Y’all. There are two things that always come up around the holidays that really rub me the wrong way. I’m just going to throw them out there.
(1) When people put antlers and Rudolph noses on their cars like they’re dressing them up as a reindeer. I just don’t see what the point of that is. I think it’s dumb. It’s a car. Your car is not a reindeer. To each their own, but I just think it looks stupid.
But number two really gets me going. So much so that I had to write a blog post about it. I realize I may not hold the popular opinion when it comes to my stance on this, and this post may come across as crass, pretentious, heartless, or whatever. But it is what it is.
(2) The Facebook status that reminds parents not to make the expensive toys come from Santa because some kids’ parents can’t afford Christmas.
Every year, without fail, I stumble upon a status on Facebook like this one that has gone viral.
I feel for the children who are in less fortunate situations than mine are. It makes me sad to think about parents that can’t afford to buy their children Christmas gifts. I do have a heart, I promise. I wish everyone could afford nice things, but that’s just not realistic. And I’m not going to let it bother me because I have too much else going on to think about what other parents are getting their kids for Christmas.
I do not think that it’s okay for anyone to dictate what parents can do for their kids. My dad has worked tirelessly at a job that he hates for over forty years to provide a wonderful lifestyle for my mom, my sisters, and me. Santa spoiled the heck out of us every year for Christmas, and I have wonderful childhood memories of running down the stairs on Christmas mornings to grab the stockings first. Then we’d eat pancakes and watch a Christmas movie before scampering to the living room where our Santa presents would be waiting for us underneath the Christmas tree. These are some of my fondest memories. I am so thankful for my parents and the sacrifices they made to make sure our childhood was special. I love them for that. And I want to do the same for my kids. Believing in Santa is magical.
My husband and I both came from well-to-do households, and we know how lucky we are. We know how sheltered we were growing up in our little private school world. The other day, we were talking about how many different CEO’s we know. We get it. We were the silver-spoon kids. That definitely gives us a leg up in the world, whether we want to admit it or not. I understand that.
But my husband has worked his butt off to get to where he is today. Studying hard in college to make his grades. Giving up golf (total first world problems, I know) to put more time into preparing for the MCAT. Which he would end up taking more than once before scoring high enough to get into medical school. Then he did it. He got into medical school. And he did exceptionally well there, graduating with honors, acing his board exams, and landing the residency of his choice. Now he works as an intern– a first-year medical resident in internal medicine. Long hours. That in itself is a noble feat. But did I mention he’s also married with two kids and a baby on the way? Because he is. He’s a family man. He’s a superstar parent, and he somehow manages to deal with a crazy wife and two toddler boys– one of which has cancer– all with a smile on his face.
My point is, he works hard. I work hard. Life is hard. And if I want Santa to bring my kids fancy toys, then that’s what Santa’s going to be putting under our tree. Except for the fact that we don’t even get to have a Christmas tree this year. Do you want to know why? Because we will be spending this Christmas in the hospital while our two-year-old recovers from high-dose chemo and a stem cell transplant. But this year, and every year going forward, Matt and I (with Santa’s help) will be spoiling the hell out of our kids. If they both get ATV’s and a trampoline next year, then that’s just going to make for a lot of family fun and two happy little boys on Christmas morning.
I’m not going to skimp on Christmas for my kids just because not everyone else has the same opportunities as we do. If I spent all of my time worrying about how to please everyone, then I would drive myself crazy (or crazier than I already am). You can worry about your family, and I will worry about mine. My family is my responsibility, and your family is your responsibility.
Side note: I will work hard to make sure that my kids appreciate the gifts they receive. They will grow up learning how to serve those less fortunate. Just like I did. We will teach them the value of a dollar, and that hard work pays off. My kids will not be entitled to anything, and they will grow up respecting everyone as equals. Whether these lessons come through doing service hours and volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens or just by traveling and seeing the world outside of our privileged little bubble– they will be reinforced in our household.
Unfortunately, kids today are growing up with access to social media. So everyone knows everyone’s business. When I was growing up, the only way you knew what someone else got for Christmas is if you asked the kid. Now, we see pictures of gifts splattered up on Instagram and Facebook. I’m totally guilty of this. I enjoy having pictures of everything– memories I can hold onto so they don’t get lost in the chaos that is life. That’s the problem. People didn’t used to compare gifts the way they do now. Even if it’s unintentional, you still do it. We all do.
But stop comparing yourself to other people. There will always be someone out there who has it better than you do. Someone’s always going to be richer, prettier, smarter, more involved, etc. than you. That’s life. Teach your kids the real meaning of Christmas. Giving. If you can give an extravagant gift, then do it. If you can give a pair of socks, then do it. The point is that you GIVE something. Be a good person. Be a good friend. Showing people that you care about them is the most important thing you can do. Just care. Just love. That’s what Santa is.
And don’t spend your hard-earned money buying antlers for your car. Your car is not a reindeer. It’s okay. It’s just a car. Go decorate a Christmas tree or something.