Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holiday Guilt

Over Whether I'm Spending Too Much 

Another big holiday is just a few days away. If the beautiful, flowering trees and all of the Easter egg crafts that are coming home from school weren't enough to give it away, it's my kids asking, "How many more sleeps until the Easter Bunny comes?" several times a day. And for me, along with the fun and excitement that Easter and Christmas bring each year, this is also just a little bit of guilt.

This is what happens. I decide it will be a small holiday this year, selecting just a couple items. But then something happens.

A couple of years ago it was that my oldest decided that the one and only gift she truly wanted was a Barbie doll house. Now, the dream house was out of the question but maybe the (much less expensive and smaller) Barbie vacation home was an option. And, so, with mixed emotions I purchased the plastic house she so desperately desired. It's not that this was a massive splurge or outside of my budget. It's just that Christmas that year just got a little bigger than I had anticipated. 

 I just feel a little bit of guilt creeping in.
This year, my youngest had some money she wanted to spend at the toy store before the holiday. She planned to buy herself a Princess Jasmine doll. Unfortunately, the store didn't have any. She left the store perfectly content with a different Barbie doll but that didn't stop me from doing a quick Amazon check for Jasmine. I found the singing doll (her favorite) that also came with Magic Carpet, Rajah and Abu. For $13! Clearly, this was not something I could pass up. But that also means her sister needed another item to keep things even. And she had her eye on the Lego hot air balloon while we were at the toy store so that was an easy choice.

I struggle with this and feel a level of guilt because I want the holidays to be special...but for the right reasons. Not because they got the one and only gift they told Santa they wanted. I want them to understand the meaning, know that it is a celebration of Jesus. I want them to know it is a time to spend with family. Christmas is the season of giving. Easter is a time of renewal and hope. 

I truly believe that we have it both ways right now. My oldest wanted to make the Easter Bunny a card so he knows she's thinking about him when he comes by the house (and also to make sure he hides some eggs). The girls are thrilled to make their handmade gifts for family at Christmastime. And they literally jump up and down and exclaim "Thank you!" when they open up their toothbrushes from their parents on Christmas Eve (an annual family tradition). 

Still, I find the guilt creeping in this holiday.

I calculate how much I spent on each basket. Trying to decide if I should return an item. Concerned that at some point they will grow to expect certain things and maybe have a lesser appreciation for things such as toothbrushes.

I also think about their faces as they open up eggs filled with jelly beans and sweet tarts. The exclamations of joy when they see their baskets with the beloved Jasmine doll and Lego bricks. 

Christmas is a magical time and Easter is too. I may second guess myself and I might not always be able to fight the guilt. But there is something special about the holidays. I very rarely splurge so maybe the holidays give me the excuse I need to do just that. The best part, though, is that the holidays give me an opportunity to feel the very sweet moments of motherhood. And that is something I have no guilt about.