I loved Christmas as a child. I would open a huge pile of gifts at my dad’s house Christmas Eve, and then another huge pile at my mom’s house on Christmas morning. There were always piles and piles of gifts at Christmas time. But looking back, I can only recall three Christmas presents: my Cabbage Patch Doll, a baton and an art kit my Grandmother put together from office supplies.
I know there are many families who spend thousands of dollars on Christmas each year. Their children find the newest phones and gaming systems under the tree. They are the families in the Lexus commercials with the big red bow on a new car that cost more than my college tuition. We are the family in the Kia commercial.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I love to buy gifts for our children, and it isn’t a money issue. We simply avoid spoiling them at all costs. You will never see a huge pile of gifts under our tree. We will never go into debt to buy the latest and greatest toys or electronics. But you will find me out on Black Friday getting good deals.
I simply don’t see the point in throwing material gifts at children one day of the year simply because. How many parents have actually followed through on their threat of no Christmas gifts if junior continued to misbehave? How many parents purchase their children gifts simply because it’s the hottest toy?
I am a firm believer in the theory that overindulgence is akin to child abuse. Now that doesn’t mean I think Christmas should be like any other Tuesday of the year. I do, however, think that many families need to take a long look at the true spirit of the season. For some, it’s about the birth of Jesus Christ, for others, it’s a time for family, friends, and tradition. And still others take this time of year to remember those who are less fortunate than themselves.
Sadly, many think of Christmas as a time of material gifts. I’m sure we will never get beyond that, after all our economy practically demands it. Would it be so terrible if we pared down the gifts in exchange for time with one another and experiences? I’m willing to bet your kids won’t remember what they received for Christmas, but they will remember the time they spent with you. And really, isn’t that a gift?
Cat Koehler is married with two children. She works full time. Read her Mondays on momaha.com
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