Before kids, I barely celebrated Christmas. It was a holiday for families, kids and more religious people than I was. My family is spread out far and wide around the country and there wasn’t one set point where everyone got together. Most years, I was single. I don’t live near any of my family, so Christmas was either spent with other single friends or as the well-meant-but-uncomfortable-add-on to someone else’s family celebration.
After my first child was born, it was hard to think of us as a whole and complete family, even though we were. Now, with both my kids, I am slowly growing our own traditions and celebrations of Christmas.
But, the question I come to every year is how much is too much? I see their unstuffed stockings, and a present from me, a present from Santa (who last year came and ate his milk and cookies, though I am not sure if anyone but me noticed) who came down our chimney where I cleared a path from the clutter, toys, and Christmas tree. And, with what I have already bought I don’t know if I should stop or keep going.
I don’t want them to grow up spoiled and entitled, but I also don’t want them deprived. They are still young enough not to know how much they are getting vs. how much their friends are getting but I feel like I am creating precedence. They get toys and small presents throughout the year, as I see things I know they would like and the house is full of their stuff. They are getting presents from family and friends. So, maybe they are already spoiled and I should go minimalist?
And maybe it isn’t about the presents. But they are too young to understand the meaning of the Holiday.
Though they do find joy seeing the houses decorated with lights and Santas and reindeer and other assorted decorations. My son was jumping for joy as I brought the Christmas tree down from the attic in pieces in dusty garbage bags, grumbling under my breath as I got scratched by the branches and the clouds of dust all over the bags made me sneeze, and the heavy awkwardness of them as I tried to drag them safely down the seven foot ladder.
Some years, we have gone to church, some years, I have had to work, and some years, I fought hard against the seasonal depression that grips me most years, and every year I wonder where the line is…