My husband and I are not buying our one year old a present this Christmas. It’s not because we don’t love him. It’s not because we think that gift giving is bad. We simply don’t need to.
He has enough. He is content.
Because he is so little, he most enjoys playing with plastic tupperware and cardboard books from the dollar store. I realize this is a luxury of toddlerhood that will not last much longer. One day soon he will want the coolest toy, but not today. Today, I will wrap up a book we already own and you know what? He will love it. When he tears through that wrapping paper, he will have all the joy of, well, a child on Christmas morning. He won’t know if it cost a million bucks or nothing at all, and he honestly won’t care.
As parents, we want to give our kids the best that life has to offer and at Christmas this gets translated into presents. We give the kids more presents than they know how to be grateful for. At first the toys are special and the kids are grateful. But then the tower begins. The toys start stacking one on top of the other in a grand tower of Christmas toys that looks eerily like a cross between the tower of Babel and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Since we love to see our children’s faces fill with joy but we also want them to appreciate it, how much is necessary before it becomes excess? At what point are the presents under the tree just extra wrapping paper to throw away that feed our tower as it looms ominously upward?
How tall does the tower really need to be?
When is enough, enough?
That’s a question that each family has to answer individually. I won’t pretend to know what the answer is for you.
For my family that means that this year we’ll do less, while our toddler is still content with Tupperware and dollar store books, in hopes that he will become someone who appreciates what he has instead of how much he can acquire.