Parenting Blog

Santa, You’re Too Kind

For the majority of my very privileged childhood, my parents called me spoiled.  But I never felt that I deserved the tag because I rarely ever asked for anything.  No kidding.  I  just got tons of stuff.  Frankly, that wasn’t a me problem.  It was a them problem.  Yet I got saddled with the label.


Sometime in November, about 6 or 7 weeks before Christmas and in plenty of time for us to check ourselves, the Bear dropped an keen observation not usually heard emanating from the mouth of an elementary school-aged human: “Santa always brings me too much”.

She’s got a point.

The girl has, at most, asked for 5 gifts during any one Holiday season. And that whopper of a year featured two “surprise” requests. Usually, she’s got 3 things in mind and politely requests them from Santa Claus.  A few years back, she wanted nothing more than a brown baby doll.  In ’10 it was a boy doll (a brother for Elisa) and a fairy statue that she imagined and described in painstaking detail (holy shit did the Mrs. and I have a hoot tracking down a figurine that met most of her criteria).  Xmas 2011 was no different.  Her list was this: A doll bed, a sewing kit/project, and one surprise.  And Mouse wanted nothing more than a parking garage, a castle, and a Skylander (Hex).  Did Santa bring either girl a one-hand countable pile of presents? No, of course he didn’t.  He, and we, went overboard. Again.

Why do we do this? Why do we continue to make a serious effort to convert our gracious, wonderfully non-materialistic daughters into spoiled rotten, over-privileged brats.  Two reasons, I guess.  One is that we are stupid, on some level at least.  The other?  Our kids are freakin’ awesome and even though we know a big part of the reason for their awesomeness is that they aren’t selfish or obsessed with stuff, we still dump loads of packages onto them anyway.  We’re stupid, remember?

We set a budget of $150 per kid this Christmas and spent twice that.  As the Mrs. is known to say, it could’ve been worse.  Yeah, there could be a pony in my backyard right now.

Still, Christmas ’11 was all kinds of wonderful even if the bank account is lighter than it should be.  In fact, this holiday season may have been the best we’ve experienced since having children.  Adopting a tradition passed on to me from my dad, the gift opening lasted 5 days (!) and the girls were generally more excited to give out the crafty gifts they made for us and each other than to open the gifts Santa and their Mom & Dad left under the tree, proving that even though we are trying really, really hard to screw ’em up, the Bear & Mouse are too terrific to be ruined.

And I’ll never call them spoiled, no matter how much we give them.

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