Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gift Guilt

Today isn’t a happy day. I’m feeling pretty darn out of sorts actually.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One reason I don’t think I’m going to touch on here or now, as it’s probably not appropriate. Or, maybe it’s that it could turn into a very long rant that I may (probably) will regret later, so it’s best not to even touch it here.

Anyhow, one of the things that has me feeling out of sorts is actually part of the whole reason that I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of the pageantry and the displays and the joy of the season that I really, truly like. But the whole material part of it really bothers and upsets me. More so the older I get, and the older Boo gets.

Normally I can just gloss over this aspect of the holiday, content in the exchanging of gifts with family and the children in my life. It gets harder though as Boo gets older. Not because he keeps asking for thing after thing, because he doesn’t. I’m not even sure he understands all the hooplah or who Santa is or anything about the holiday as we just don’t “do it up” at home. No, it’s the well meaning gifts from friends and comments from strangers. Yes, my son gives you a blank stare when you ask him if he’s been to see Santa, or what he’s asked Santa for or what he wants for Christmas. He doesn’t understand or “get it” because, well, like I said, we haven’t brought him up to speed on this holiday. Partially because he is only 2.5 after all and mostly because both Gak and I are very unreligious and are trying to figure out in our own way how to explain this holiday season and let Boo understand all the excitement but understand that religion just doesn’t play a huge role in his parents’ lives, but we’re more than happy for people who’ve made it a large part of theirs.

I’m also feeling very out-shined when it comes to the gifts. I know it doesn’t really matter because he’s 2.5 and won’t remember or care about this Christmas. I know it’s just a small, insecure, feeling financially pinched and anti-materialistic part of me being ugly and selfish. But it is casting a huge shadow over my joy of the season. I know our friends (only slightly more than acquaintances really) mean well and truly do it out of a love for and a joy of our son. But, it still hurts. Yes, there, I said it. It hurts.

A pair of friends of ours got Boo a book reader thing with three books and a cartridge, 3 story books and a bunch of other things. Even with the great deals they got, I think they’ve spent more on Boo than we have! (We’ve only spent about $50, and may only spend another $10 or $20 more at most.) Then there’s work. Our kids' Christmas party is Saturday. Corporate is really cool and gives each kid a present (if the parents work at the corporate office) or send a $25 gift certificate to ToysRUs to those of us in office not at corporate. Well, we’ve been throwing a bowling party for the kids the last 2 years and given small gifts from the funds of the activities committee. This year, the committee told us parents they were going to use those certificates to fund the gift purchases, which is great. The problem isn’t so much what the gift buyer spent on my son, but the size. It’s HUGE. It’s trains and is going to make our “big” gift look tiny and silly beside it. I’m really upset. (I know what was purchased because my friend was the shopper and I’m also on the committee and helped wrap the gifts yesterday.) I can’t bring myself to tell my friend that I want to exchange it for something else, because, well… I did say Boo was into trains when he went around asking for ideas. (I also said coloring and books and I think I mentioned Sesame Street too…)

I’m also upset in general because he’s getting so many things from people when his Poppa and I can only come up with 2 or 3 things that we want to get our boy. Partially it’s because we don’t have room for more things. And part of it is that he still enjoys about 90% of the toys he already has, so there aren’t any obvious “needs” to fill with new toys or things. And part of it is that we realize that this won’t be a big event in his memory, only ours. He really doesn’t care about getting gifts at this age, and I’d like to try and keep it that way for as long as I can. I see too many kids, even at his age, always begging for things and expecting things and being greedy little brats at this time of year. I’ll admit, I went through that too, circling just about everything that even slightly caught my eye in the ToysRUs or Sears catalogues we’d get in November. But I’m pretty sure I always did it realizing I’d never get it all and that it was purely wishful thinking and daydreaming. I would love if Boo could be the same way; dream big, ask for the world, but realize that it probably won’t happen that way.
Anyhow, I’ve rambled and ranted and raved long enough. Am I any happier about the situation, no. Do I feel any better, not really. But apparently I needed to get this off my chest. I have to get back to work and focus on what I’m doing. I haven’t done that nearly enough this year, and it shows and it upsets and angers me.

Peace to all and may your hearts be merry and your gift giving reasonable.

1 comment:

Chelsea said...

Whatever happened to the tradition of getting savings bonds for kids? Everyone knows that parents' houses are full of stuff and rarely do kids *need* another toy.