
We've never really outdone the holiday in our own home, but we've had a lot of over-gifting in the extended family that makes the receiving and appreciating one gift at a time very difficult. This year, that didn't happen, but the kids almost "expected it." That makes me sad. It makes me realize that these kids need a course in giving, and not expecting. I think next year may be different, as in, perhaps we need to spend it in a different WAY.
This year was already different, low-key, as two of our Bob's were not well prior to the holiday, and one Mimi is recouping from surgery. It is nice to have, less... but NOT in this way.
Sort of photo set, here.
PS. Cause someone asked. Mr. MM got two Polo sweaters and Polo 3 Cologne from me, because I like that smell. He got Dolce and Gabana something cologne, movie gift certificates and some cash. I got an iTouch (I may regift this, I don't really "need it..." My phone does what this does. I could use something else more. Honestly, I would return it, but it's got a restocking fee...) and hot pink headphones from Mr., and from the Mimi's ... Pink Sugar perfume, Retro Mama calendar set, a Digital Photo Frame (that I didn't know about until I got home tonight... Squee!) and a hair-salon gift certificate.
PPSS. When a four year old ASKS for a flashlight? Just get the flashlight. That will do.