It seems inevitable, really, that the joy of the holidays leads into the pondering of the tide of toys.
My kids were blessed this year with some really awesome gifts. My son experienced love at first sight when he saw his new Buzz Lightyear doll, which has literally not left his side in 4 days (he got it early). My daughter, only 14 months, has been playing–with rather more enthusiasm than skill–on her very own harmonica and recorder. Evidently sharing big brother’s instruments was a plan doomed to failure from the start. And they will share a whole host of fabulous toy tools, Little People sets, and toy trucks.
In the shower this morning, I realized something about gift-giving. My parents and my sister did an excellent job at purchasing gifts that the kids would really like. Although my husband and I didn’t buy any gifts for the kids, I feel this niggling feeling that I couldn’t have been as gifted, if you’ll pardon a pun, in gift-buying. I feel pretty sure that I would have bought them toys that I wanted them to have, such as all-cloth dolls like these Waldolf dolls, Lily Dolls, or Groovy Dolls. Or, perhaps a lovely wooden play kitchen, like those found at Warm Biscuit or even (*gasp*) Pottery Barn. Just looking at these ads makes me wish that this was the type of childhood I could give my children.
And, I have to admit, it felt really, really good to not “do” Christmas this year. Oh, we still backed cookies (and brownies and fudge and pound cake), and even managed to give most of the goodies away as gifts. And I still bought a few gifts, albeit extremely frugally. But I went into the season knowing that my husband and I weren’t exchanging gifts and that we weren’t buying the kids anything either. It was such a relief! No hours spent shopping! No trying to wrap presents in the hour free each evening after the kids are asleep! (And no attendant wrapping-paper guilt.)
I’ve always been a stressed-out giver of gifts. I just can’t shake that voice that wonders, Is this what they wanted? Did I spend too much money? Not enough? Should I have given this instead? Maybe if I just try one more store…
And then I married a non-Christian, whose religious holidays revolve around getting the family together, eating a huge meal, and often giving to those less fortunate. (Except for that little matter of Kurban Bayramı, or the Silence of the Lambs, as my not-so-PC father likes to tease my husband.) Overall, like Christmas should be, no? So I think we’ll enjoy our “gift-light” holidays for a while. It may not be for everyone, but it certainly gave me the extra time and energy to think about the real focus of the season. Cookies. Oh, wait, sorry, that slipped out in my post-holiday sugar buzz. I meant to type, love.