For Christmas we decided four gifts, like last year: something you want, something you need, something to play with and something to read. Finances are such that Keith and I are foregoing gifts and stockings, but we want Little Man to have a nice Christmas.
In theory, and in discussions, this four gift thing is a piece of cake. But out shopping in the real world?
I want to give my son every little thing.
I went to Toys R Us last weekend because his “want” was on sale.
(it’s a microphone on a stand. I have spent countless hours lately being his mic stand, which renders me attached to the recliner while he sings on and on. And on.)
Anyway…I picked his want and his something to play with (a tool set). I was horrified by the behavior of other parents (not to mention the children. Why would you bring your young child to a toy store, tell them NO to everything the request and then get mad at their fits?). I was equally horrified by the thousands of dollars I saw rung up at the check out lines.
This was mere hours after the tragedy in Connecticut. Maybe these people felt like showing their child(ren) love through plastic stuff made in China? Maybe they felt misplaced guilt? Maybe they felt like they could somehow buy their child’s love through boxes of matchbox cars and Barbie clothes?
Or maybe they felt like me.
You see, Little Man doesn’t ask for stuff. Sure, he asks for a cookie at every bakery we pass (our groceries give out cookies) and once in a while he wants a bottle of water at the check out lane. And we did go somewhere the other day with lots of toys and he said, “Look at all these toys! I want them!” But he doesn’t generally have a case of the “gimmies.” He has seen maybe a dozen toy commercials, and those would have been during football on tv. There are no commercials on Netflix or DVDs.
But I WANT to give to him. Everything. Even within our very limited budget and with the constraints of four gifts (plus stocking) I wanted to buy more.
Because I love him.
Because I want him to have enough.
But what is enough? He has three shelves of books and puzzles. He has a play kitchen with tons of food and accessories. He has three types of blocks, three shoebox bins of cars and trucks and trains, four shoebox bins of assorted other toys, and every Little People set you can imagine.
That doesn’t cover the art supplies: playdo, accessories for that, paints, papers, stickers, crayons, chalk, etc.
He doesn’t need more toys. He has enough.
But he goes to other kids’ houses and they have two or three times what we have. He goes to church classes and hears what other kids are getting for birthdays and Christmas.
As a parent, I want to give my son a great knowledge of the Bible, of morals and values, of being an honorable man full of integrity. “Things” are not important.
We have food. Clothing. Shelter. Warm beds. Entertainment.
Does he really need hundreds of dollars worth of toys that he will quickly tire of?
Someone remind me of that next time I am at Target or Walmart gently caressing the newest train set, please?
How do you balance giving your child what is important with giving him (or her) enough?
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7 thoughts on “but *I* want…”
AMEN. Simply, amen.
Kids don't need stuff. I was horrified too walking around Toys R Us recently. The most expensive toy my girls are receiving this year cost about 15-20 bucks. And 75% of their gifts are coming from a consignment sale that I went to a couple months ago. I have no idea what “the toy to have this Christmas” is an neither does LB! Kids don't need plastic toys from China that are cool today and on the bottom of the toy chest or closet tomorrow.
They need their Mama & Daddy's love and godly guidance in this dark, dark world. You are that for LM and that is all that matters.
I totally relate to wanting to give your little one everything and our little guy is only a few months old. This year is easy enough though and I have not purchased him anything specifically for xmas (although when my dad and sis just visited, I did buy a few toys from amazon, guess I could wrap those up. lol) In the years to come, I need to also keep my head about me and remember he doesn't need every single little thing that I'd love him to have. Right now, I'm so in love withthe idea of legos…as we had them growing up and they were/are so much fun.
I am having the same problem. We do 3 gifts, one being new pjs. I am having a real hard time this year.
I try to teach Isabel to give as well. Had her pick out a gift for the baby. I have also started handing her the change when we shop together for her piggy bank.I was so surprised when we walked out of the big store to see the bell ringers and she asked if She could put her monies in there. Of course I said yes.
I hope that by focusing on the giving and her not receiving everything she asks for Will help balance the needs and wants.
I have no advice! As a first time parent who struggled through infertility, I want to buy our son the world too because we finally have a baby to buy for! 🙂 I look forward to seeing the responses you get. 🙂 I'm so glad I found your blog!
so understand this!!!!
being childless for the first 9 years we were married makes me want to make up for it.
our kids have been blessed with so much this Christmas from grandparents and also from Isabellas birth grandparents. they will be opening so many gifts over the next 2 days, even though we limit the gifts from us to be only 3 (like Jesus received).
the funny thing is, the past few days they have been playing with empty boxes and thought that was the biggest treat!! they don't need anything!
I have felt the exact same way this past week…and to push through, I reminded myself of last year's Christmas and her birthday, when she opened things and played with them so lightly that I could sell them like new at consignment. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to give gifts…so I really have to talk myself out of it! But our finances are tight, too, and it's just so not worth it! I totally sympathize with you!
I don't have kids yet, so I always feel the need to qualify anything I say in these kinds of matters with that!! But we are expecting our first and the enormous amounts of STUFF that people seem to think you NEED in order to raise a child simply boggles the mind. I do not have enough room in my house for it all! And I keep coming back to the idea that pioneers raised kids in log cabins without swings, playmats, etc. I think all the STUFF makes life easier for US, but the kids are probably fine without it. I love that your little man doesn't even seem to know that owning all that stuff is even really an option. That's what I want for my child! I want her to innately understand that even though that stuff is out there, she's not necessarily going to get it & that's ok. But I worry that not everyone around us gets that same message (hello, excited grandma-to-be mother-in-law!). Anyway, for Christmas especially, we never had loads & loads of expensive stuff growing up since my parents couldn't afford that on a minister's salary with 5 kids. But we were never without! We always got cool stuff we liked. Sometimes it was homemade, like the dollhouse my mom had a church member make for my sister & I. It was awesome!! One of my friends employs the 3 gifts rule for her kids for Christmas AND birthdays: since Jesus got gold, frankincense & myrrh, her kids get 3 gifts. I like that a lot. And my family has started going in together on gifts for the grandkids & so many times they don't need more STUFF so we get them family passes to the zoo, children's museums, etc. Or now that they're getting older, tickets to sporting events, concerts, etc. Experiences they'll remember more than all the plastic junk they've broken.