Childhood Without the Excitement of Christmas Gifts

That's me one Christmas morning about 40 years ago with my new UHaul truck. I'm sure I got the idea to ask for it from some TV commercial.

Christmas isn’t a very big deal for my kids. For them it’s about having a tree in the house, taking some time off of school, and attending a large family gathering on Christmas day.

We don’t really talk about Christmas gifts. No, we don’t do Santa here. Over the past two weeks, my wife and I have given our kids a few gifts, rather than waiting for Christmas day. We gave Nico (4) roller blades and pads, we gave Marco (7) a skateboard, and we gave Nico and Leo (2) some super-sized (6-notch!) Lincoln Logs for building huge log cabins.

Because we don’t preannounce gifts, our kids are usually surprised and very happy when they receive them. They appreciate them. They’re thankful.

They don’t plead for certain toys. They don’t even ask for them. I believe this is true because they don’t watch TV or videos, and they don’t play video games. Well, they almost never consume these things. They watch perhaps a half hour to an hour of videos a week (even less in good weather months!), but it’s always recorded, so they never, ever watch a TV commercial.

So, the media doesn’t plant toy dreams into their heads, and my wife and I don’t do anything to stoke their demands for Christmas gifts.

Sad? Nope. Sure, I have very fond memories of Christmas mornings when I was a kid, but my kids have no idea what they’re missing. In the meantime, they have a very, very rich life of play, every day. I’d venture to say that they play way more and have much more fun doing it than most kids.

So, they build and create and run and jump at home, every day. They don’t need a special school program to do these things. It’s a deep part of their everyday lives.

You may think my wife and I are extreme for not doing the gift giving ritual on Christmas. I understand that criticism.

However, my kids are very happy and healthy, and they’re learning good values. I hope yours are, too. Have a Merry Christmas!

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