That’s how the saying goes, yet in today’s society it seems more and more that it is the cost of an item that counts. The multimillion dollar commercial machine has put a lot of effort into convincing us that special gifts are need for each and every event, party, holiday and milestone in our lives. I’m amazed by the various “greeting card” holidays that keep popping up (what the heck is Sweetest Day? Isn’t that the same as valentine day, only in October??), as well as the events that now seem to require mandatory gifts (I NEVER remember ever giving a coach or a teacher and end of year/season gift. I don’t even remember ever giving a teacher a Christmas gift). You could go broke in a year just buying gifts for all these events.
Having kids brings the consumerism to a fevered pitch. I am blessed that there are so many gennerous and thoughtful people in my kid’s lives, but at the holidays (be it Christmas or Birthdays) the sheer number of gifts can be overwhelming.
It can take Princess and Buddy literally all day to open their Christmas presents. Granted, I try not to rush them and to let them play with things as they open them. The fact of the matter is that my kids already have TONS of toys, and each holiday I know they will receive tons more. They have so many toys that they never even play with some of them. Immediately after Christmas I take some of them and hide them in the closet until a rainy day when I need the extra distraction of a “new” toy.
Because of this excess, dh and I don’t buy our kids much for holidays. I know, I know, it sounds blasphemous-but honestly, why should we? I don’t have anything to prove to anyone else-If I know that the Grands and Aunties etc are going to shower them with toys, I don’t feel the necessity to do the same just to prove I can. And even if no one else gave my kids a thing, I would keep the gifts to 3 or 4 well chosen ones, and then maybe a few little “trinkets” like chapstick or stickers from the dollar store. Gifts should be chosen based on your child and your budget, and not just to meet a minimum “cost” (oh, I have to buy little Johnny something that is at least $20. . .. .). I refuse to be sucked into the consumerism.
For example, this year Princess is getting the following:
#1- A pretty pink hat and purse to go with the dress that Nana bought her for Easter-bought at the dollar store. Total $2.
#2- A mermaid Barbie doll (which is a total rip off on the Disney Princesses Ariel Barbie) again bought at the dollar store. She will get this at the family party and the doll will be used in her requested “Barbie Cake” for her friends party on Saturday. Total (obviously) $1
#3- 2 very pretty summer sundresses I bought at the Salvation Army for $3.99 each. Both look brand new! Princess is probably the only 5 yr old I know who will actually be excited at receiving clothes for her birthday. Total $8
#4- 3 christian videos that I picked up at the Dollar General in December for $2 each. (The series is called “3-2-1 Penguins and was made by the Veggie Tales folks). Total $6
#5- Strawberry shortcake markers and a compact of lip glosses that I picked up in the after Christmas sales at Wally World (I keep stuff like that in my gift box-but that is an article for another time). They probably totaled about $3.
#6- Since Princess loves nightgowns to sleep in, and has outgrown her summer ones, I am going to package up a pattern and enough fabric for two nightgowns. That is the only thing I haven’t actually bought yet-but I probably won’t have to spend more than $20 (and that is if I buy some nice themed fabric, like Barbie or Strawberry Shortcake etc. I already have all the notions, buttons and lace I would need on hand).
That brings the grand total for her gifts to approx $40, maybe less depending on how much the fabric costs. I challenge anyone to look at what she is receiving and tell me that she is somehow missing out or not receiving enough. And that is without the gifts from 3 sets of grandparents, 2 great grandparents, and 5 sets of aunts and uncles. Not to mention whatever she receives from her little friends at her party.