I will admit, I am a sucker around the holidays. I love the lights, the shopping and the magic of it all. The fires crackling and the excitement building as each day ticks off.
Just last night my kids spent the evening writing their letters to Santa. Curled up in front of the fire, pen in hand, concentrating on what was truly their most important desire.
We are Santa fans, as many are, and encourage our kids to give the big fellow some suggestions of items that they truly want. A few choice options.
I look at Santa as the guy who delivers the dream… not the necessity, and so we allow some creativity as they write.
After they had been tucked into bed I showed my husband the lists and we went through the realistic options (no, we can’t actually make it snow) and my husband got stuck on the cost of the items.
He was trying to make it “fair” between the kids. If our eldest wanted an expensive item, then the littlest should get one too… even if that wasn’t what was most important to him.
Our 3 kids had lists that ranged from a plastic ball for the hamster ($7.99) to live birds (aack) and mac laptops (hilarious) There were remote cars (apx $80) and “Dr.Who pillow case” (very reasonable, but hard to get in time for xmas)
Their requests ranged in price from less than 10$ to far above and beyond any realistic amount. Lists that made it impossible to “balance” the budget.
But to me, giving is rarely about the cost, but always about the VALUE.
The value to the receiver and to the giver.
Not all of the things that mean the most to us COST a lot. Often times our “hearts desire” is small and seemingly insignificant.. but so very important.
And how petty of us to hold these wishes up against each other as a number on a paper? How may that diminish they “value” of the item that our kids have.
Our son has brought up getting a hamster ball multiple times a day. He lies in bed and WISHES for it so hard that his face scrunches up. This is his DREAM.
Who are we to say that it isn’t enough?
So, we worked through the list and we tossed away the price tags and looked more at who our kids were, and what would mean the most (damn you live bird) and we made our choices.
The holidays are about giving gifts that matter, gifts that last and hold their value. Gifts that make them feel the magic of the holidays.
Our kids are not greedy, nor petty. They understand the value of a $, and work hard to save their own money through chores. But once a year, they believe they get to take the pressure of their wants off of their parents shoulders, and send a wish out to a big guy in a red suit. Once a year they get to ask for what they REALLY want, and not worry too much about the realities of the request.
And once a year, we get to give them their wish… well, try to anyway. (ahem, mac laptop HA)
So you can imagine our house on Christmas morning with a hamster rolling around in a plastic ball and a bird tweeting from the mantle place. Total chaos, and happiness, without price tags attached, value to the receiver being the only thing that matters.
And magic everywhere.