I'm having a hard time getting pumped up for Christmas shopping for the kids (yes, we are already thinking of this at our house) when a lot of their toys are still wrapped in garbage bags from this summer's lice infestation. They haven't missed them at all.
It's disheartening to have so much junk that you need to get rid of some before bringing more in. I feel bad about it, but we grant Jake's gift requests much more willingly than Molly's because he wants things like Legos. Okay, he just wants Legos. Tom was a big Lego guy when he was little, so we have the nostalgia factor going on. I don't like the outrageous prices, considering he already has thousands of pieces, but the plus for me is that they store neatly in nice plastic tubs. I like order.
Molly's requests usually cost 1/10th the amount of Jake's, but they just don't have the same appeal to us. She is as happy playing with a piece of yarn, a roll of scotch tape and a tube of lip gloss as a $50 toy. This leads to good, creative play that is a cheaper, but exponentially messier than Jake's. It kind of makes me just want to buy her a pack of pipe cleaners and a cool temp glue gun and set her loose with them.
She is not a hoarder, but she could be described as a collector. Chaff and grain are thrown together in various piles around her very small pink bedroom. Clothes mingle with stuffed animals, schoolwork, and Ranger Rick magazines. Sometimes I go in and throw away little slips of paper and various treasures when she's off at school, but I feel like a jerk doing so. Why is a plastic Lego precious, but not a scribbled song lyric by a future Rock and Roll star?
If she asked for one high quality item (read: American Girl doll) rather than a dozen little plastic items (Littlest Pet Shop animals again!) it'd be easier to comply. But the American Girl dolls have been in lice quarantine since September and have not been missed. Now I'm afraid she's going to ask for MORE stuffed animals to bring into the fold.
When the kids were younger we got them each three gifts: one book, one toy, and one board game. We got this number from the gifts the 3 Wise Men brought baby Jesus. I am not sure when we stopped doing this, but it wasn't because the kids asked for more. As parents, we would just see one more cute thing and want to buy it-- another book, a calendar, a toy car. Before we knew it, our 3 gift limit was shot. Last year I had a whole stocking full of thrift shop goodies that were simply overflow presents.
When I was little, we seldom got anything on our lists. I now know that's probably because I asked for crap and my mom was crap-averse. I'd like to post a Christmas list I found in which I asked for a Shrunken Head Kit that could turn an ordinary apple into a delightful shrunken head. Hmmm. I usually moped around on Christmas thinking I'd gotten the shaft once again. Calling my neighbors, the Joneses, never helped matters. Keeping up with them, as I'm sure you could guess, proved almost impossible.
Oh well, I have 2 1/2 months to ponder these things. The economy could answer some of these questions for me, or at least motivate us to re-institute the 3 gift tradition.