My Christmas Dilemma

For about 3 months now we have been asking Cameron "What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?"  The only thing (I mean the absolute only thing) that he wants for Christmas is a Transformer.  Yup, that's right.  A Transformer.

When Cameron was about 18 months I realized that he had a lot of stuff; quite a few toys that lit up and made noise.  His birthday is on New Year's Eve, so it was almost unavoidable.  I realized then that if we continued on the path we were on in respect to gifts for our son, our house would look like that kid's room in the movie "The Toy". So, I started on a mission to rid our home of loud plastic toys and fill our home with quality wooden "heirloom" toys that inspired a little more creativity.

So, not everyone was on board with my mission.  It was a struggle to say the least.  It still is, to some extent.  I have not quite figured out how to respectfully request that the gifts he receives from family and friends fall within my "guidelines" for toys.  I think I have come to the conclusion, finally, that I cannot "respectfully" request this.  In fact, I can finally admit that the only way it sounds when you tell relatives what they can or cannot get your children for Christmas is rude.  I know that it has caused some family members a great deal of stress around the holidays, so if I ever sounded rude about my requests, I sincerely apologize. 

The problem is not the gift givers, it is me.  I like quiet toys.  When we had loud toys, I can't say it really bothered me, but it was just something that I thought I had to deal with.  Now that my home does not have these loud toys, I am used to the quiet.  I also do not like clutter.  Again, my issue, not the gift givers.  I think, though, that I can respectfully request that the givers choose quality over quantity, because this is a value I really want to instill in my children and I do not want my house to turn into a toy store!

I'm going to go a little off topic right now, but I promise to return to the point of this whole post shortly.  My husband is Clark Griswald.  He absolutely loves Christmas.  He is giddy about the Christmas tree, the lights, the music, the presents...everything!  Even a mention of getting a small tree this year sent him into a panic that turned into a fight between the two of us.  (Don't worry, we made up!)  Every Christmas he puts out these singing snowmen.  I think we have 8 of them.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  The ones that Halmark put out every year and you could buy them for $14.99 with the purchase of two greeting cards.  These are all gifts from relatives.  They are also very loud, especially when a certain two and-a-half year old gathers them all together on the living room floor and presses all the buttons at the same time.  This is annoying to me.  It's my one bah-humbug moment.  But my husband, and the children, love these darn things.  I'm telling you (as I have told my close friends) if I even mentioned getting rid of these to my husband he would react like I asked him to cut off a limb.

So, I concede.  I concede for the happiness of my home and for the happiness of my husband.  This brings me to my Christmas dilemma.  Cameron wants a Transformer for Christmas.  My kids do not watch commercial television.  Cameron does go to school and we have been to the video store and toy stores.  He's very aware that these "cool" things are out there.  Kelly McCaleb over at My Happy Little Life expresses the dilemma much more eloquently than I ever could.  She actually helped me sort this dilemma out by reading her most recent blog post.  I agree with all of her reasons for deciding to buy her daughter the Barbie Dream Townhouse.  In considering the purchase of "Optimus Prime" for Cameron, I thought a lot of the same things.  Cameron is not spoiled.  When we go to a toy store we can "just look" and leave without a tantrum.  Cameron is giving and caring.  Yesterday we put together a large pile of toys to give to needy children.  Olivia was in on the action too.  Cameron really appreciates the things that I make for him.

How could I possibly deny the one thing that my child really really really wants.  While I think it is important to teach my children life lessons, to instill good values and help them appreciate what they have, I also can set aside my convictions for one day so that I may see pure bliss in Cameron's eyes on Christmas morning.  This will make me so very happy.  Yes, the Transformer will outshine and overshadow all the handmade goodness he will also be receiving, but it is really OK with me.  No, he does not need a Transformer to make his day magical, and yes, he would survive if he didn't get one, but I really want to get him the one thing that he really wants!

Do I wish that he didn't want a Transformer?  Yes, absolutely!  But I cannot change the fact that he does.  Nor can I tell him that I don't like the gift he wants.  Yes, I want Cameron to believe in fantasy and play using his imagination, but I don't want him to live in a fantasy that I create by telling him that these toys are "bad" or worse, pretending they don't exist.

I am so glad that Kelly had this dilemma.  I certainly do not need affirmation from others (especially people I don't know) that I am doing a good job.  I don't need it, but it certainly helped me come to terms with my decision.  And, who are we kidding, we all like affirmation, don't we?

1 comment:

  1. Well said Amanda. I really want to see that real twinkle of excitement in my childrens eyes too and they LOVE balloons so I have decided to fill the entire living room with red, green and white balloons on Christmas Eve. It may be tacky but we can afford it and I know it will make them so excited and we can start a new tradition.
    Have a Merry Christmas!!


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