Mommy Scrooge

It's less than a week until Christmas and all the chatter about what my parent friends have bought for their kids has been circling around my social network as well as at work.  Up until this year, Mason didn't really have preference over toys, sure there were ones he played with more than others but usually it was things he'd find around the house (kitchen gadgets and stuff he'd want to play with like screwdrivers, which I'd take away).  

Birthdays were easy, we had more control over the gift giving since family would spoil him.  But for me, I never wanted him to be focused on the gifts.  Birthdays were a celebration of birth and we'd have a fun playdate with all his little friends would be there.  It was an ordinary day really except complimented by a ton of stuff I organized (the venue, food, decorating, and of course the cake/cupcakes which I spent hours toiling over to ensure perfection).  3 out of 4 of Mason's birthdays were gift-less, meaning we asked for donations to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank in lieu of gifts.  That doesn't mean he went without, he received presents from his Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles etc.

With Mason having two separate households, he has 2 of everything including play things.  Combined, I'm sure there is enough for at least 8 kids, most of which, he doesn't play with!  His toy of choice is technology, mostly his Nexus Tablet (which he affectionately calls 'Tabby').  The odd duplo comes out and the themed lego sets are only set up by *me* and then he ignores them.  All these toys (new & used) adds up, so I'm left with..

Does he really need more?

I wasn't really planning on getting him anything big, I already knew what his Dad was buying him and then my Parents.  Not to mention that he's getting a HUGE present for his 5th birthday - a trip to Disneyland.  But guilt got to me and I ordered him a Magformer set which I know he is going to love.  

So fast forward to now and now the conversation is on stockings.  Stockings!? For years they have been hung but remained empty.  I think my parents stopped stuffing them when we moved out.  So that's over 18 years ago.  Okay so yes, I should fill one of those.  I purchased these little chocolate wafers covered in sprinkles, which he's going to love.  Umm what else? I have no idea what to fill it with.  Candy is out of the question because a) he's not too big into sweets and b) when he gets into them he's like a Tasmanian devil and then I regret the sugar overload and c) I usually nibble on them when he's at his Dad's.  I want to avoid the cheap plastic dollar store toys because I know he'll lose interest and again, a waste of money.

So then I have a conversation with Mom who clearly thinks I'm depriving my child of the Christmas morning experience of running to the tree to see boxes and boxes of gifts.  I remember back to the 80's when my Brother and I would rush downstairs, sans parents - dump out our stockings, review the goodies, fill the stocking back up, hang it and then run upstairs to wake our parents to ask if we could open our stockings.  Then we'd race downstairs again and pile 'our' presents in two ginormous piles (to compare of course).  As we got older, the pile got smaller and of course the rush to the tree was diminished by lazy teenaged hormones who would rather sleep til noon and then wake up.  As an Adult, I cherished the family time than the gifts.  Not to mention giving them, which made me way more happy than receiving.

So this is my last kid free night until 2014 and tonight is the night to go in search of a few extras for under the tree so my kid isn't traumatized by his cheapo Mommy.  I've even posted a request for ideas for toys & stocking stuffers from my Mommy Facebook groups in hopes that I can find quality gifts that aren't going to drain the savings I need for Disneyland.

I'm curious to know what my Internet parent friends think of this topic and whether they go 'all out' or are cutting back?



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