Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not Even Halloween

And I'm already thinking about Christmas. Santa and her elves (hell, who am I kidding). Mrs. Santa, all by her lonesome, needs to get started on shopping for the holidays.

See, Buddy has had a rough couple of years. My mom passed away around Thanksgiving 2005 and his new sister was due in February 2006. We figured he needed someplace of his own in this house where he had enough fun things that he could find some privacy and time to himself while dealing with the newness of a newborn in the house.

Not that we were trying to get rid of him, but just giving him the space he might need if she was crying or he didn't feel like dealing with baby stuff.

That year, for Christmas, my mom had already bought him a GameCube, Santa threw in a TV, and we provided games and accessories. It was a good year for him.

Then, last year, the Wii was all the rage and he just had to have one. I found a bundled dealio on GameStop, paid more than I should have (but still got a bargain when I saw what others were paying) and that was another good year.

When Buddy was small, we started to enforce the rules of 2s. He could ask us for 2 things, my parents for 2 things and Santa for 2 things. He always gets assorted extras from aunts/uncles, family friends, etc. So, it's not like he's deprived. Plus, the older he gets, the more expensive his wish list is.

After my parents both passed away, we changed it to the 3s. Three things from us and three from Santa.

This child has never grumbled about his "limits". He thinks things over and carefully chooses the things he desires the most.

When I was a kid, the Christmas tree was packed with gifts all around. My brother and I would count our packages and gloat if one party had more than the other. And that was just stuff from family. We'd open all those gifts on Christmas Eve. Santa brought more gifts and left them by the tree, but unwrapped.

The Evil Twin grew up with different traditions, so we've had to compromise. He will not allow the opening of family gifts on Christmas Eve, but he does allow the Santa presents to arrive overnight, unwrapped, and mixed in with the other gifts. In his family, the Santa presents were wrapped, signed by Santa and were under the tree for days before Christmas. (WTF??? Santa only makes a run that one night, people!). Plus, he recognized his mom's handwriting.

I think my way makes more sense. Santa is far too busy to wrap every gift and also, that skirts the handwriting issue - even if it's a large family, the kids know which gifts are theirs.

So, here I sit, wondering what will be the BIG item this year? The hard-to-get-must-have for 10 year olds? For Sissy, we are still in the "the box is more fun" phase, so shopping for her will be easy.

Although, in this economy, shopping at all will be quite painful. And probably a bit more on the penny pinching side, even though I am frugal by nature and manage to save quite a bit of money over time.

The Evil Twin and I don't buy for each other and I only buy for my nieces on the Evil Twin's side of the family. We don't buy for my brother's kids (they've never bothered to acknowledge my children's birthdays or any other holiday, so welcome to that world! Plus, when we have sent gifts, they go unacknowledged and I'm sorry - but I'm a stickler for Thank You notes. Send a damn note or NO MORE GIFTS FOR YOU, tough titty!)

Do you all have any fun holiday traditions? What do your kids want this year? And, what WILL be the big item this year? Any thoughts?


  1. We started a tradition when Bonkers was two (she's eight now) of having a birthday cake for Jesus after Christmas Day breakfast. We light candles, sing "Happy Birthday", and the kids blow out the candles after making a special prayer. Helps them remember the real purpose of the day.

  2. We open one gift on Christmas Eve, and leave out fudge for Santa. The big thing both the boys want this year is Rock Band for the wii (which they got last year). I think I might have fun with that one, too.

  3. With no family around, the holidays are pretty somber now. We like to make a big dinner tho....have tons of leftovers for years. When the kids were small they could open one "family given" gift one the Eve....then we went to midnight mass, left out goodies for Santa and they were up at 6!

  4. I do the present exchanges with friends and my sister then it's like any other day.

  5. I incorporate as much white trash into my holiday as I possibly can. I decorate the tree with motorcycles, yellow cats, various sci-fi characters and top it with my cross-dressing Mardi Gras yellow angel kitty. We get to open one present on New Year's Eve. And I long wistfully for the day when BuzzardMama will give me her Rudolph made of wooden salad forks, wearing a poncho and sombrero. Someday that baby will be mine all mine!

  6. We also opened gifts on Christmas morning, and had our (unwrapped) Santa stuff too. We'd have to make do with the Santa stuff for a while though, because the rule was (and still is!) that no gifts are opened until AFTER breakfast. The anticipation is a killer! But, one year we talked my parents into switching it up and letting us do breakfast AFTER gifts, and guess what? It was a letdown. The tradition, however "painful" it was, means more than anything.

  7. Lauren - Buddy goes to Catholic school, but we also try to talk about the "reason for the season" at home.

    Ginger - I keep trying to talk Buddy into Guitar Hero, but he's just not that into it. Rock Band looks fun, too!

    Rosemary - that's pretty much our MO these days too. Make a big meal and eat like pigs.

    Ron - same here, the only difference being we are opening/putting together toys with parts all day.

    BB - Sounds festive! Would that be Rudolpho el nariz rojo reindeer? (I don't know the spanish word for reindeer off the top of my head).

