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Sunday, December 20, 2009

How Generous Should Santa Be?

I usually get called a grinch by other moms that I know- though it's more behind my back than to my face. And it's in expressions on faces when we talk about what Santa is bringing the kids for Christmas.

My kids have always had a good Christmas. They've never asked if that was all there was or wondered where a certain item was that wasn't under the tree for them. There have only been 3 Christmases so far when someone was old enough to question, but still.

Santa does bring my kids quite a few presents.

Especially whatever is most important to each child.

But, when Monkey was 2: he wanted crayons. At 3: playdoh. At 4: MORE playdoh. Bear hadn't cared until this year and Cub is still too little.

Here are their lists for this year:

And Cub doesn't have a list, though his brothers have told Santa that he wants bath toys and some more sippy cups.

No, we didn't just buy them those things, nor did we just buy crayons or playdoh the other years. They have a lot to open.

It just isn't a lot when I hear what other people buy their kids or when I see the pics from under other people's trees.

My kids already own a million toys, so I don' t feel the need to double what they have every Christmas.

We also do not wrap clothes and put them under the tree. Maybe when the boys are older and there are certain clothes that they really want, we will. For now, we do get clothes at this time of year because of the sales, but we just give them to the kids. They aren't really excited about opening them anyway. All it would do is to make the pile of presents look bigger.

If we do not have the money for something, we do not buy it. No credit card purchases, so that gives us a more definite budget.

Maybe if that budget were larger, the pile of gifts would be larger, I don't know.

Before you feel too bad for them, know that I DO feel that they get enough. It's not just a few things. But, there are not thousands of dollars worth of presents under our tree. You will not find a gift that cost $500 under the tree along with 57 other gifts.

If that is what you do and you have the money to do it, more power to you.

But, it doesn't happen here. Please don't look at my kids with pity. They DO enjoy their Christmas mornings.

And we do other things as a family that they enjoy: their magic Christmas Elf pjs that we let them stay in all day, cookies and punch all day long, lots of cuddling together, watching movies and playing with their toys. It's not all about the presents.

Christmas shouldn't be all about the presents.

Just because my Santa isn't as generous as yours don't make me a grinch.

Btw- blogger is hating me this morning and making everything be center-aligned, even though I keep trying to change it. Sorry!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not a Grinch, Shell! In my opinion, your Christmas sounds lovely....exactly how I want mine to be. We've always kept to a budget and this year was a little harder b/c it's the first time we didn't credit everything....yay! But I know for a fact that my kids will be happy with whatever they get. They always have been:) I do the same thing...I try to get what they want first and then what I want to add to it, second. Now, just to get a Christmas day to stay home in PJ's all afternoon.....wow! That'll be on my list next year:)

BTW, your post looks & reads great. I didn't notice or wasn't distracted by the centering. It works:)

Happy Sunday!

December 20, 2009 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger SaraPlaysHouse.com said...

AMEN! My girls will have approximately 4 gifts apiece. And that's FINE. :) It makes me sad when kids get so wrapped up in how much they get on Christmas morning that they can't even appreciate it anymore, know what I mean?
Great post! Stopping by from SITS!

December 20, 2009 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger gina said...

SAnta brings less than 20 for my girls and they get 1-3 from us, and they all get presents from each other- thoughtful little things, sometimes handmade. They get one "big" gift- the most important thing they want and Santa decides what the rest will be- some things off their list and some things that santa thinks of like cool umrellas and fun slippers- things mom and dad find too frivilous to buy during the year when the girls see and want them in the stores! Oh, and books- lots and lots of books and art supplies!

December 20, 2009 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger gina said...

Oh my I just read the ages of your kids- when my oldest two were that litttle I could do christmas for under $100 dollars! blocks, play doh, crayons, foam soap for the tub and the likes were magical to them!!

December 20, 2009 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this & you don't sound like a Grinch to me, your "Christmas Methods" sound very practical.

Sophia got 7 toys for Christmas from me and the hubbs, and nothing else. And I think that's just fine. No clothes, unless you count the valor dress she's wearing to our Christmas Eve party at home. =)

December 20, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Foursons said...

