When I was growing up, I had many presents in excess for Christmas. My mother would start purchasing Christmas gifts as early as spring so that she could give my brother and me all the things she thought we wanted. As a teenaged mother, this was a great feat for her.
I totally took that for granted. I was never really a materialistic person, and the things she bought me I considered were a poor excuse for her not being around. As a single mother she usually was working all of the time and I spent my time taking care of my brother and our tiny apartment in the seedy part of town in which we lived.
However, every Christmas I would awaken to a living room full of more toys than I could have ever imagined.
You would have thought that I would have learned to be more conservative with my gift giving for my own children. Well, you are wrong. I started out doing the same thing. My husband didn’t help much both because he was adopted and felt as though he wanted to give his kids the Christmas that he never had.
After several years of this excessive gift giving, my son looked at me and said, “Mommy, it’s too much. I don’t know what I want to play with.” I was jolted back to my childhood and realized that I forgot the true meaning of the season.
Now, we travel for the holidays. We take a few small gifts that we exchange. We talk about what we are grateful for and what we hope for the New Year. Over the years I am more and more surprised when I ask my older kids what they want for Christmas and they say…”Oh, not much. I’ve got everything I need.” Wow, who’d a thunk it? Christmas, about us spending time together and appreciating the gift we have of a loving family.