Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Life Lessons

It's official! The Holidays are upon us and they're in full swing. It's the time of year to think about those less fortunate than you, to give to others and to look within yourself at how fortunate you may be in your life. That is... unless you're five.

If you're five, it's the time of year that you keep thinking of what you're going to get and how you have to be good all the time so that Santa will bring you everything you've been wishing for all year. You start compiling lists, feverishly watching commercials and thumbing through the Toys R Us catalog with a fervor that should be reserved for learning how to read. "Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! What am I going to GET?" you think daily, hourly, each minute of the day.

It's hard not to blame kids for feeling this way when every other commercial on TV is for some new toy that everyone is touting as The Toy of the Christmas Season (Zhu Zhu Pet anyone?) People are asking you if you wrote your letter to Santa yet, if you've been a good boy this year and each morning your parents are encouraging you to look for your Elf on a Shelf who will of course, go back to Santa and tell him whether or not you've been good enough to deserve all these presents you think you want.

The Son is no exception to all this Christmas hoopla. I try not to be the parent who buys him something every time we go to the store and he's usually very good about understanding when he can't get something, but recently, we had a little "issue" at the store when he found out he couldn't buy a toy and we were buying some toys for "less fortunate" children. I've explained to The Son that Santa brings presents, but so do Mommy and Daddy and if the Mommy and Daddy don't have a lot of money to buy things the kids need (like clothing, socks and underwear) then Santa has to bring them that kind of stuff and they don't get the cool toys that kids like him get. I know, it's probably a lame explanation but it's hard to explain why Santa is so generous to some kids and not to others...) We're running in a "Jingle Bell Trot" race tonight and the entry fee is an unwrapped toy that will go to a foster child who might not otherwise get much for Christmas. I wanted The Son to pick out the toy that he would give as his entry fee and that's why we were there. We discussed what we were doing and he was told he could pick whatever he wanted, and that I was going to pick a "girl" toy for my entry fee, something that I would have liked to receive as a child. It was all going well until...

...he saw a Bakugan toy that he's been coveting for a long time.

He decided he would get this particular toy for his entry fee gift BUT since there were two packs of the same toys, he would get one for himself as well. I explained (over and over) that he was not going to buy himself a toy, that we were there to buy a toy for someone else. He got teary, he got dramatic, he really didn't understand why he couldn't get the toy as well. He sulked, he moped, he got quite irritating. I explained myself again and again, to be honest, I almost gave in because it's nice to be told, "You're the best mom ever!" and to have a happy and thrilled child for only $10.99 but I stuck to my guns and did not allow him to buy the toy. I picked up the new "Frog Prince" princess doll for my gift (Boy, is she cute) and we headed to the register as The Son continued to sulk and mope and irritate.

He was teary as we left the store and as I buckled him into his car seat and I had finally reached my limit. I explained to him one final time that Mommy and Daddy have money to buy him toys and that he has PLENTY of toys and Bakugan at home but that Mommy and Daddy don't have endless supplies of money and this time, the money we have is being used to buy a toy for somebody else, somebody who is really going to love the Bakugan he picked out and how special he is going to make someone feel on Christmas morning. He stopped moping and I thought he finally understood...

This morning, we were talking about Friday evening when he gets to go to his school's Christmas Shop where he can shop for presents for his family and have them wrapped there. We discussed all the people he has to buy for and he was excited, mentioning that he had a lot of gifts to buy and then... he asked if could buy a present for himself. Uh oh... here we go again...

Fortunately, The Husband is taking him to the Christmas Shop tomorrow night. I'd better warn him and tell him to ready himself for some well-practiced and excellent manipulation. It's hard being a parent and raising a thoughtful, giving little person but we're trying and we'll keep on trying. I think he'll continue to grow and understand, especially as he sees how happy the gifts he gives make people and as he experiences the run tonight where everyone is there to support the same cause.

I've decided that that's what I'll ask Santa for this year, a caring and sweet, giving boy... I've been a good girl all year and that's not too much to ask for, is it? Happy holidays!


Cathy said...

I am so glad you stuck to your guns. Gotta do it!
Lily was trying to pick out something for herself at the Secret Santa shop as well but I stuck to my guns too. It is a good life lesson. :)

Darlene said...

It is definitely hard at his age, to understand the "giving" aspect. He will though, eventually. I think Lexi is FINALLY starting to understand that concept and she is 10!! I'm glad you did stick to your guns and not let him get that toy.

gnome517 said...

it IS HARD!!!!! :) good for you :) you are the best mom ever!!!!