Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday--and my first Christmas rant of the season

Bobby has two birthday parties this weekend. The first one is tonight.
Somehow it's easier to make presents for girls. I just don't see boys getting excited about personalized t-shirts. (I know Bobby is not excited to give homemade gifts.) So I've decided that for the boy birthday gifts, we'll be sticking to legos or games.

This week has felt busy--I mailed out a large stack of packages this week, and it feels good to get that stuff out of the dining room. Guess what I discovered languishing on the floor? That Christmas quilt I had started several weeks ago! Now that I have some time, I'm going to be working on it. I also have fabric and a pattern for a dress...that I purchased last year. I think this will be mama's Christmas dress for this year.

And speaking of Christmas, lots of good info is out there this week. I like to start on handmade presents early, for obvious reasons. Every year I go through the struggle between wanting to give my kids gifts (and feeling good about it) and not wanting to flood the house with stuff (and feeling icky about it). It seems that every year Rob and I find ourselves walking up and down the aisles of Target, adding more and more junk to the cart. I hate that feeling of buying "just because."

This week, I introduced an idea to the kids (and this is totally not original on my part): four gifts--something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. I'm trying to plant this seed early, and hopefully when they're browsing through the few catalogs I'm going to let into the house, we can try to categorize the "I wants".

I had also asked the kids what their favorite Christmas gifts from last year were. They couldn't name a thing. Caitlin named her American girl doll--but that was from two years ago. I can think of the crappy digital camera that had to be thrown away after falling into an unflushed toilet. (I know.) There's the guitar that was eventually broken--but we never learned how to play it because we didn't think about giving lessons to go with it. There's the electronic virtual friend thingy that lives in a drawer and comes out every other month. Most of the dolls are naked and headless. All of the batteries are dead.

I have a couple of ideas about how to move away from the annual gift orgy toward the four gifts idea--maybe the four gifts from the parents, and maybe Santa brings three gifts (as I keep telling the kids, Jesus received three gifts). And the three gifts from Santa could be a toy, a game, a book.

I'm trying to focus more on making memories with the kids--and those are made by spending time, not money. Like I said earlier, this is an annual struggle. Maybe I should look at it not as a struggle, but as a journey--a one where there will be bumps and backslides. I'd like you hear about your journey too. What is your Christmas plan? How do you handle the kids' gifts? What are some of your favorite Christmas memories, and what memories are you planning on making this year?


Betsy said...

I really like the four gifts idea!!

Kathleen said...

I discovered the four gift thing last year... not that I followed it. Actually, keeping our gifts to our children reasonable isn't the challenge (silver lining of tight budgets?); it's the grandparents that can't say no. I'm torn between gratitude and frustration, plus a bit of jealousy about being outshone on Christmas morning...

I'm here via Amy's series of Moments... looking forward to sharing some more!

Rachel said...

Oh gosh I have not even been able to think about Christmas yet. But we tend to do 3 gifts plus a stocking for our kids. We'll probably think about that this year to make sure it still fits us. I know what you mean about not remembering what gifts you received. I can barely remember what I gave, either.

dodi said...

OK - this is crazy! I have been reading your blog for some time now, knowing that you were local to me (well, as local as the state of Pennsylvania can be!) but now I know we ARE really local to each other! If you can believe this -- I was at Lia's birthday party!!!!!! Crazy weird how it's all coming together! I'll have to tell Chrissy! :D

dodi said...

sorry -- I got so wrapped up and excited about making the connection that I forgot to mention that I l.o.v.e. your four and three gift ideas. I will definitely be incorporating that into our household!! My kids are still plenty young enough -- we are truly just in the beginning phases of the memories they will remember from childhood. I know I have plenty of my own... :)

Christina said...

My daugher Lia was the recipient of the INCREDIBLE shirt and bag, which I LOVE! So glad Bobby could make it to the party and I hope he had fun! I know Lia did...I was cleaning up glitter and stickers for days (I'm still finding Halloween confetti in the basement) but it was a fun night!