You're not a grinch. We could never afford a $500 gift for any of our kids. My kids have a bigger Christmas because I shop all year long on the Clearance aisle. I will get them one new full price gift that is on their list (nothing over $30), but everything else is clearance. And my kiddos do get clothes. They like the feeling of having a pile of presents, so I wrap the clothes up. They also are getting things from the dollar store and brand new items I found at a garage sale.

I think you are teaching your kids a very valuable lesson. Don't let the opinion of others make you feel bad.

December 20, 2009 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Your children don't seem too demanding. That's a good thing. I hope that they have a very merry Christmas.

December 20, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Stone Fox said...

well if you are the grinch, then i don't even know what that makes me. my kids get ONE santa present, each. ONE cool mom and dad gift, and the usual new pjs OR a video from mom and dad to open xmas eve. i can't believe that other people would actually judge you for not wasting money on excess. because really, that's what it is. a WASTE. i think your christmas sounds lovely (and a lot like ours) with time spent together during the day, instead of countless hours of opening toy after toy for the kids to all FIGHT OVER!

December 20, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Vodka Logic said...

how cute... I wish my kids requests were that simple

December 20, 2009 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Eternal Lizdom said...

My husband's parents love with gifts. They go nuts at Christmas and for birthdays. It's overwhelming.

This is what we are doing this year...
Something you want
Something you need
Something you wear
Something you read

Also, Santa will leave a note asking my kids to pick out toys they no longer play with to give to Goodwill since they have these new toys. And we leave a bag of food for Santa to take to whatever kids he knows need it.

December 20, 2009 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

You aren't a Grinch at all. Your kids are happy and that is all that matters in the world.

December 20, 2009 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Chief said...

not a grinch at all.

we all do our chrstmases different and it doesnt matter how its done!

December 20, 2009 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Working Mommy said...

Thousands of dollars for gifts is not necessary...as long as the kiddos are happy - then that is all that matters! They should learn about the real meaning of Christmas and volunteer when they get a little older - and really understand - instead of just asking for presents, etc.


December 20, 2009 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I read a post where someone gives something you want, something you need, and something to read. I think as JDaniel gets bigger that is what I plan to do.

December 20, 2009 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger adrienzgirl said...

Shell I think your post is brilliant. When children get so much at Christmas it is difficult for them to appreciate everything.

We stay in our Christmas jammies all day too! LOVE IT!

December 20, 2009 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Ooh, I like the want, need, wear, read too! Great idea!

I don't think you sound like a Grinch at all. Honestly, it sounds like the people that are making you feel that way are pretty snooty.

My MIL/FIL are divorced, so my boys have 3 sets of grandparents. Each set of grandparents spend about $200 on the boys, so your talking $600 worth of crap they don't need. Fortunately, one of the grandparents just gives us cash and we use it toward the Christmas stuff we get them.

Santa only brings them what they really want. This year that means a star wars blaster gun for the older two, a board game each, and an I Spy book. Santa presents are left unwrapped. From us, the older two have about 6 or 7 presents each and the little guy has 3 ('cause he could care less). ;) It's also great with all boys because the older two will share their stuff and it's like they got double the presents! :)

December 20, 2009 at 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've been given an award! Stop on over at my blog to collect! :)

December 20, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Just A Normal Mom said...

It sounds like your kids have a wonderful Christmas with their parents and each other and the spirit of the day.

And by doing so, your kids won't grow up thinking Christmas revolves around consumerism. I say Kudos to you!


December 20, 2009 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Poolside with the Girls said...

My oldest daughter's 1st Christmas I gave her exactly one set of Duplos. That was it. Just Duplos. I still don't feel bad about it. She was a 6 months old and didn't know what day it was.

I think your list sounds perfectly wonderful. I don't really care what other people think and hope you don't care either. You are being very sensible and I don't see why anyone has the right to voice an opinion about it. I don't feel badly for you kids. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas to me.

December 20, 2009 at 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ugh. I posted a long comment and it disappeared.