    Laura - I am far too hungover to make Christmas breakfast. LOL. After presents and pictures, I might rustle something up in the kitchen, like bacon & eggs.

  8. Open stockings before breakfast, then a big brefass, then the prezzies.

    Santa brings1, unwrapped, whopper of a 'must have' gift - sometimes as a combo for the Things if it's a real biggun. Everything else is from family, is wrapped, and has a gift tag on it that has some hint of what's inside.

    Christmas turns out to last a long time ath the Tiny House. Sometimes spiked eggnog breaks are in order at around noon. :)

  9. We have always 'chosen' names, and got a gift for that family member, and that family member only. With 5 kids growing up, and NOW our spouses and at least 10 nieces/nephews - it's a system that we can all appreciate!

  10. Jeez, I knew I liked you - we so think alike! I'm totally the same way about nieces and nephews - say thank you or write thank you or no more presents!
    Now, on the tradition front, Mr Wonderful also does not allow Christmas Eve opening, but expects everything to be wrapped, signed from Santa and set out for Christmas morning. Who do you think does all of this?? Yup. Momma. I love doing it actually even though it is a lot of work. I am planning to shop less too - it gets crazy after a while anyway.

  11. Used to be open presents Christmas morning...possibly 1 the night before, then breakfast. Since my daughter is older now that tradition has changed. She opens presents Christmas Eve at her Mother's house, then goes with her Mother for Christmas breakfast, then to my house in the early afternoon which means we don't get done with presents til 3:00 or so...then Christmas dinner....then bed ;);)

    And yes....I'm very big on 'Thank you' notes.

  12. About the time we got 9 grandchildren, the family came up with the idea of drawing names for the adults. Since the youngest is almost 9 now, I give gift cards so they can get whatever they want - which is usually video game stuff. We open all gifts here on Christmas Eve, and have our big dinner, then everyone goes home to wait for Santa in their own homes. Works for me.

  13. Tiff - stockings are usually an afterthought here, but always a fun one.

    Gigi - we used to do that with the Evil Twin's side of the family. Now, we just buy for the kids on whatever side (adults don't exhange gifts).

    Momma - that's why we went with limits. It can get out of hand very quickly!

    Efen - I enjoy the extended celebration aspect. :-)

    Kenju - That's a good way for adult children and grandchildren. We always did our own Christmas morning thing here, then went to my parents for the grandkid (Buddy was the only one) later and also had dinner at their house. Made for a nice, not so hectic day.

  14. I'm with you. There isn't a "must have" this year that they don't already have. My oldest is 12 and he's been mowing lawns and raking leaves and weed eating for a handfull of families so what does he do? He goes out and buys himself whatever his heart desires!
    I swear, he's got more jingle in his pocket at any given time than I ever do.
    I may get him the BIG lego technics set. The one that you have to program on the computer? I think it makes a robot or some such nonsense. He'd like that and I suppose it's educational. It's like $300 large tho!
    My younger son (9) is ok with anything lego. It's going to be a very blocky Christmas here.
    I tried to talk the inlaws into NO gifts this year but they were appalled. I'm just over it. It's not yet Halloween and I've already got a stitch in my stomach from the pressure.

  15. We have (now) 7 grandkiddies which will be ages 4 months to 9 years by Christmas time. I have no clue! Bob always goes for those baby einstein things and all the learning toys. I prefer things that make them use their imaginations so when they come over here we don't constantly have to come up with things "to do", lol! I'm like, give 'em a little boat and a shovel, let 'em dig a trench in the back yard and fill it with water for the weekend ;D Or we go to the park w/a sandpail and a minnow bucket ;p

  16. OMG OMG OMG!!! I couldn't even finish reading the whole post before I ran to comment. My family has the EXACT same tradition. And yes, it makes WAY more sense than everything else. Santa always brought the BIG gift in our family, and we always had piles and piles of presents as well.

    I can't believe I found someone else with the exact same Christmas tradition as me! I love the way our family does it and we do it that way w/ BF and Daughter, but my aunt had to make the same compromise w/ her hubby and she's my only family around here. Her kids are too old for Santa now anyways.

    Sorry I didn't finish reading the whole post. I feel like I should have just sent an email or something haha...I like the rule of 2/3 though. At what age did you implement that? It may be too late to go back w/ Haley now. But still, it's a great idea.

  17. Oh and good question on what will be the BIG GIFT this year...last year I caved and bought the Nintendo DS. I don't have anything in mid for this xmas so far...And sorry if everything I said wasn't clear in the first comment. I was excited. :)

  18. Crystal - Buddy has looked at that for several years running, but always wants something else expensive... maybe this year? I'll look into it. Thanks for reminding me!

    Carolyn - We had lots of the Leap Pad stuff for Buddy and it was always too loud for my liking. I think we'll stick with quieter, imaginative play things for Sissy.

    Vinomom - we started the limits on gifts when Buddy was about 4, I think. My parents always went WAY overboard on him. So, we reigned it in and really, he doesn't complain. He (and Sissy) get gifts from my aunts/uncles/cousins, from their aunt and uncle, from the godparents, etc. They get plenty!