Thursday Open Thread

How are you today?

Do you feel like your kids get too much stuff for Christmas? I was stewing in some liberal guilt over this until I read this article. I also saw some facebook posts long the lines of “Only 10 more Santa gifts to wrap!” Wowza. Our kids each received two gifts from Santa, and a few more practical ones from us. My family, bless their hearts (and I mean that sincerely!), tend to give my kids clothes. So while I am still figuring out where to put all this stuff, I think it could have been much worse.

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!

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37 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. I HATE the phrase liberal guilt. I refuse to feel guilty about things I bought my child with money I earned by working at my gloriously underpaid nonprofit career.. if that makes me sound like a republican then so be it ..but liberal guilt is right up there “gender neutral toys” in phrases that make me bananas. Just as a girl can have Barbie’s dream house explode in her room and still grow up to be a feminist.. so too can kids get a bunch of stuff for christmas and grow up to be charitable good decent folks who are not at all spoiled.. it’s all in how you raise ‘em folks….

    damn right I got liza a ton of stuff.. other than the laptop and some books it was pretty much all clothes and makeup and I? Had. a . BALL buying them and watching her face when she opened them… she knows the value of things and knows that the splurges she got from stores i usually can’t afford came courtesy of momma getting up at 5am on Black Friday..;- ) Do I spoil her? of course. Does she act spoiled..? not for a second.

    • Yup, exactly. I’m absolutely in love with the looks on their faces when they opened their gifts. H’s was wicked expensive, (Lego Mindstorm robotics kit) but he knows what it cost because he’d been saving for it and has been so incredibly grateful. M’s favorite gift was a $15 Nutcracker. She nearly cried when she opened it. They also gave their own gifts- some that they made, some that they pulled from their own things and gave away. They were as excited to give those as to open the ones they got.

      Like Katie says- it’s how you raise ‘em.

    • I like your perspective, you near Republican, you. I do think it takes the fun out of the whole thing if we feel guilty about what we buy. It’s nice to give gifts and to see them appreciated. Nothing wrong with that.

      On the “too much stuff” front, though, I say yes for my kids. Not because I have liberal guilt about it, but because we’re bursting at the seams in our tiny house and I don’t know where to put all the STUFF. I’d like to do a big purge of stuff we don’t use that much this week, but alas, we’re heading out of town tomorrow morning and don’t have time. Boo.

      Also because I’m not sure my kids truly appreciate each item as they might if there were fewer presents (obv really just talking about the 6 year old here, the baby doesn’t get it yet). But I will say that I’ve always been worried that Lucy would be a stinker about gifts she didn’t like, not getting what she wanted, etc, and she never has. We talk about it ahead of time, but she’s never once thrown a fit or been rude about a present as I know many kids do. THAT I am really grateful about.

    • I’m with you. My kids have some ridiculous, over-the-top Christmases. I do it by hoarding those Target $5 gift cards that you can get with certain purchases during the year and some very targeted Black Friday and cyber shopping. Santa also shows up and leaves presents at Nana’s which they open later on Christmas Day (after our naps) and they get presents from the extended family on Christmas Eve at Wigilia with my family and then we open the presents that Daddy’s family sends that night so they don’t get mixed up with Santa Claus. It’s a lot and it’s just today that I feel I’ve reclaimed the house from boxes and their contents being dumped. But we do it and I don’t feel sorry at all. We also enjoy our little traditions during Advent including putting up the tree, baking and decorating and we’ve made a point of sharing as we go along. So no guilt here.

  2. It snowed! It really snowed! After last winter’s total lack of snowfall I was starting to think that climate change had robbed us of snow forever, but I woke up to 8 inches of snow and it’s still coming down. The kids are outside romping with the dog, I slept in and let DH deal with the shoveling, and we’re going to have coco now. It’s really winter!!!

  3. I bought my kids some stuff this year because we wouldn’t be attending the crappy toy orgy that is my in laws gathering. My mil, God love her, has so many grandkids and insists on buying them all a lot if stuff she cant afford. I hate it and we’ve discussed it but she wont stop. unfortunately its mostly stuff that’s too young for them, or stuffed animals. there is no stopping it so we just say thank you and feel guilty about all the money she spent.

