I did it.
We did it.
Unlike in past years, where I felt that our holiday gift-giving was out of control, we really pared down this year and got our children relatively modest gifts.
I did not get my son an X-Box Kinect (and not only because the illiteracy of spelling it Kinect fucking kills me). I didn’t get it for him because I think it’s too expensive and not affordable for us, but more than that, I am annoyed with my kids’ expectations that they will receive the next new thing. As their mother, I am fully aware of my role in forming expectations, so I put my gargantuan foot down and said “it stops now.”
Some of my friends thought that I was sort of a joy-kill (which is probably one step above waging a war on Christmas) because I did not plan a “WOW” gift for my kids. And to be honest, although I was determined to stay within my budget and not get the Kinect, I was worried about that too. Isn’t Christmas supposed to be magical? Especially for my partially-Jewish children who weren’t going to be sold the whole Jesus bill of goods?
But I did it. My kids opened their gifts–my son’s big present was an iHome, from his grandparents, my daughter’s a camera, also from the grandparents– and books, a few games and some baseball gear from us–and they loved it.
We spent hours and days playing Monopoly together, and Boggle and Scrabble.
We laughed so much and there were moments, prolonged moments when I thought that I am living someone else’s life, because I could not believe that my children were so happy even though they did not receive THE MOST WANTED ITEMS on their list.
And yet they were.
So that is my resolution for the new year: I will trust myself and my children more.
I will not buy them crap. I will not buy them stuff because they ask for it, because I think that it will make them happy or because all their friends have it.
I will learn that it is okay for them to want things and not get them.
I will remember that deferred gratification doesn’t break people and I will thank my wise and gorgeous friend Wendi for reminding me that overindulging children is almost as bad neglecting them.
I will break the cycle of retail therapy.
And I will apply it to myself.
I will not buy new clothes. I will not buy things that I do need because who doesn’t love new things? I will not buy purses or shoes (except I will buy sandals this summer, but that’s more of an investment.) And the toughest one for me, I won’t buy a Mac laptop. You know, the one that I really, really wanted. And I’m not getting it even though I made a pact with myself that once I made the money for it blogging, I would. And I did, and I’m still not buying it. Because I, at the age of 43, am learning the difference between “want” and “need.”
I have no idea how long this will last.
I hope, for my children’s sakes, that I make it long enough to make an impression.
Because children deserve that.
(Disclosure: My “no buying” pledge has been inspired by one of my favorite new blog finds, Flourish in Progress. This post has not been sponsored by Xbox Kinect.)
One year ago ...