Whether we like it or not, the holidays are once again upon us. To some people, the holidays being upon us means putting up Christmas lights, decorating their homes, and putting up the Christmas tree. To others that means snow, cars not starting, and long lines at every store they set foot into. To those with children, we are often reminded of the new it toys to buy our children both by advertisers and our offspring.
Buying Christmas presents sucks. I hate it. I know I could be an early shopper and do my Christmas shopping at the beginning of the year, heck, in the summer even. I realize the internet has many sites I can visit to buy my children all the hottest toys around. I hate buying them nonetheless, because I have four children. Some people are OK with buying their kids one or two small gifts. My family has always showered the kids with gifts, both when I was a kid, and now to my children as well.
Sometimes it seems my ex-wife and I try to one-up the other by buying the most, or the most expensive, or the coolest gift on our kid’s lists. Take this year, for instance. Last night my daughter had her very first Strings concert (they did very well, by the way). It was the first time I had “face-time” with my ex in a few weeks, and she wanted to discuss the Christmas presents (so we didn’t “double” gift).
Since I have remarried my wife was there as well. She, although secure in our relationship, does not like when I talk to my ex. Personally, I don’t think I like talking to my ex either. We have a little system set up that works very well for our communications between each other. It’s called email. Sometimes it’s called text messaging. On occasion, it’s called a telephone conversation. Usually, however, it’s not direct contact.
My ex-wife informed me last night that she has already got my oldest children each an American Girl doll. I’m not sure if you are aware, but these dolls are high on most young ladies Christmas lists year after year. The girl’s grandparents this year have also gifted them some very similar dolls this year. So, I can cross out “big dolls that look like little girls” off of my shopping list.
In addition to the dolls, she has decided to buy my ten-year-old daughter a cell phone. Yeah, you read that right, and yeah, she is only ten. My daughter has been wanting a cell phone for about as long as I can remember, yet actually purchasing one for my ten-year-old has yet to cross my mind. Call me old-fashioned, but I just can’t really see why she would need one just yet. If I’m remembering correctly, my ex-wife has already went down this road with her once before when she was eight. I don’t recall why the cell phone only lasted a couple of weeks then, but I do recall it only lasting a couple of weeks.
I have a small dilemma with my second oldest daughter, however. One thing I have been thinking about purchasing her this year for Christmas is a DS Lite. Her older sister has one, as do her older cousins, and I know she’s a little jealous when they play together. So, for Christmas this year I’ve been seriously considering buying her one. However, I’m a firm believer in good behavior warrants good presents. In my mind, my daughter has not had the best behavior recently at all. I have yet to put forth the money to come up with such an expensive gift because she hasn’t “earned” it yet, in mine and my wife’s mind.
My oldest daughter has all of her Christmas gifts purchased for her already. If she gets anything else from us, it will be a small last-minute thing. I already know she’s getting a cell phone. I already know she’s getting the guitar she’s asked for the last couple of years (thank you internet, for that). They’re both getting new bedroom sets, they’re both getting snuggies, and a few other small things. I just really want my other daughter to earn her DS. If she does not do her part to earn it, then I feel as if I will not only be doing myself a disservice as a parent, but to her as well. I don’t want her to think that she can behave in the way that she has recently and then still get whatever she wants.
She actually has not given me a list this year. Her older sister gave us one weeks ago. I think she knows she’s going to get a lot of good stuff, because that’s what always happens. Even if I don’t come through, her mom will more than make up for it. I just don’t want to be too hard-nosed, and not get her a big gift trying to prove a point, and then she feels as if I’m singling her out. I don’t want nor do I need any more tension in my life. So, I’ve been thinking about getting it for her anyway, and then she comes home with a newsletter from her teacher on Wednesday. He personally asked us NOT to buy our children any video games this Christmas, and to please consider an outdoor game/activity instead. Well, that’s just great.
As for the babies, I’m fairly certain they will be pretty OK with everything we’ve bought for them so far. Honestly, the house already looks like a mini toy store, so I think they will all be OK with whatever it is Santa has picked out for them.
In conclusion, I would like to encourage other parents to tell their kids the truth about Christmas presents. You should let them know that it really does suck. It’s not easy paying for them. Some of us have to work extra hours, some of us spend hours in line, and some of us search high and low on the internet for the best deal for us, and the best deal for them. We have to buy wrapping paper, tape (because we can’t ever find the left-over stuff from last year). In addition, we have to pretend to be excited when we open up our package of socks we needed two months ago, but our wives decided to wait to give it to us for Christmas instead.
So, after all is said and done, and the Christmas presents part of Christmas is over, please enjoy this holiday with your family. It truly is a special time of year. Try to take your kids to see some lights, maybe take them ice-skating if they’re old enough, and maybe even a trip to see Santa. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!