Every year my parents give me money with which to purchase presents for the kids for Christmas. As I was wrapping a few this morning, I was happy for my kids knowing that these items were things they had asked for and really wanted. As I was making the tags to identify Grandma and Grandpa as the giver of the gift, I realized that I had yielded the title of "Giver of Awesome Toys or Other Frivolous Entertainment" to them, making them much cooler than Bill and I in my children's eyes.
"Thanks for the socks, Mom. It will be lovely to have warm toes. Grandpa, you ROCK! How did you ever guess I wanted a talking Princess Celestia? I LOVE her; she will be my BFF forever!!! I heart you, Grandpa!"
Of course, grandparents should be cooler than parents. And since Christmas is brought to us through their generosity (and the generosity of my in-laws who also select wonderful presents), I guess the myth is not too far from the reality.
BTW, I have seen so many posts about avoiding materialism during this season. About giving time, not toys. About giving handmade things or useful things. About not spending so much time shopping or stressing about "stuff." I concur with all these things, for the most part.
But at the same time...
I spend all day with my kids. All day, every day. Much of it is even fun and recreational. I can't give any more time.
We've nailed the handmade and useful categories. We're all about minimizing the useless belongings, because we have to move those items every few years. And I am the first one to pull out the fabric stash to make something we want or need, instead of shopping for it.
And we don't generally buy the kids "stuff" throughout the year. Birthdays and Christmas, that's usually it. New books? We go to the library. Fashionable slouchy boots? Um, no. New jersey of your favorite football team? Christmas is the one time of year that my kids can ask for "stuff" and have their requests seriously considered.
So, avoid consumerism if that's your vice. But for me, this is the one time a year that I let myself dream. And I'm pretty sure that our family of 9 will still spend less on Christmas than many families half our size.