Thursday, December 20, 2012
Around here, people will say things like, "I have to wait for my check before I can buy Christmas," or "We aren't even going to be able to buy Christmas this year." Well. I'm not even a theist, but I know one thing - Christmas is not about the gifts. A patient was telling me that her middle schooler presented her with a list that included an iPhone, an iPad, a laptop and a big screen television. She was agonizing because this kid still believed in Santa (or claimed to, anyway), and she didn't want to spoil the magic. However, they are behind on their mortgage and other bills. In my gentle, indirect way I said, "I think it's high time you introduced your daughter to reality."
I buy my kids Christmas gifts, of course, but not extravagant ones. I have a small budget for gifts and I wouldn't even consider going into debt for them. They told me this week that their favorite thing was the stockings I fill. And trust me, there's nothing expensive in them. Our focus is on the time we get to spend together during the holidays. My sons were telling me that they have classmates who routinely get pricey electronics and large amounts of cash ($1000 sometimes!) from their parents at Christmas. I said, "Wow. Well, I'm afraid that's just not possible for me." My older son replied, "Yeah, but their parents aren't paying for them to go to college." I thought back to my patient who was inclined to cave into the demands of her child and yet would not be able to send her children to college. Buy Christmas? Not in this house.
(A song composed of angry tweets from disappointed kids last Christmas.)