Can Kids Get Winter Holiday Burnout, Too?
Submitted by Erin
My son's birthday is two days after Christmas. Horrible, huh? I really hate that he has all of his big celebrations for the year all wrapped up in one 48-hour span. Still, on top of all the winter holiday stress, I still go all out for his birthday. Last year, I baked three dozen chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, wrapped piles of presents in Happy Birthday wrapping paper (so he'd know the difference from his Christmas presents), and tore the Christmas tree and all the decorations down on the 26th just so he would know that his birthday was his day.
I read that Reese Witherspoon
only gives her two kids, Ava and Deacon, two gifts each for Christmas. Two measly gifts! That's crazy talk! I would think that Reese, like a lot of celebrity moms, would be the buy-the-whole-store kind of girl. On top of that, Reese Witherspoon is a Southern gal like me. And one thing we belles have going for us is that we know how to celebrate—and do it in style. Here in Texas, we don't do anything small.
Just as I was about to dismiss Reese as some sort of extreme minimalist and Southern traitor, I thought back to my son's second birthday last year.
After one glance at the monstrous pile of gifts, he turned to me and said, "Mommy, no more presents. Can I go play outside?"
That's right: He didn't open a single gift. Toy trucks, books, DVDs and puzzles went unopened so he could run out and kick around his soccer ball.
Imagine that: a 2-year-old with holiday burnout
! That's to be expected of a frazzled 30-year-old mom who's spent the entire month of December shopping, gifting, crafting and baking. But when holiday burnout hits a 2-year-old, maybe that's a sign.
So this year, I scaled back. I passed up talking Elmo dolls and electric train sets and instead bought simple, inexpensive gifts that I knew my kids would enjoy, like a few new books and a winter coat for my daughter and a tool set for my son. And for his birthday, we bought him some Matchbox cars to add to his already excessive collection and decided to take the entire family to the zoo.
On Christmas morning, I was so relieved to see that my kids couldn't have cared less about having fewer gifts. My son was thrilled about the tool set and spent all day playing with it, "just like Daddy!" And on his birthday, he didn't even ask about birthday presents. He was too busy laughing at the monkeys at the zoo.
What's your take on gift-giving? Do you think we overbuy for our kids?