Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wrap Day!

OK, I have vowed to get all the wrapping done today. I've brought down the "special Santa paper", and my bed is currently sorting central. I have presents divided by person, and have "test-driven" the stockings (which are satisfyingly full). However, I am now in a panic over the meager pile of presents to each kid. I *knowknowknow* I need to just leave it alone, because I have spent plenty of money on each, and there is one superfantasticamazing present that they are going to DIE over (and I won't mention it here because they might accidentally see the blog), so I just have to STOP ALREADY and just wrap what's there and be DONE WITH IT.

I've looked at my spreadsheet again (yes, I know, I have a spreadsheet that lists all the presents and how much money I've spent...shut up.) and I feel slightly better about it, so I might be able to go back upstairs and actually do the wrapping. I might need to come back down and look at the spreadsheet a few more times to remind myself that I'm good.

What IS this beating myself up that I haven't done enough? It's not like my children are anything close to deprived. I do things for them all year round. I put a lot of effort, as a matter of fact, to make sure that they *aren't* deprived. During the summer (lawn sale season), my parents are constantly giving my kids amazing things (that quite honestly I could not even come close to being able to afford if we were paying retail). Each of them have overflowing closets and bureaus of quality clothing, tons of toys. They have an XBox, a PS2, AND each their own GameBoy, not to mention each a CD boombox and a handheld CD player, so they've got the "electronics" covered. They are enveloped in love, both verbal and nonverbal. Christmas is one day. It should not be elevated to the degree that it has been, where it is pretty much implied that this is the only day you can express your love and value of someone, and that it is directly tied to how much "stuff" is under the tree.

Intellectually, I know all of this. Yet, yet, I still feel the pressure to shower my kids with an avalanche of goodies, to somehow show them the overwhelming, overflowing love that is in my heart. I want oooooohs, and aaaaaaaahs, and WOW! Fireworks.

But which is better? Showy displays, or the quiet certaintude of unconditional love? I don't want my children to learn that things express love. I want the "real" things to count. Actions speak louder than words, but which actions? One day a year of wow, or 52 weeks of showing up to all the games, spontaneous hugs, special outings, nightly tuck-ins, etc.?

OK. I feel better. Back upstairs to wrap. mk


Anonymous said...

I’ve tried to comment but everyone keeps interrupting me. Geez! Anyway, I think that we all feel the pressure- Christmas is built up to this huge thing by the media and the retail industry. And as adults we have limited “magic” moments in our lives. I love holidays of any kind and probably completely overdo it, but you know, they’re only kids once. And let’s face it, it’s great to see their excitement as they see the carefully wrapped presents under the tree and the expressions on their faces on Christmas morning. I tell myself this, but do you want to hear something sad? I actually purchased Lego Star Wars II on Gameboy for Christmas when the kids already have it on Playstation.

I often think about the material possessions piece…how many Playstation games, DVDs, music players, tv stations, and random electronics does a kid need? Nathan actually asked me a couple of years ago if BC stands for “Before Cable.” I know that it means more to Nathan to have me lay in bed and read Garfield with him for a half hour. You’re right, as you said, it’s the games, hugs, outings, nightly tuck-ins, a note tucked into their lunch box, etc. that are far more nurturing than showering them with things.

My competitive nature takes hold of me sometimes and I will try to out-do my efforts from last year. It’s not just like that for holidays…take Nathan’s invention for the Invention Convention. It’s ridiculous how elaborate it is and how much I’ve done on the stupid thing. I am actually going to go to Wal-Mart and buy a piece of felt for the bottom of it. I will probably write a post on it later tonight.

Is your spreadsheet color coded? Mine is.


markira said...

Yes, it's color-coded. I wasn't going to mention that because I felt weird enough that I have a spreadsheet, complete with formulas to make sure that each kid has the same amount of $ spent on them as well as the same number of gifts. But now that I know there's at least one other person out there who does it too, I will confess. :D mk