Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I went to the big city this weekend sans kiddos and found myself at times wandering the aisles of a few of the big stores in town, which were already in mock-speed holiday promotion. After that and a conversation with my friends' children about their LIST - a long list of items they wanted which in this case included diamond studs for their ears - I got a little frustrated and baffled. Christmas, it seems, has been boiled down to a single experience for children: greed.
I love my children. I want them to have the things they need and things that will make them happy. But there is a point at which it really gets gross. And I think we are there. So this year, I'm trying to figure out how to do it differently. How do we re-create the concept of Christmas so no one is disappointed, but there isn't a glut of plastic (both toys and the debt from purchasing them) left on the 26th. I don't know how, really.
I was thinking that I might try to line out a week of activities with the kids - give them my time as my primary present - create memories, as well as a few home-made gifts. Snow flakes for the windows one day, holiday cookies for friends another.
I have a few ideas for home-made gifts for Thea - she loves dressing dolls, so I think I will hit the local second hand store and look for doll clothes this weekend. And maybe a larger dollhouse? And Liam is loving skiing and outdoor pursuits, so I'm going to make sure he has a good set of skis and also thinking about getting him a telescope. Can't make it, but his interests are a little more sophisticated. Still, a telescope without someone to look through it with him is practically useless. So books and charts and time. Like the keyboard, where we sit together, plunking away at simple songs.
It's hard to imagine completely separating the commercialized version from our lives - others have ideas of what it is all about, too. But there has got to be a way to tone it down a little. There just has to be a way to bring expectations down and build the celebration of giving up so that in the end, the good feeling these little people in my lives have in their hearts has more to do with lessons of substance than lessons of greed and want versus need.
We'll see how it goes.