Well, the crazy of Christmas is over at our house. My husband and son are parked on the floor surrounded by 1,253,295 Legos. My daughter is queuing up some A-Team DVDs she asked for and settling down on the couch with some adult coloring books and new colored pencils.
Looking back, I really did cut back from the usual crazy. However, I overheard my daughter say to my parents tonight that Santa went crazy. I agree. I haven’t quite killed my penchant for clearance deals, so each of my kids ended up with nine Santa presents each. I had no idea I purchased (and hid) so much. It was eye-opening. I realized I need to stop buying all year long for Christmas. I need to stick to a plan of a certain number of gifts and not let myself deviate from it even if it means I don’t get a really good buy on it. What I think is a really cool gift never usually makes it on my kids’ wish lists anyhow. I even had to put a few extra toys back for 2017 birthdays because I felt it was all too much.
But not quite like this:
This mother has taken Christmas gifting to a whole new level. There are certain implications (fire hazard aside) to what this pile of stuff does to parents, children, homes, and the environment. I believe I read that she said some of the presents were school supplies she would have bought her kids anyway. I think that’s a great idea (along with pajamas, underwear, and socks), but a backpack and locker can only hold so much.
From a purely visual standpoint, the volume of this mountain of gifts is overwhelming. Let’s say that 50% is packaging, so that amount goes straight to the landfill. I can’t imagine how many extra bags of trash will sit on the curb at this house because it doesn’t fit in the can. The other 50% is gifts divided among three children. That pile goes straight to their rooms as a mini French Alps they will have to organize and store…or leave in the middle of the floor. The children get a haul like this every Christmas, so storage space is probably a hot commodity at this house.
Finally, how many gifts can a child truly play with? There are 100 gifts for each of her children in that pile. If her children spend 20 minutes on each gift, that comes to 33.3 hours total needed to play with each toy. She could play with each toy approximately three days a year and never see it again if she wanted to play with everything. That’s not how kids work though. If there is too much to play with, they are going to forget about what they have and just play with the top ten or 20 favorites. We humans just don’t multitask that well, kids included.
I think retailers and advertisers have done a great job of inundating our homes with the thought of more is better. However, I’ve been pleased to see a few articles around the internet this Christmas season entitled things like “The best Christmas gift this year: nothing” and “Why I’m not getting my 3 year-old anything for Christmas.” I think people are fighting back against commercialism. After all, that’s not what Christmas is about to me.
To me, Christmas is about the birth of a Savior, Jesus Christ. We emulate the giving of gifts from the wise men to Jesus’ family as well as the greatest gift that God has given mankind. I think the stack of gifts in the picture above would make Jesus throw up in his mouth a little. Indulgence is not what Christmas is about. It’s not even about the presents. It’s more about presence: of your family, of yourself, of your humility, of your selflessness, and definitely not about your pocketbook. Blessings to you and yours. Merry Christmas.