The “Wow!” Factor.
That’s what my kids have experienced on Christmas morning. In our family, we don’t put any gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve, after the kids are in bed. This helps make it seem like so much more, rather than the gradual accumulation as things are wrapped. The “Santa” gift is something big and unwrapped. This also helps with “Wow!” as they first come downstairs. The stocking is also from Santa, but everything else is from me or whoever else.
This will be K’s 6th Christmas, and only B’s second (though she is almost 4). B is still too young and inexperienced with the holiday to notice a reduction in the loot, but K is. Last year most of the gifts they got didn’t even get put away until February (we have 2 winter birthdays too!), so this year I am making a conscious effort to reduce “stuff”. Unfortunately, the kids are too young to appreciate anything else. I’d much rather take a trip or spend our money on a museum membership or something else where we could make memories together, but that’s not so exciting to unwrap.
Adding to this, there are three sets of grandparents and my ex (who only has a relationship with K) asking me for gift ideas. This annoys me on at least two levels. First, coming up with ideas of what to buy is, to me, the hard part of gift giving. So I resent when others ask me to do this hard work for them. We’re talking 5-6 different sets of people here! And asking for money for their college fund falls on deaf ears, with the exception of my mother, who does make that her big gift (and she’s quite generous with it too — too bad the kids don’t appreciate this yet either). And if you don’t know them well enough to come up with your own ideas….
So how do you manage to control the volume of “stuff” with young children? And how do you handle when others as you for gift ideas?