Pants and Sweaters

The other day, I pulled a couple of requests off the Angel Tree at the little guy’s preschool. I figured we could take a picturesque excursion to the toy aisle at Target and pick out the perfect toys as a family, complete with to-go cups of hot chocolate. So when I read pants and sweaters as the desired gifts, my self-serving charitable Starbucks-sponsored thoughts were replaced with an ache in my stomach as I thought of the number children bracing for another winter without enough pants or sweaters – so few that their Angel Tree wish bypassed toys for simple articles of clothing. A Christmas of necessities.

Our children (nor ourselves) do not want for necessities. In fact, Clay and I have joked in the past that we weren’t allowed to give necessities as birthday and Christmas gifts to each other. Which, quite frankly, is a disgusting sentiment and I am embarrassed to have thought that way at one time. As I look around our too big house that is filled with too many things, I can’t help but feel that I am doing my children a disservice. They will be receiving even more toys this holiday season, toys that they may want but toys they certainly don’t need.

And while I don’t want to rob our children of the excitement associated with receiving toys from Santa and extended family on Christmas morning, it is important to me that Christmas morning is not a free-for-all. I have no desire to see my children unwrap a gift, glance at it, and then toss it aside in favor of another wrapped gift. I grew up in a family that took turns opening gifts on Christmas morning – of all my family Christmas traditions, this one is dearest to my heart. I absolutely loved seeing a gift that I painstakingly picked-out or made be opened by my parents and siblings. And I hope my children will experience the same joy as they grow older.

grinch redemption

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” – How The Grinch Stole Christmas

This year we vow to do things a little different. Less of a spotlight on what they want for Christmas, fewer toys, and more focus on non-commercialilzed aspects of the holiday. And do so while keeping in mind that pants and sweaters can indeed be the most cherished gifts of all.

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4 thoughts on “Pants and Sweaters

  1. My work family usually adopts a couple of families but this year we have senior citizens wishes on our giving tree. So instead of toys, I bought a crock pot and twin sheets. It was sad to see all the gas card and Wal-Mart gift card wishes on the tree. We try to give memories and experiences rather than things – concert and theatre tickets, movie theater packages, excursions. Your dad (and Deb and i) were raised with 3 presents from Santa, a couple more from our parents a a few more from grandparents and extended family and probably half were clothes and we never felt deprived BUT we didn’t have the T.V force feeding us toys from October on either!
    Aunt Sue

    1. Your aunt Sue said what I thought as reading your blog. I actually stopped the gift exchange with Dannys sisters because they didn’t understand the concept of a gift list. They bought everything on the list even if it meant they spent thier bill money on a list. I was literally disgusted by the sheer overload of wrapped “stuff” under the tree!
      As to necessities, I do remember your grandma Garchow receiving jeans and sweatshirts from your grandpa for Christmas because buying necessities for them was low on the budget. I decided early in my marriage that true necessities i.e. underware and socks were not acceptable gifts!!!!

  2. This year we are doing three gifts. I have been guilty of over buying past Christmases, and like you say the kids rip open one gift after another and are really don’t appreciative of any of it but just getting to the next one. So in an effort to wrangle in the madness this year each kid is getting three gifts. If three gifts was good enough for baby Jesus, then it’s good certainly enough for ours.

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