We all want the very best for our children, but it’s impossible to do everything right all the time. Admitting that is freeing – and it’s also encouraging to other moms in the midst of intense seasons. That’s the idea behind our Monday Mom Confessions and we’d love for you to join us – share your own confession in the comments below! Let’s throw off the weight of perfection and get real around here!
There are no rules when it comes to holiday spending. Each family sets their own standards that work for them. What you spend on one child might equal what we spend on our entire family (or vice versa).
With that said, I’ve always felt that our Christmases for our kids were more than enough – perhaps even generous – but never extravagant. We set aside a few dollars each month so when December comes, gift-buying is fun and not financially stressful. As long as we’ve got the money saved up…why not spend it?
The last couple of years I’ve had this nagging thought that we should be more mindful of the number of gifts we give our kids on Christmas, but I didn’t necessarily know how to go about it or what should be reasonable for our family. What I did know was that each year gift-buying seemed to get a little tougher with the older one’s changing tastes away from little-kid toys and toward more complicated (and more expensive) things, and that I wanted to adjust their expectations for Christmas while they were still young.
I also realized that kids’ natural tendency to focus on what they were getting – no matter how hard I tried to combat it – seemed to take away from the spirit of the season.
Earlier this month I got the opportunity to start reading Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World (pre-order available!) by Kristen Welch, and I nodded along with the first chapter. She talked about wants vs. needs and detailed how her Christmases seemed to grow bigger every year. And I even agreed with her when she dropped the bomb of how a child’s sense of entitlement starts with the parent’s own sense of entitlement.
Got it. Agree. No problem here Kristen, on to Chapter 2! And so I put the book down and went Christmas shopping.
It went well. I got a couple of gifts for each of the kids, declared myself “DONE!” and looked forward to our intentionally modest Christmas.
It felt amazing.
But then I started to drive home and remembered it was also my daughter’s birthday. That meant I needed another present. Both kids also desperately needed new socks, which I’d planned to put in their stockings but that would mean more stuff on Christmas morning. And they also genuinely needed some winter clothing items, so if I bought those it would mean more gifts under the tree. Suddenly my “two gifts from mom & dad” simple Christmas had more than tripled.
I’m still not sure what the “right” answer is for our family. I want my kids to be grateful for the mundane, so if I’m going to be buying socks for them anyway, why not wrap them up for Christmas? But does that take away from my goal of a smaller number of gifts under the tree?
Whatever I decide, I’m confident my kids will be fine. Truth be told, I’m the one that’s struggling to cut back this Christmas.
What’s your Monday Mom Confession? Tell us in the comments!
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