As we get deeper into the holiday season, it seems like we’re reaching deeper into our pockets. Actually, it doesn’t SEEM that way, it IS that way. Sure, the season is about giving and we all want to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones but it’s time we take a step back. Especially when it comes to our children.
From a young age we want to spoil our little ones. Give them the best. The newest. The greatest. But why? I mean, do babies even understand what they are getting? No. The answer is no. Yet we feel the need to buy them an abundance of gifts and fill their little stockings with goodies galore. And as they grow, it only gets crazier.
As toddlers they start to see us going crazy buying presents for friends, family, teachers, neighbors, the mailman, etc. The list goes on! And so this is normal to them now. Christmas = presents. But, it shouldn’t. In fact, recently I was explaining the idea of giving and how important it is to my 5-year old. We pulled names off a Christmas tree at our local YMCA, and we went out and bought other children gifts. It felt great. It’s what we should be doing. But then as I talked to her after the fact and reiterated “Christmas is for giving”, she looked at me and said, “Then what are you giving me?”. She wasn’t smug. Or fresh. She has grown up the last 5 years receiving Christmas gifts from us, and many other people and that is what she is/was expecting. She probably assumed that because we purchased other children gifts, maybe she wasn’t getting any. Oh the horror!
So this year, we’re doing things a little different.
This year, Christmas is going to be about giving an experience.
Instead of piling a bunch of gifts under the tree, we have decided to give our girls the gift of an experience they’ll hopefully never forget. We’re taking them to New York City. They have heard of this magical place. And seen photos. And movies. But they have absolutely no idea what they are in for.
To us, the ability to give them an experience will provide them with a lifetime of memories. Their first time in one of the most incredible places on earth is so much better than any toy, or game. They will see the Rockefeller Christmas tree lit up and looking magical. They will experience walking through the bustling streets. The windows at Macy’s, Henri Bendel & Bergdorf Goodman. They will taste real New York Pizza and bagels. These are things my husband has never even experienced.
To give a child an experience is meaningful and beneficial in so many ways and is much longer lasting than an object that will lose their interest in a day or two. Giving a memory is invaluable. And it doesn’t have to be a big trip. There are so many special experiences you can give – a road trip, camping, a movie, the museum, tickets to a play. The possibilities are endless and each one is special and worthy of making amazing memories!
The part I am most looking forward to, is watching them. Watching their eyes and wondering what their little brains are thinking and how they are feeling.
Now, of course they will get a few things to unwrap because that is fun too. But there will be few.
So before you go out and buy your baby an abundance of toys and gear, and your older children toys that they will quickly lose interest in, think about an experience. You’re helping to build and shape your kids. And you’re making everlasting memories that you will all cherish for a lifetime. And that is the best possible gift you can gift.
NYC – here we come!
Xoxo – Magnolia Mom