Well, this Christmas, due to monetary constraints, we've decided to have a practical Christmas. There will be a (precious) few special presents under the tree, but for the most part, we are all getting things we need, instead of stuff that we want. The kids have a couple of toys, but most of their gifts are clothing (they are growing faster than necrotizing fasciitis), body-care products like shampoo, bubble bath, lotion, etc. We've been forced to limit our spending this year, and I've got to tell you, in some ways it's really nice.
I'm not getting Marley stuff just because I feel this need to give her a "perfect" Christmas that I can't really afford to give. I think I'm going to enjoy watching her face as she opens the special few things that we got her. And at her age, opening a box filled with hair care products probably is pretty cool (we even got her a little bottle of $1.25 blue finger nail polish to match her cheerleading pompoms). To me, it relieves me of that anxiety I have felt at Christmas. I remember my Christmases and the magic they held, and I've tried to recreate those for my kids, but it never feels the same. Last year, Marley complained about some of the gifts that she got. That's when I knew that I had to do something for sure. Luckily, this year, dollars have been in short supply, so I've been forced to do what I could never bring myself to do before-hold back. I like giving gifts, but not a spending-orgy-type trap that I'd fallen into in years past.
I'd really prefer to give gifts on the twelve days of Christmas between December 25th and January 6th (Twelfth Night, el día de los Reyes Magos) the Epiphany, and the official beginning of Mardi Gras. If you got twelve gifts over 12 days, I think that'd be better than even Hannukah. The Three Wise Men show up on the night of the 5th/6th and leave three gifts. It extends the excitement of the holidays for the kids, and keeps Christmas from becoming a consumernalia event.
Am I crazy? This old friend doesn't think so. I don't agree with him about the God/Santa problem, but the Calvinist argument is intriguing. ¡Feliz Navidad amigos!