Dear Kids, Stop Ratting Me Out!
Tired of watching your sugar-crazed children ripping through mountains of birthday and Christmas loot, barely acknowledging one gift before tearing into the next?
Sick of that feeling in your stomach when your spoiled angel says, “Clothes? Bo-ring,” to an adorable outfit while the giver stands by with a strained smile of toleration?
Exhausted from “helping” your whiney tiny one write a mountain of thank you notes for weeks after their party?
Mortified as your trendy tot tosses aside a hard-backed book her aunt had signed by the author in lieu of a 10-pack of Shopkins?
Then it’s time to stop the insanity. Look, I’m not suggesting your kids not get presents (I tried that once and was nearly hauled away by Social Services), I’m merely suggesting you spread the presents out a bit!
The truth is, no matter how many times you clean out the toy box and donate outgrown toys to the orphanage, no matter how many broken bits of party favors and fast food prizes you secretly throw away, no matter how many times you suggest that “activities make an excellent gift” to your in-laws, the toys are still gonna creep up on you like a cheesecake on your thighs because nobody listens!
Nobody listens because they all want to be the hero. Grandparents, godparents, aunts and good friends all want to give the kid the gift they’ll love the most. Sadly, the gift your kids will love the most will never be Grandma’s hand-sewn quilt or Auntie’s chemistry set. No, without fail, the gift that will make your kid scream with delight will be from some kid in his class whose mother, after seeing your kid’s name for the first time on the invitation, ran out to Target and grabbed the first item she saw on the clearance aisle. The gifts from your close family and friends who put time and effort into their gift selection will be met with a luke-warm response, while you watch in horror at the revelation of your total failure as a parent.
Don’t let the aunts, cousins, godparents and family friends send a gift to get lost in the gift overload of birthdays and Christmas. Don’t let them waste thoughtful gifts and collectable items amid the fray of plastic toys and video games. Instead, ask them to pick a lesser-endowed holiday and be the hero of an otherwise barren month.
For example, our house is visited every year by three fairies: The Valentine’s Fairy delivers boxes of stickers, coloring books, and heart-shaped décor. The Halloween Fairy sends pumpkin-covered PJs and glow-in-the-dark accessories. And, the Summer Fairy, whose goal in life is to give gifts her mother never let her have, most recently sent a snow cone maker. (I made the babysitter make the snow cones….she never came back. This godmother is now on fairy probation).
Instead of being another thoughtful gift carelessly tossed on to the birthday pile, these random holiday gifts are anxiously awaited and fully appreciated. The kids write thank-you notes and mean every word, the givers get the appreciation they deserve, and I get to rest easier knowing that my spoiled cretins are acting like they’ve got some home training (at least to people outside the home.) Turns out, while expected gifts make you bratty, surprise gifts make you grateful.
Having “fairies” also gives you more ammunition for threatening as, much like Santa and the Easter Bunny, they only send gifts to kids who act right. But if you’re not into the whole fairy thing, just pick a holiday and make it yours! Send a decorative egg every Easter, send a box of Lucky Charms for St. Patrick’s Day, hell send the damn kids a bag of dirt and a pack of seeds for Arbor Day and I guarantee it’s the first time they ever volunteer to do yard work!
The best thing about this random holiday gift thing, is that kids have no expectation of a mountain of presents on Halloween or Valentine’s Day, and they certainly aren’t expecting anything extravagant on the first day of summer. A few themed bits from the dollar store, some confetti, and a card, that’s all it takes!
However, lest the children begin to think there are presents around every corner for them and only them, it’s important to show them how to be a “holiday fairy” to another family. My kids help me make the box of Halloween goodies for our godson and love picking out the bits and bobs they think he will like. They get their holiday buying fix in without a single new toy living in our house. One small step for my children; one giant leap of joy for me!
I realize what I’ve actually done is created an environment of year-round gifting with the potential to make the children greedily little mongrels. And that may happen, or just maybe the kids learn to think outside the box and look for little ways to make other people feel special on an ordinary day… or maybe they turn into greedy little mongrels, but at least we can say we tried!
Good Luck and Happy Gifting!Share This: