I recently read an article about how awful it is that Santa is having to lower the expectations of the kids who are visiting him this year as the economy continues to lay dormant. I wanted to smack the author right in the forehead. Gah, seriously? The article actually starts off with the line "Now this is just sad." and ends with the line "America will have a blue Christmas, indeed." [Click here to read it for yourself.]
Oh, PUH-LEASE!!! We've been living in an era of such extreme overindulgence! Is it really a bad thing for kids to "lower" their material expectations? Why do we give gifts at Christmas time anyway? For some it’s about celebrating the Christian Holy Day and the gifts of the Magi and all. For some it’s a special time to let family and friends know we care. For others it's a time to show off how much money we have to spend on THINGS... material THINGS!
What happened to the spirit of the holiday anyway? How much does a parent have to spend to "love" their kid enough? Love doesn't come from a store. Whatever happened to giving gifts from the heart? Some of my favorite things are those that people have taken the time to make for me: chocolate chip cookies baked by my mother-in-law, fun desserts created my neighbor like ding-dong cake, clay pinch pots made at school, the oven pad hand-stitched by my sister-in-law that I have on display rather than use for fear of staining it, the wreath crafted by my sister that I hang on my front door year after year, my cute snowman hand-knit by my daughter, the adorable miniature BBQ my son made a few years ago out of an altoid tin, nuts, bolts and other odds and ends. Those gifts are much more meaningful and memorable.
Though I relish no family struggling in these dire economic times, it is long overdue for all of us to re-evaluate our materialism and the reasons we give. I say 'Go Santa,' don't promise the kiddies everything they want, but rather what they need: love, happiness, and appreciation for family and friends, along with a reasonable dose of store bought treasures. I mean, even I have to admit I'd really "love" a Kindle ; ), but gift-giving should be meaningful, not a retail-driven competition.
When do you think it's too much?