As much as we try to encourage an appreciation of other things, it is hard to completely avoid any devotion to the altar of consumerism, at least at Christmas. Regardless of my lofty goals, our child found plenty of time to do this:
No, she isn’t sleeping under the tree. She is carefully studying each package, trying to conjure up images of the potential gifts that are have hidden within the pretty paper. Of course, it is only to be expected from a four-year old. Who could fault her for bursting with anticipation to open all those gifts? Certainly not me.
Oh wait! Almost missed a chance to mention this great skill that comes with delayed gratification during gift worship: Patience was definitely a practiced skill for every member of the household during that last week before Christmas. The child practiced not opening or ‘accidentally’ tearing any of the paper, and we parents practiced by breathing deeply each of the 6,182 times that she asked when she would be able to open them.
She didn’t just study the gifts. Before any presents arrived, she spent many hours studying and appreciating every single ornament placed on the tree and every decoration in the house. That was super sweet to watch. She was an active participant in decorating the tree and (perhaps more importantly) in today’s project of carefully storing and putting everything away. This is only her second year to decorate a tree and I think that next year, she will have a fairly clear recollection of the process and be even more excited about the whole thing. There were definitely good lessons involved in that process, such as: how to take care of fragile things, how to pack and store special things so we can keep them for a long time, how to associate certain items with special memories of places and people.
Before she woke up on Christmas morning, even more gifts had arrived:
It was a lovely sight (even for a wannabe minimalist, such as myself). Seeing and helping her unwrap all of those gifts was certainly entertaining and maybe even downright fun (we tried really hard not to rush her, so it only took about FOUR HOURS, in between meals, coffee, bathroom breaks and let’s play with it/read it NOW). And I sincerely appreciate all the things sent by family and friends, and the time and money spent to provide those things. (THANK YOU, EVERYONE!!!)
Still….I must admit that I am already crafting a plan to have fewer gifts under next year’s tree. Seriously, 20+ presents is a little too much for any child.
OK, now you know I am a total grinch. You can wallow in sorrow for the deprivation my child will experience about a year from now. Or you can throw me a bone and share any creative ideas you have about not completely indulging your already privileged child during gift-giving holidays (please comment below!). I’ll happily consider our options and reveal our plan in about 10 months.