    My mom wanted me to bring some stuff here to round out their haul, but I shouldn’t have. My parents got them sooo much. And good stuff, too…educational stuff I wanted for them and they actually love. And bitty baby accessories for their dolls. Oh we’ll, it’s done, but usually I don’t buy them a thing since they get so much from both sides of the family. They really don’t notice at this age who got then what. They think its all from Santa. For the same reason, I don’t get them anything for their birthdays but I do spend a lot on over the top parties. It’s my thing.

      • Yes! I’m still reliving the glory if having the fire truck come to our house this summer for Ds’s party! Dd wants a princess party in feb. you bet it’s going to be over the top with tulle and glitter abounding!

    • I also hate clutter. And my kids like making art more than playing with toys. The combination of excess and wastefulness results in a perfect storm of first world grumpiness for me.

      • Oh I get that totally. My back bedroom is a storage locker for art supplies and art work that I have to deal with at some point. I’m thinking that may be one of our projects this week, actually.

        • I tend to archive old artwork by photographing/scanning it, and only save the actual paper of the very bestest ones. You probably already thought of that…

          • We just get behind on the photographing- M is quite prodigious in her art making. DH is actually taking pics right now. M and I spent about 90 minutes sorting out the four-foot high stack of papers. It will all disappear after the kids are in bed, except for a few that we save in each kid’s keepsake box.

      • I make an Amazon wish list for my daughter (you can also just leave notes there, like “she wears size X and her favorite color is Y” or “she needs rain boots”) and thus we usually get stuff she likes and things we can use. She loves to bake fancy things so I’ve asked for colored baking sprinkles and food coloring and other consumable supplies that add up quickly if I’m buying. I wouldn’t hesitate to put other art supplies on it too.

        A couple of days before xmas she begged for a bottle of Gatorade (we were inclined not with a house already full of sugar), and finally said, “You can buy it for me for xmas!” Her dad and I laughed and we came to a family agreement that we would buy it and wrap it for her.

        I happened to have an enormously long and oddly shaped box lying around, and wrapped it in that. She spent all those days trying to guess where her gatorade was, and never guessed that one. :-)

        • That’s a great idea. Unfortunately mil doesn’t know how to shop online and she’s a shopaholic. She was slowing down a bit for a while there and just gave me cash one year which was great. But since she retired and got her knee done and got a mobility scooter, she’s back at it. She loves the shopping experience. So does my sil who is single, so if mil doesn’t get the stuff she sends sil.

      • The issue of cluttered artwork too precious to throw away is why I’m enjoying DD’s foray into food-as-art. No matter how beautiful the decorated cookies are, they manage to disappear quite nicely. :-)

  4. We probably spoiled our monkey a little but overall it was fairly reasonable. And a goodly amount of it is stuff she “needs” or at least will use a lot (bath stuff, crayons, toothpaste).

    • I was watching a video of one of the Christmases when the kids were tiny. M got rice cereal, bibs and sippy cups in her stocking. H got a toothbrush and pull ups.

      Wish I could get away with that now. “Merry Christmas. Here’s a can of Spaghettios.”

      • Hee. Stormy got a bunch of new pacifiers because he’s outgrown the newborn ones, and a Sophie the giraffe, and a gift that’s really for his parents’ amusement–a onesie that says “MADE WITH LOVE … AND SCIENCE.” And none of it got wrapped–if I was going to have to unwrap it, why would I wrap it in the first place?

        The grandparents also managed to not go nuts, to my surprise.

      • Second girl presents are kind of hard to figure out, as we have so many things to hand down from Lucy. And Clara is so little that she doesn’t want or expect anything. We totally could give her a few spoons and she’d be happy. But Lucy is very aware of what little sis is getting, so Clara’s presents have a lot to do with maintaining Lucy’s belief in Santa. It seems kind of silly, but also kind of fun.