Anyway, you are doing the right thing. They wont expect more if they dont get it to start with. We did it the wrong way for too many years and now that it is slim this Christmas we are dealing with guilt, even though our oldest never asks for anything expensive.

You are being good stewards of your money and teaching values. Well done!

December 20, 2009 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger MommyLovesStilettos said...

We do the same thing. I pay cash for all of the gifts I buy. I don't charge anything. My kids have a great Christmas and I spend nowhere near what a lot of parents spend. I don't want my kids thinking Christmas is all about gifts and nothing else.

December 20, 2009 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I've been playing with a post for later this week with the exact same theme! NO, my 3 year old does NOT need a Nintendo DS, nor does he need Wii games! Geesh! Good for you! I'm sure you'll see my post in a few days and we can compare notes a little more. LOL

December 20, 2009 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Anti-Supermom said...

Not at all Grinchy! I think you have a great grasp of what they need vs. what they want.

Don't worry, it's not the presents that they will remember.

December 20, 2009 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Nope, we do the same. We do not have credit cards, so everything is cash. My mom spends about $500 per child, which is ALOT of toys. How much more do my hubs and i need to do? I mean, enough is enough, right?

December 20, 2009 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger Twincerely,Olga said...

Great post!!The absolute truth!! I have always been the same way!!!

December 21, 2009 at 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is exactly how I plan on doing our Christmases from now on. I learned my lesson last year. My little boy was only 2, but I bought him so many presents that he just tossed the toy aside and wanted to open another. And then he got to the point where he didn't even care about opening the rest of his presents!

December 21, 2009 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Tami G said...

Well I personally LOVE your Christmas!
I think it ROX!
I can't say I have never spent more money than I should at Christmas (i wish I could)
BUT - I can say I always try to put the focus where it belongs.....on family.
I think your Christmas rox!

December 21, 2009 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Meg @ Higgins Happenings said...

I dont think your grinchy! Grinchy would be not buying ANYTHING for your children. I think it's great to raise your children up not "expecting" alot - because it only gets worse with age and they start expecting so much that it could be hard to meet their expectations. And besides Christmas is NOT about the presents you recieve its about remembering why we celebrate Christmas in the first place and just enjoy the family time!

December 21, 2009 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

I fully believe that you do what works for you. If what you do works, why fix what isn't broken? We tend to be more of the "go all out" type people, but that's the way both of us we're raised and it's what we know. We hardly buy for the kiddos during the year, aside from b-days, so I guess we kind of make up for it at Christmas.

December 21, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger mintifresh said...

My friend was telling me the other day that they couldn't decide between a Wii or a $150 puppy for their 3 year old. I couldn't believe it! They have 3 other kids so what on earth are they doing for them!? Oh well, my kids are getting exactly what they asked for so I'm not too worried!

December 21, 2009 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Corrie Howe said...

The most important thing is that Christmas is what your kids enjoy, along with their parents. You don't need to justify your Christmas to yourself or anyone else.

I hope that you feel the freedom to no feel judged by others.

December 21, 2009 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Stacy's Snippets said...

Don't worry about what those other "ladies" think...sounds like your kids are happy little boys. I have some friends who don't believe in Santa at all and they tell their kids from day 1 that he doesn't exist. I will admit, I do make snide comments behind THEIR backs! :)

December 21, 2009 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger supahmommy- somethin's wrong with that girl said...

what a comment drawer!

what ho bags.

December 22, 2009 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Tracie said...

It sounds like you have some sense! It's good that you are starting off this way. Much easier than cutting back later. Trust me....,

December 23, 2009 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Patricia said...

okay from the preschool party to this post, I am so thinking that you got saddled with some bad moms there. Seriously.

I pretty much learned from last year that it made no sense to buy presents just for the sake of buying them something. It has to be something they want or need and that's it. We also didn't buy them clothes. Their grandparents do that anyways. It makes much more sense to cut back on the present thing a bit and raise our children to be grateful and appreciative of what they have rather than a one of entitlement.

December 29, 2009 at 9:43 PM  

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