Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spoils Of Christmas

Scenes from Christmas Day
We had a fantastic (first) Christmas.  We spent it at my parents' home  and it was filled with family, friends, food, gifts, and joy.  This is the first year that Leo is really understanding things and watching his anticipation build for Christmas day was awesome.

The darkest days of winter calendar certainly helped draw out the excitement and he was really looking forward to seeing the whole family and to giving the gifts we'd worked on over the last few months.  As for receiving gifts, of course he was thrilled - but it was a bit of overload for him.  I thought we were doing a good job of not overdoing the gifts, but it did get away from us a bit - add to that the gifts from other family members and it was a little overwhelming.

I'd like to find a way to limit gifts for future holidays. Not because I don't think he can handle it, or I feel I need to protect him so much as because I really want to preserve his level of excitement over just one or two gifts.  I think it's wonderful and precious that he was so overjoyed by the simplest gift - to the point that he didn't want to open another.

All our gifts ready
to go to Pittsburgh
(this is for EVERYONE,
not just the kids)
The trick is we (jb and I - and I imagine this is true for the rest of the family) LOVE to give him things. I want to buy/make/get him EVERYTHING.  I love seeing him absorbed in a new toy or activity knowing I made it possible.  The giving is as much for us as it is for him.  So perhaps we need to commit to stick to just a couple gifts from us and asking the same of family members.  We are also considering breaking up the opening of the gifts throughout the day and moving our stockings to our January Christmas celebration so that it's not all in one giant chunk.

Can you spot the difference
 between these two pictures?
I like the "One thing you want, one thing you need, one thing you wear, one thing you read" rule - so perhaps we can use that as a general guide.  I also think our attempt to give joint gifts was a success.  Obviously Zoe is too small to have anything with small parts (which is something Leo is just starting to get into) and she isn't that demanding in the sharing department just yet - but I hope we set a precedent with trying to keep in mind gifts they could share.  This year the joint gift was a box of musical instruments and we've already had a few family band jam sessions.

The train set

Even now as I take inventory - it is certainly a lot.  We are VERY lucky.  Still, it also doesn't seem excessive.  The gifts that were the biggest hit with Leo were all second hand.  A train set that a friend's son no longer used, a giant stuffed bunny from my mother's friend whose children are grown, and a set of Mr. Potato Head pieces cobbled together from thrift store finds by my father who lovingly collected, cleaned and packaged them in a plastic storage box.

He also got some great clothes, some art supplies and a couple wooden puzzles - all fantastic and really wholesome gifts.  Plus, we got our Please Touch and Zoo memberships renewed - which is something we will all enjoy all year long.  I LOVE activity/memory-making/learning gifts - and there were no shortage of those.

Potato Head Jackpot
Zoe also got a few toys (including a ball which was one of Leo's first Christmas gifts as well), clothes, and of course some cloth diapers.  Though, just like Leo at her age, she was most happy about the wrapping paper that everything came in.

The sleepiest reindeer flying
through the night sky
Now jb has returned to Philly and I'm staying with my family here in Pittsburgh until jb returns for our second Christmas celebration in January.  I hate being apart from jb, but love that the kids get this time with our families.  Leo has been engrossed in all his new toys and there have been plenty of arms waiting to hold Zoe - which means that I've been able to play with my big Christmas present as well!  I'm currently writing this post on my brand spanking new MacBook Air - and I'm LOVING it.  I have a bit of an Apple computer newbie learning curve, but I'm really enjoying figuring out all the cool things it can do and how much faster, easier, more portable it is compared to my dying clunker of a machine.  So, I suppose, the upside of being spoiled at Christmas is that I think (hope) the time until jb returns to us will fly by with these shiny new distractions.

How do you keep from going into present overload during the holidays?

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, well we don't have kids yet but I do hae a cherished 5 year old god-daughter who spends every Xmas with us. She gets pretty spoilt as everyone gives her something usually. This year my family did home made and second hand gifts so my dad and I renovated an old trunk for her and I op shopped (thrift shops) for dress up things. It was wildly successful. Apart from that I gave her some books i had brought second hand and a soap my wife made for her. My dad also made her a puppet theatre out of a child's bed head and mum sewed the curtains and op shopped for puppets. So both toys were very entertaining for all and will remain here as she already has a bedroom full of toys.
    For my 7 month old niece I made a taggie hedgehog which she loved and a CD of a story I wrote for her, about her and their 'pet' eel. I plan to wrote a story for each of the future kids to have. It came out really well and I need to work out how to post it in my blog. Check out my posts on the 23 & 24th of Dec to see photos etc.