    • I actually got smart this year! FIRST, I put my foot down about a “no technology” rule for this Christmas anyway. Hubby wanted wiiU but I refused – we have EVERY OTHER gaming system known to mankind, it’s ridiculous. I kayboshed a new TV too. And NOTHING with a stupid “vtech” in the name, kids break those on day 1.

      Then, I got smart and requested cooking stuff for my kids who adores cooking stuff. AS IN, actual cute things so she can help me in the kitchen. I can’t do all this allergy-free cooking alone, lol! Other than that, it was crafts and stuffed and book toys, 2 dolls anda reasonable amount. And a bike for Amelia, ’cause it’s time, and to balance, a camera for Zoe, because she loves picture-taking. Plus a few freebies because I’m a product blogger, and we are DONE. Took me 10 minutes to unpack toys, sweet.

    • I actually got smart this year! FIRST, I put my foot down about a “no technology” rule for this Christmas anyway. Hubby wanted wiiU but I refused – we have EVERY OTHER gaming system known to mankind, it’s ridiculous. I kayboshed a new TV too. And NOTHING with a stupid “vtech” in the name, kids break those on day 1.

      Then, I got smart and requested cooking stuff for my kids who adores cooking stuff. AS IN, actual cute things so she can help me in the kitchen. I can’t do all this allergy-free cooking alone, lol! Other than that, it was crafts and stuffed and book toys, 2 dolls anda reasonable amount. And a bike for Amelia, ’cause it’s time, and to balance, a camera for Zoe, because she loves picture-taking. Plus a few freebies because I’m a product blogger, and we are DONE. Took me 10 minutes to unpack toys, sweet.

  5. We definitely have fewer gifts now that the kids don’t want toys any more. DS1 wanted “Beats” headphones which were his big gift (apparently these are the reason Dr. Dre was the highest paid musician in the US this year), and then he got a couple of smaller things including clothing. DS2 got some video games and some books. My dad doesn’t do gifts any more, but my mother and DH’s parents gave them a few things. It was fine, a decent amount but not overwhelming. We don’t have a huge house either so I’m glad we are pretty much done with the loads of stuff phase since I don’t know where else we could put it. Maybe this weekend I will do some clearing out of their things they have outgrown, come to think of it.

    • My DS1 also wanted Beats, but those didn’t happen. His big gift was a kindle paperwhite, which was my idea, not his. But it’s good for when he’s up reading at all hours.

  6. My kids were happy with what they got which made me happy. We pretty much do one pretty nice present from us and one from Santa. (even though they don’t believe they sure don’t want to stop getting stuff from him) Pablo’s (11) favorite was the long board from Santa which he was thrilled with. Aida (14) got a cool nail polish set and a couple of gift cards.

    I don’t have liberal guilt, but like many have expressed I so struggle with clutter. My new small apartment is so nice and not full of stuff. I love the feel of it now. I desperately want to keep it that way – we will see how that goes. :-)

    • I always struggle with guilt. I can’t help but think of the so many children who go without, while we’re swimming in stuff. We donate new toys each year and try to teach our kids gratitude and compassion.

      When DD stops believing in Santa, I plan to take her to the post office, pick out a few letters to Santa each year, and make Christmas special for those children. And when DS figures out the Santa jig, he will join us too. I read a story about the post office program last year that had me in tears.

      And I SO hear you about the clutter!

      • there are many children without anything and we all try in ways that we can to provide — I do the toy cleanout, clothes cleanout, pick a name off the giving tree too — but I’m not going to feel guilty that I can give liza what I give her..

  7. I had 2 moments when I thought about too much stuff. After we put everything under the tree and Christmas morn after they rippec through everything and said “is there more?” But then they settled down and played with their gifts very nicely. And then we went to their cousins’ house which was like an explosion of toys so I felt that we did pretty well. Both my parents and inlaws were children of the depression/WW2 so I definately have the whole too many toys mantra running around in my head. And they do have alot but if I do say so they are really creative in their play . And I don’ t hang on to stuff if they don’t play with it. I pack it up and give it away.

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