Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Present Less is More

Yesterday I experienced momentary panic. 'LilDude, like most young kids, woke me first thing in the morning wanting to open presents. As you might recall, last year we started a new tradition of exchanging names with a $20 spending limit per person. Everyone from the grandparents down to the youngest ('LilDude) only receive $20 worth of gifts for Christmas. That's it. So, like many parents, I started out Christmas with worry... Will this be enough to make my child happy? Will he like his gifts? Will his Christmas be memorable?

We ate breakfast and waited for the rest of the extended family to arrive. As soon as everyone gathered, 'LilDude began. BigSis drew his name and did an amazing job. She filled a giant stocking with all kinds of goodies. Individually wrapped (!!!!) lollypops and packages of gum. She'd creatively "recycled" some items that her secret dorm sister had given her this fall: bubbles, bouncy ball kit. She'd passed on her quarter collection book that 'LilDude has been aching to have. And she'd made a couple of very careful purchases: a Lego kit and a dinosaur drawing set. Everything was individually wrapped, which made for a lot of unwrapping fun. Even then, it took 'LilDude less than 5 minutes to unwrap his presents. Then he had a fabulous time watching everyone else open their gifts; he was VERY excited to watch "his person," Anakin, open his gift. But the emphasis wasn't on kids. Nobody was given more importance than anyone else, present-wise. Everyone enjoyed watching the others open. When it was over, 'LilDude put his Lego set together and has played with it and his dinosaur drawing kit ever since.

When he was done unwrapping, I could see the relief on his face. Calm, happy satisfaction. It was ENOUGH. He didn't need dozens of presents. Expensive presents. More presents than anyone else. He was happy with a little. A little went a very, very long way.

During the day, the emphasis was on family...playing games, eating, walking and playing in the snow. The day was all about people rather than being all about stuff. Thinking of the baby in the manger, that seems appropriate.

At bedtime when I asked 'LilDude if he'd had a good day, he nodded an emphatic yes. "I loved my presents," was one comment. Less was definitely more.

I'll try to remember not to worry next year. ;)

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