Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Season of Giving

Just got home from my niece’s birthday party. This was her family party, just one of the several affairs we manage to work into what used to be a single event occasion. With the holiday season upon us (I put a serious dent into my Christmas shopping last night. Yeah, I know you’re supposed to wait till “Black Friday”, but Kohl’s was having a seriously good sale, I had a coupon I could use on top of the sale AND they were open till midnight! That’s my kind of shopping!) the whole excess of our celebrations has started. I have to admit I have very mixed feeling about it. Part of me loves it; watching the kids open all the gifts, the room so full of gifts you can even walk through and I certainly can’t complain about the fact when I’m the recipient of much of that excess. However, we’re doing our best to really outdo ourselves this year.
My niece turned 8 this month, but we started the celebration in October. My mom took my niece to the American Girl place in LA for her birthday gift. This was when I was in Miami so they took DD1 with them (my SIL went as well). They flew to American Girl Place in LA for the day. Yeah, they FLEW down for the DAY. It sounds like it was a very, very cool day, DD1 is still talking about it. But man has the bar been set high.
For G'ma, not me. I am making it very clear that I do not pony up airline tickets as gifts (unless of course it's for me, but I digress...)
At the beginning of November my brother’s family went on a Disney cruise. It wasn’t for S’s birthday, but since it’s her birthday this month, they celebrated it profusely. (I would’ve done the same BTW. Seriously, can you ever get enough free cake?) Since they’ve been home she’s had a kids party, a small birthday celebration on the actual date of her birth and tonight was the family party. Whew! I'm kinda tired just writing it all down.
Yup, the family O’Speak is not about doing things small.
And so here we go; the Holiday season….
Part of me wants to put a nix on the excess. I don’t want my kids to get greedy and end up being all about the gifts, not about the giving. We’re planning on doing many of the things that will help them to learn about how lucky they are; we’re participating in things like the giving tree and food drives. I talk to the oldest one all the time about how lucky we are to live where and how we do. Not sure she really gets it, but I'm trying to help her understand that we have been very, very blessed.
We go to church and DD1 is in classes, so they’re getting some exposure to the meaning behind Christmas. But when you’re 4, lets face it, it’s about getting stuff. At 4, Baby Jesus is cool and all, but kinda hard to be the Fat Man who leaves you shiny gifts. And that's ok, that's how it's supposed to be when you're 4, right?

Honestly, I’m a big part of the problem; I’m the one purchasing most of the gifts. I get so much joy from the excitement of the day and watching their anticipation. I’m excited for the excitement of Christmas Eve and listening to little girls sneaking down the stairs to see if they can catch a glimpse of a flying sleigh or maybe even a reindeer. When I think of that, when I remember waking up at 4 AM and sneaking out to see if Santa had made it to our house; yes, I would get up and not be able to see anything because it was so dark, but be able to tell that stockings had been stuffed and so would go back to bed knowing I’d missed him, but he’d made it again; when I think of that…then I can’t help myself. Because giving them that type of joy and being allow to be part of it, I just don’t have words to express my excitement.