Christmas ‘stuff’

Christmas morning memories… What do yours looks like?

I remember waking up, full of excitement and anticipation, truly feeling and believing in the magic of Christmas. I remember my siblings and I gathering together in the hallway, anxiously knocking on our parent’s door, asking if we could ‘wake up’. My parents were always such good sports, never telling us to go back to bed or that we needed to wait a little longer. I remember my dad always turning on Christmas music before we could start sorting and opening gifts. I remember my mom filling the kitchen with the most wonderful smells of homemade biscuits and gravy. I remember playing games and spending time together as a family. I remember laughing and smiling and doing all things happy. These are my Christmas memories.  

You know what I have no memories of? The gifts.

Sure, I remember there always being plenty of shiny wrapped presents under the tree, but what were those gifts I so eagerly opened? I cannot recall. I imagine there were dresses and dolls, Barbies and beanie babies, and plenty of games and crafts… but those details are not part of my memories.

Tonight, I’m writing about gifts because it’s the week before Christmas and I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit, ‘making my list and checking it twice’. I’ve thought through all the details of ensuring the same dollar amount has been spent on each child as well as that each child has the same number of gifts. As a parent and one of ‘Santa’s special helpers’, it’s important to me that my children feel the love and magic on Christmas morning and wake up with reassurance that they’ve earned a solid spot on Santa’s ‘nice list’.

With that said… let’s talk a little more about the ‘stuff’.

Kids want so much stuff. Today, it’s a hard to find magic set. Yesterday, it was an oversized stuffed animal. Last week, it was a simple ballerina Barbie. It’s ever-changing and it’s exhausting. Can we all just agree that kids have no idea what they want and whatever it is they think they want; it will be replaced with something different tomorrow. When we first received the Target toy catalog in the mail, my kids literally circled almost every single toy shown. Their response to, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ was based entirely off of the colorful ads, loud commercials, and targeted advertisements they had seen or heard that day. Their list for Santa was fueled by the novelty of something new and different rather than genuine wants or needs. This was not for lack of appreciation or gratitude, but simply the human nature of a child.

Do you find yourself stressing about your child’s Christmas list? Do you worry whether your children will feel the magic on Christmas morning? I’m guilty of both of those things but I’m also here to gracefully remind you (and my inner self) that tangible gifts are not what creates lasting Christmas memories.

Let go of the Christmas stress. Give yourself permission to feel confident in the presents wrapped under the tree. The kids are going to be happy. I’m sure you’ve done good. In fact, all that stress you’re feeling related to perfecting your Christmas shopping will likely go unnoticed on Christmas morning.

Your children already have everything they need. Their memories of Christmas will be those that can’t be bought. They won’t remember the fancy toys but they will remember the moments. The silly, imperfect, happy moments. All that other ‘stuff’ is just extra.  

Merry Christmas, dear friends, to you and your families!


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