Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas With Kids

I can't even believe that Christmas is around the corner. Literally. Wow.

2008, you have been a fast little buggar!

And we are yet at another speed bump in the road called "How Much Is Santa Allowed To Bring For Christmas?"

Because the economy was better in the past, and because we were a lot more stupid in the past (can I get a raise of hands of those who were stupid about gift buying for their kids? Anyone?) we Santa has brought entirely too much. On several occasions, the sheer amount of new toys has brought about some twitching and abandoning new toys to play with comfortable old ones, and we have (on more that one occasion) given away toys that have only been played with once or never.

We were so stupid.

Thanks to Ye Olde Economy (which was "officially" reported to be in a recession yesterday....um, yeah, thanks for the update genius economists...I kinda got that on my own), and due in part to us being a little less stupid this year, we have set pretty defined limits on Santa.

I mean, he's a jolly old soul and a merry old man, but he needs BOUNDARIES, people.

This year, the kids are allowed to make their lists for Santa. Mary Emma literally sits in front of the TV and writes down every single thing that comes on every single commercial. Her list is pages long. Tait and Camille are too little to make lists, but Tait is understanding "Santa" for the first time this year. She's 3. Anyway, their lists can have 246 items on them, but Santa chooses the 5 gifts that HE thinks they would love and play with the most. Only 5. They still get to ask for stuff, but they are also still surprised on Christmas morning. They also get one gift from Spencer and I, and one gift from the other 2 sisters. That will make 7 total on Christmas morning. We can also control the budget on these gifts. Mary Emma's list contains some EXPENSIVE stuff that Santa is choosing not to bring this year.

I have to tell you about Tait's "list". She technically doesn't have a list, but she has asked for 2 things. 1. a vacuum 2. a brown baby. A "brown baby" is an African-American baby doll. Now, before any of you get all riled up, this is as innocent and non-racial as can be. A couple of months ago, the girls went to "Family Fun Day" at my dad's church (he's the pastor). They had a bunch of games and you won prizes with each game. At the end of the day, and because the girls were the pastor's grandkids, church members gave them a bunch of leftover prizes. AKA, jackpot for the kids. Most of them were little prizes like temporary tattos, pencils, but one lady gave them the last 3 baby dolls. 2 were Caucasian, 1 was African-American. Tait and Camille got the Caucasian dolls and Mary Emma got the African-American one. Tait absolutely LOVES that doll. She confiscated it from Mary Emma. You can generally find it hidden under the covers in her bed. She calls it "Mary Emma's Brown Baby". Now, remember, she's 3, knows NOTHING about race, and is learning her colors. To her, it's a brown baby and she adores it. So she has asked Santa for her own Brown Baby. The vacuum? No idea where that came from. But every store around here is sold out of play vacuums. Wonderful.

As for grandparents. Lord have mercy. Their only "requirement" is to not overshadow Santa. And for my mom, no toys that require additional rooms to be built onto the house. And I'm not even kidding. Love ya, mom.

I'm curious as to how you handle Christmas. Do you limit Santa or is it a free-for-all? Do you spend equal amounts on each kid? I have a hard time with that because older kids obviously have more expensive toys. I'm sure they'll get to an age where I can spend equal amounts on each of them, but I'm not there yet.

Let me know what you do - I'm interested.

And much less stupid. :)


Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

Our kids are most definitely limited and always have been. We have had two Christmases where we went overboard, but we vowed we'd never do it again since they ended up not wanting to open up all of the presents that we had for them (pretty good gauge that you've gone too far!).

Unfortunately, the older they get, the more expensive their presents become...Wii stuff, Ipods, ect. So while they only get about 4-5 presents each, we have still spent a chunk-o-change.

Tammy said...

About 3 years ago we decided that Santa would only bring 3 gifts for each child....because baby Jesus received 3 gifts from the wise men.

The kids were 5 and 7 at the time and really didn't understand enough to argue. Now they are 9 and 7 and don't fuss about it. My hubby and I wrap a couple of gifts for each for under the tree and maybe one for the family together (like a board game). They also give a gift to one another.

We don't really make a money limit but spend about the same for each child. This has worked for us so far.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

These are all wonderful things to consider no matter what the state the economy is in. When my kids were young we saw this out of control thing building too.....Looking back I would tell you... Don't encourage list. Gifts are to be just that a gift not a wish list fufilled...Do 1 need, 1 want (we know those without asking) & a surprise. Tell your kids what you are doing and take the pressure off of everyone.....You can carry this over forever too. Focus their attention on the one thing they are making or doing (that can be a gift) for each other. You can tell I am passionate about this. I have never written a comment this long before. :0 And on amount....you just thought I was through....Stay with in reason but don't stress your self on making it perfectly even....I am finished I promise ;)

Colored With Memories said...

Glad to hear that Santa is wising up!

We do the three gift thing too.

Loved your comment about your mom not giving gifts that require room additions...oh how true!

Your ornament is on its way from Texas!

Queen B said...

This is always an issue at our house. I have spent many Christmas mornings kind of nauseous over the amount of gifts. We are definitely cutting back this year. Santa is, too. We are trying to find three or four gifts that she really wants. Within reason, of course. Grandparents are an entirely separate issue! I've asked that they just buy a gift or two, but it falls on deaf ears!! I guess that is the joy of being a grandparent :)

Beachy Mimi said...

Hey, I'm cutting back a little bit. I like doing the three gift thing, too...something you want, something you need and a surprise. It makes shopping kinda fun.

Kent said...

We never wanted Santa to overshadow the real celebration of Jesus birthday so our Santa only brings 3 gifts---very small and pitiful--like cards, a cd ,etc. These are always unwrapped. however, we sometimes go overboard with our ( parent) gifts. My 4 have had as many as 20 a piece to open---just WRONG!!! I try to limit it to about 10 gifts each. As they get older this changes because they are more expensive. Stockings are a whole nother issue--they get out of hand too!!

Just a neat thing we do on Christmas morning before we come downstairs to open gifts---we pile into our bed and read the Christmas story out of the Bible and then search for the baby Jesus that I have hidden in our room somewhere. It is so much fun and the kids find the guest of honor before we get to all the presents.

I love your blog--Have a great christmas.
Just a note--i am female even though I have a gender-bender name!

Melanie said...

We don't have kids yet, but our struggle is how much we spend on our parents...!? My parents really don't expect or want for anything, so whatever we do give if anything is more than enough--my husband, however feels some kind of pressure (intrinsic) to buy nice stuff for his parents--and so then we think--if we spend $100 on his folks but not mine is that weird? What do y'all do for your parents?