Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An embarrassment of riches

I am writing this because we, as a family, have a similar experience every January, and I need some help figuring out an alternative.

Between Max's birthday and Christmas, he receives an insane amount of stuff in December. So much that it cannot be appreciated or enjoyed.

We honestly have stopped buying Christmas presents for the kids, because it has gotten so out of control. This year, I had bought a few things over the past few months, and we put half of them back in the attic to be given at another time, or to friends.

Max received about $500 worth of LEGOS this year, which was wonderful, but really too much for him to handle. We have Legos everywhere. They are under every piece of furniture, scattered in the backseat of the car, and probably in the yard (though I have specifically asked him - over and over again - not to take them out of his room.) He has lost pieces, and I just discovered has given some away, or "traded" - though he can't remember what he got in return. In addition - these new Lego sets are just that - sets. They are basically teaching kids to build models - and once the model has been built, well, the fun appears to be over. No more building nameless, brandless castles in red and blue and green and yellow - now everything has a specific place it belongs, and frequently the design cannot really be diverted from. The creativity is definitely limited....Which I didn't realize, really, until I saw all of these TINY pieces, many of them CLEAR !!!!!

And the Transformer obsession of last year ? Over. I am going to be devastated if next year he has decided he is "over" Legos, considering everyone's generosity.

So, I need advice. I am trying to rein Max and Lucy in, teach them about want v.s. need, and I hate to be a scrooge. But I really cannot handle the influx of "stuff" every December. Their rooms are full to overflowing. Their clothes don't fit in their dressers. They are VERY lucky kids, and I would love some ideas to help them to be more aware of this, and perhaps ways that they could share what they have. It's not that I don't want them to have Christmas presents - because I really REALLY do. And I want them to get gifts they love and are excited about. But Lucy, for example, got ONE Barbie Doll. Perfect. Max got 6 different Lego sets. Argh.

I know I don't get too many comments here (and I am not sure if it is my settings, or just that I don't inspire them !) but if you would be so inclined as to share any words of wisdom, I would really appreciate it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just read an article about children getting too much at Christmas and one suggested solution was to hide away 1/3-1/2 the gifts and give them out throughout the year as rewards for good deeds (like cleaning their room, etc).

But I would also suggest not letting the kids know there are surplus gifts - just surprising them periodically with a reward.