I cringe when I read posts about no gift Christmas. No gift Christmas, birthday or any other occasion works for us adults, maybe, but kids should get a little something: a toy, sweets or a book, to believe in magic. Especially at Christmas. That’s why even though my kids have enough things, I am not being an a**hole. There’ll be a present hiding beneath the tree come Christmas morning.
Why no gift Christmas sucks?
I can still remember being a kid, going to bed on Christmas Eve. The pure excitement rushed through me, making me stare at the ceiling for too long. I couldn’t fall asleep.
I don’t recall waiting for Santa or even believing it was him. I think I knew early on my Mum was the real Santa in our home. The revelation was never shocking nor did I cared particularly about it.
Despite the hard evidence to the contrary, deep down, this naive part of me believed it might be some kind of magic.
And even though I’d caught her a few times stashing away the gifts, it was still as wonderful waking up in the morning. I’d rush to the Christmas tree, pick my present and enjoy tearing through the wrapping paper to get to it.
Besides no gifts on Christmas, leaves you with nothing but cold. Not a huge fan of that. Also not much of a skier, all I have to look forward to in Winter is a Christmas surprise. OK, fine, now I have eggnog, muled wine and gin to brighten up the short days. But let’s focus on kids – the best things about Winter is snow and Santa. Little worries – was I good enough and did Santa listen.
And I milk Santa the whole month to get them to behave, clean their rooms, not kick each other as much….that’s already an incentive for a gift.
So, what if my kids don’t need anything!
In my opinion, not theirs to be fair, my kids don’t need anything.
I can guess my parents felt the same, yet something was always there for us.
Like I let my kids eat sweets, though I am aware it’s unhealthy, I am going to buy them something. Something they like, maybe they need, but most of all want. It might not be expensive, actually it certainly won’t be. I believe it’s little things that count and my kids, well, have to appreciate them.
And, no, I will not buy them experiences – that’s for their birthdays, when I convince them tickets to the theme park are way cooler than things.
Santa isn’t a jerk, I am not making him into a bloody philosopher, teaching them about meaning of memories, blah blah blah.
Santa is a guy who knows how it was to be a kid, when you wanted something bad and this was your chance to get it because parents just wouldn’t understand, right.
Gifts for us too.
To make it perfect, I am also going to get gifts for me and hubby. In the time after becoming an adult (I don’t think I am though) and before being a parent, I too, was like Christmas gifts are blah. I have everything I need. We are too old for that.
Then one Christmas morning few years back my kids turned their chubby faces to us with sever disappointment written all over: “Why didn’t you get gifts? Were you naughty?”
And they were right. Why didn’t we get anything? Hey, we were great that year. I do my best every year, top of the good list, I should get a present.
‘Remember,’ the tiny voice in me then teased: ‘how fun it was to unwrap a present on Christmas morning?’ And it was. I remembered.
Even though I don’t need anything, there are few things I’ve been wanting. I’ll head to the store and spoil myself. Last year I bought myself a beautiful blue ceramic cup I’ve been admiring for months. There was never a good enough reason to buy it, since we have tens of cups already. This one was special, Santa guessed it.
I wrapped it, I put my name on it, so there’s no mistake it’s mine. In the morning, I was like: ‘Santa rocks! This is just what I needed.’
I am already excited about this year, because Santa is considering a black handbag or a black cap or maybe a bottle of some fancy gin. My next paycheck will help him decide.
It’s still not about the gifts
Despite focusing on gifts. I love the background story more. Presents are just a happy end.
I am excited about spending time with kiddos. We’ll bake cookies for Santa, all of us huddled in our small kitchen, leaning over the counter, cutting into the dough. We’ll stuff on them too, but we’ll place a few by the window. For Santa. We’ll watch a Christmas movie. I’ll check the watch. Beat from the whole day, wondering when I’ll have time to do the gifts. I always wait for the last moment.
We’ll chase the kids to bed. Reluctantly they’ll go but won’t be able to fall asleep, just like I wasn’t.
We’ll threaten with Santa not coming. Eventually it will quiet down.
When I am sure they are finally down for the night, I’ll wrap all the gifts. I’ll curse, because I suck at it but Santa doesn’t do gift bags, he knows unwrapping – tearing the paper is half the fun. I’ll put them under the tree and rush to bed myself, wondering if I can pull off pretending to myself Santa did it.
In the morning when kids wake up earlier than usual and jump on our bed, because the first thing they’ll do is check under the tree, I am going to feign 2 things. Not minding less sleep and surprise at the presents. But I’ll be happy with bits of wrapping paper and chunks of laughter in the air.