Christmas Pig


You might think that I am  jubilantly dancing a happy dance over how well I have brainwashed my children. But I am not.

I have kids who don’t really whine about wanting “things.” They do not covet designer labels and high priced luxury goods. They feel bad asking for stuff. They have more than most kids and are pretty happy with what they already have. They really don’t need anything.

So, how am I supposed to create a good Christmas Morning Experience this year? Getting socks and underwear for Christmas is all well and good, as long as there are other presents to open. I mean, really.

My problem is that I don’t want to spend money just to spend money. We really do not need more things cluttering up our space and we have limited resources. I try to be selective about how much extra stuff we have and how we spend time. This makes gift-giving a little difficult.  My kids might think that going on trips and doing activities as a family is fun tolerable, but these things would not feel like a good present to them (because going on a trip is usually something I want to do!). Since they are used to getting what they need, things like new shoes or clothes do not feel like special presents.

And buying a heifer for someone in a third-world country is all well and good, and maybe we will actually do that this year, but it is really not very fun on Christmas morning. For us, at least. I know it is completely selfish and ridiculous that this is a big problem for me, but I know my kids will be sad if there are not at least a few things to open on Christmas morning.

My kids are not spoiled or over-indulged and I don’t want them to become that way. The problem is that they are kids who still love the magic of Christmas and I don’t want that feeling to dissolve into adult reality any sooner than it has to.

Don’t berate me, please, I already feel lousy. I know this is a screwed up problem to be worried about. I know that being stressed about creating a happy Christmas Morning Experience for my kids is gross when so many people have so little. I feel like a Christmas pig. Do you have the same issues? I would welcome any and all thoughts about how you deal with this.

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  1. Nonnie83 says:

    I’m a little late on this, but I just found your site…
    My kids are older than yours, I think, but I am in somewhat the same situation. My kids don’t NEED anything, and my daughter didn’t really express any wants this year, surprisingly. We did get both kids some things that we knew they would like (a few books for each of them, a nice sweater for my daughter, etc.), but for my daughter at least, Christmas traditions are more important. It was very important to her that:
    – she get her (treasured!) santa ornament. (Every year (since birth!) my sister has sent my daughter a santa ornament and my son a stocking ornament. Every year. We all look forward to this inexpensive tradition.)
    -we watched our traditional Christmas movies on Christmas Eve (The Santa Clause, and now that they’re older, Die Hard)
    -we have our traditional Christmas Eve dinner (Chinese food at our favorite local place)
    -that we have scratch lottery tickets in our stockings
    – etc.

    Yes there were lots of things under the tree for her, though most of them not expensive. My son got something (expensive) that he really wanted, but he’s so low maintenance that he didn’t get much else. And you know what? They both seemed happy.

    1. annie kip says:

      Thanks for the ideas. I try to think about this stuff all year so I am ready when Christmas rolls around again. This doesn’t mean I am on top of everything, but I do like gathering ideas. Glad to hear yours!

  2. Kris says:

    Why does everything have to be either/or? I don’t think it’s inconsistent to give to those less fortunate as well as enjoy opening something completely fun on Christmas morning. Even baby Jesus received gifts.

  3. Ingrid says:

    How about giving them what they really want as you can afford it. It is the one time a year they know they can hope for something big AND buy presents for the kids at the orphanage in Boston. Yes they still have orphanages. They have a list of what each on of those kids covets on Christmas morning too and have your kids decide what to get him/her and deliver it so they directly see the joy they bring to another person.

    That being said it doesn’t address the world of conspicuous consumption. However maybe you can be plenty perfect about this. There is a difference of giving a few coveted gifts a year even and being a pig all year. It sounds like your kids already have the values you want them to have but Xmas is for kids and stores and we are all in that consumer brainwashing train.

    1. Elyse says:

      Books, Concert tickets (wrapped in a big box, of course)…movie passes (so they can go with their friends. We are big on “experiences” rather than things

      1. annie kip says:

        Yes!!!! Those are great ideas!!! I love the idea of experiences rather than things!!! thank you!!!

    2. annie kip says:

      One of the problems is that they don’t really want anything. They are struggling to come up with lists! This morning on our walk, you suggested a “Christmas Letter” to each of them and that really resonated with me. A very special letter, telling each of them what is special about them would give the same feeling as a gift that was super thoughtful. They want to feel loved and special when they open a gift that shows that – so a wrapped letter would be a good way to do that! thanks!

      1. Ingrid says:

        Also is there an experience ritual you can do Xmas morning. You all bake together and eat pie for breakfast. Annual homemade icecream that you do every Xmas marni g followed by a game of poker
        Crank calls to us Jews saying ha ha you don’t celebrate Xmas! Okay not that one
        As a Jewish person Xmas day is clear. Movies and Chinese dinner out
        75 percent of the Jews I know do that. It is an experience we do together.

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