Maureen Turner: We Are Family


Balancing The Gimmes With The Giving

Gifts That Won't Break the Bank

You know that song, ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’? Well, I’m changing the lyrics to “It’s the most stressful time of the year”! Hello, it’s already Novemeber! In another month, I will be expected to make all the dreams and wishes of 4 small children come true. No pressure!

Soon the stores will be all a buzz with christmas carols, filled with all kinds of sparkly decorations and I’ll be hauling my kids to the Mall Santa demanding that they all smile at the same time... even if they don’t feel like it.

I find, at this time of year, the kids get the “gimmes” at our house. Every commercial, I hear “I want that” or “Can you buy me that?”. So, I have instilled a rule where the kids are not allowed to tell us they want things that they see on the tv.

They, of course, figured out a way around this. So now, when a commercial comes on and they want the product, instead of saying anything, they make this horrific gasping sound. I must have a panic attack at least 3 times a day thinking one of them is choking to death in the tv room, but really it’s just an ad for Barbie Video Girl or Paper Jamz.

I tell them to remember the things they want and they can make a list for Santa. I figure, if they remember something long enough that it makes it on the list, they actually want it.

In an effort to try and balance out the giving and the receiving and to put those greedy tendencies in check, we talk about people who are less fortunate, families who can’t afford the things that we can. Then, I take them to Walmart and let them each pick out a toy to donate to Toy Mountain and some canned goods for the Food Bank.

While we are there, I let them peruse the toy section and point out the items on their wish list, so I know what I need to go back and get and exactly where it is. That way, there is no wondering if it’s the blue Beyblade or the red one, the bunny Zooble or the monkey.

Then, the pressure is all on me. Like most parents, I try to attain that perfect, joyous, as-seen-on-tv holiday. So, I tell them not to be greedy, and then I stress about getting them everything they want... mixed messages much?

I don’t have a huge budget, and those lists can get pretty long, like I said, it’s a greedy time of year. So, to alleviate some of my stress, I farm some of the items out to family. Anyone who asks what my kids want, I tell them one item that's on my list. That way they give a gift the kids want and my list gets smaller. 

So, how do you make your kids wish lists and make sure they get what they want without going overboard? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks to having a happy holiday, so leave a comment and help a mamma out.


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