The girls, last Christmas, making fudge. Those were the days ...
We've entered a new era around here, folks. As in, my eldest came downstairs today trying to pin me down on precise numbers for Santa's budget for her Christmas gifts so she could manage her requests accordingly.
It all started with a suggestion that Santa should probably take advantage of Cyber Monday deals on some super-expensive headphones she wants for Christmas. (I should point out I don't think I've ever seen her use headphones unless we are travelling.) Then she made three more rapid-fire requests, each one landing well over the $100 per item mark.
"Are you comfortable not having very many gifts under the tree? Because I totaled up about $500 worth of goods before you got three-deep in that series," I said.
"Well, how bout you let me know what Santa plans to spend and we'll go from there," she said.
"How bout I buy you a one-way ticket on the Polar Freaking Express to Siberia and we go from there?" I said.
Not really, though I was sorely tempted. Instead I explained it was extremely bad manners to request what equates to an Excel spreadsheet from Santa, that she needed to refocus on the reason for the season, think about the giving versus the receiving, etc, etc.
Here's the thing: we've always gotten one or two "big ticket" items for the girls, then an assortment of less expensive items. I like to throw in something completely unexpected that they didn't think to ask for, and then lots of little, inexpensive stuff like earrings and lotion that smells like odd mixtures of lilacs and coconuts and such. The point is I like to stretch out that unwrapping and excitement and merriment and no one is fighting time for at least 15 minutes or so. So I'm trying to work out how to make that last as they get older and want more expensive, but fewer, items.
Tell me: how do you manage your kids' expectations during the Christmas season? And how do you balance that with your expectations for what that morning should bring? I read an article a while back about a family that gets a big family trip to a new destination every Christmas, and all their gifts are for the trip (so, ski clothes for a vacation to Colorado, surfboards for Maui, etc.) ... do you have any gift-giving traditions you'd like to share?