Sunday, November 23, 2008

Scrooge

I am realizing more and more these days how much more fun the holidays are when you're a kid. Of course, this is an obvious thing...when you're a kid you have all the fun and none of the work. That's true of pretty much every aspect of life. But I am honestly getting tired of the holidays, which makes me kind of sad. It just feels like everything is rush, rush, rush and even when I'm trying to enjoy myself, my thinking revolves around work or money: how much is all this costing? What do I have to clean next? What needs to be organized? Cooked? Baked? Shopped for? Wrapped? Mailed? Where's the next place we have to be? Who have I forgotten? Do we even need this at all?

Case in point. When we just had Rachel, Christmas was wonderful because everything was new. Each stage she reached brought new fun, new toys she could master. But now that we have four children--we have every toy we could ever need. I walk through a toy store or page through a catalogue and think: we have that. Or we had it and it was lame. Or it has WAY too many pieces to clean up. Or that will break in ten minutes. Or it only does one thing and for what it costs, it isn't worth it. Or the kids won't want to clean that up in a week. Or we don't have room to store that....on and on and on! My kids have too many clothes. I rarely buy clothes because we have so many. I save Rachel's clothes to go down the line of girls, and my sister has given us so many clothes, both girls' and boys', that we could clothe the children of a developing nation without much of a problem. It is rare for me to have to buy my kids anything besides shoes, socks, tights and underwear--and the rare impulse purchase of something that is just too cute to ignore. We have more books than a library and more crafts supplies than we ever use. We have hundreds of movies and CDs, and we get movies now from Netflix anyway.

A month or so ago, I blew my stack when the kids had made their rooms total disaster areas and told them to forget about Christmas. I said that we weren't going to spend a thousand dollars on more things we don't need to have cluttering our home, things that nobody wanted to clean up anyway. They would be getting enough gifts from grandparents and Santa, and that our family Christmas gifts were just going to be shelved this year. We are going to do something as a family instead. Matt and I talked about going to a Broadway show--but frankly, for all of us to go we'd spend $500 easily, even on discounted tickets, and I just cannot justify that for three hours of fun! Plus it doesn't include anything like dinner out--the "rest of the day" in the city. I don't know what we are going to do, but I am not going to buy and wrap a mess of presents for under the tree that will just turn into a mess in the house a day later.

Scrooge? Yes. But I will be saner for it, so too bad!

--Jen

4 comments:

Anonymous Blogger said...

You know I love Christmas, but I do not love a few things that go with it. I hate cards. I hate toys with a million pieces (I laughed when I read that!) and when I shop, I look to see if it is going to make a mess. I hate buying gifts for people just because they buy for me; I want to buy for someone because I want to, not because I have to. And I hate wrapping. I would like to buy and just give and if that means they are taking it out of the Target bag I bought it in, so be it!

I still love the holidays for everything else: family, closeness, food, decorations, children's faces when they experience anything, anticipation, and giving. I know that is not a complete list, but it is what I can think of now.

:-)

MamaCole said...

I know what you mean about not wanting to buy gifts. I keep thinking we should be doing some kind of volunteering with our time/money this year.

But Santa keeps me going.

Only my youngest still believes any more and that makes me sad. This will probably be her last year too. I love the magic of Christmaas morning. and the quiet late moments of Christmas Eve when everyone is asleep and only the Christmas tree and mantle lights are on and all the beautiful packages are wrapped under the tree.

We have this tradition that if you leave your dolls or other toys under the tree, Santa will dress them and fix them up and at the least, tie pretty ribbons around them. I'm such a fool about the whole Santa and the tree thing, that I sit up til 3am most Christmas Eves either working, or just admiring what it looks like.

It really feels magical. I just wish I could be more creative with the gifts. Two of my kids have already provided me with their lists. Mostly electronic stuff at this point. Oh, and my middle child wants a puppy.

Sorry to hijack your blog. Looks like I need to post something over at mine.

Kelly said...

I know what you mean on a lot of levels and more!

Collin has about 1/3 to 1/4 of what it seems most kids have. I'd love to get rid of more, but just when I'm ready to get rid of the lincoln logs that haven't been played with for months, they get pulled and and played with.

He'll lose his legos as punishment and while he's disappointed, he happily goes on to play with something else.

He's way to easy going a kid. Last week I had had it. (result of toys, attitudes, school, many things) Every toy was put in the play room. EVERY TOY! (And that's when I really realized just how little we had compared to many of his friends!) I instituted a libary system. You earn a toy. Then you may 'check out' a toy. When you are done, or I say you're done, or you lose toy privlidges, or you just want to switch toys, you must turn in the first toy before you can get another.

I expected great drama and sorrow. I can't lock the playroom door, so I expected to keep finding him going in on his own. Instead I got "Okay Mommy" and not once has he gone in there without asking first. Great. While I'm happy I'm not having to fight him on this, at the same time, it was sort of supposed to be a HARDSHIP for him!

The other part that makes Christmas hard for us is, it just doesn't feel like Christmas. It's in the mid 70's here. There is no change of seasons. Plus if you see something you want at the BX, you buy it THEN, because it may not be there when you go back. So Christmas shopping starts very early.

And shopping here is limited. So you go online. And then worry it will get there in time.

And then there's the shipping. I had to have everything bought, wrapped and shipped out by today, or else everything would have to go Priority shipping or else would run a risk of not getting there.

It's November 24th. I had everything bought, wrapped and shipped before I even bought my stupid turkey for this week!

I think that's the biggest thing that makes it feel like a chore here. You have to do it so early, and run on other people's schedules. You can't even get into the season.

And don't even get me started on some of the things that go for toys sometimes!

Sorry. This got long. You know me!

Hopefully next year we'll be somewhere having a nice LONG white christmas instead of being here on this ISLAND! LOL!

Nan Patience said...

I think you're onto something here.