Your Teens Don’t Need A Bunch Of Stuff For Christmas

Originally Published: 
Mint Images/Getty

This year for Christmas, my son sent me a link to something for his truck. I have no idea what it is — it’s round, metal, and they look like bolts to me — but they are very expensive bolts.

His exact words were, “Mom, this is all I want for Christmas. Don’t get me anything else. I don’t even want a stocking. I just really need these for my truck.”

I immediately tensed up, and he started to laugh because he knew I was going to act like that. I’m all about having lots of gifts under the tree. But I decided that if my son — who’s almost an adult — wanted something useful for his vehicle instead of a bunch of fluff under the tree, why would I argue with that?

I realized this has been a problem with me since my kids have gotten older. They want things that cost a lot more money and they are much happier to get a great pair of earbuds and nothing else, than the generic earbuds and a bunch of other crap they don’t even want. Things that will just rot in their rooms because I felt the need to fill in the cracks.

I remember as a teenager I wanted a pair of Guess jeans. Instead, I got another brand name outfit my parents found on sale and a bunch of other stuff. But all I wanted was to walk around in those damn Guess jeans. I’m still mad about it and it was almost 35 years ago.

When your kids get older, they tend to want more expensive things. They are learning that less is more. Go with it.

There’s no need for moms of the world to be sweating under their masks and boobs as they walk around a store, or wrack their brain online shopping, literally throwing money into something their kids don’t even really want.

This year, my son will have two gifts under the tree. That’s it. His brother and sister will have more because they’ve asked for things that aren’t as expensive. Done and done.

There’s no need to try and make it even.

There’s no need to stress yourself out and go broke trying to make sure they all have exactly the same things.

And if your kids do get upset that the gifts aren’t equal, as parents it’s okay to say, “Well, you wanted more expensive things.”

How many of us have kids who don’t even care how many presents they get or keep score with their brother and sister and still feel the need to even it out? This may be a rare case, but my youngest has never counted his gifts like his brother and sister do and I still feel the need to even the score.

My point is, we do enough to make the season magical. We do enough to make sure our kids get what they want with the budget and time we have. So, why make it harder on ourselves? Why stress about something that literally doesn’t need any of our attention?

Okay, I actually know the answer to that: It’s because we love them, have mom guilt, and we like to overdo it sometimes because we feel like it will make up for all of our shortcomings.

I’ve done it long enough. I love giving my kids a great Christmas and will always love it. However, this year — instead of stressing and trying to pull ideas out of my ass — I took my son’s advice and I bought him the car part he wanted. And I let the thoughts I had in my head about my kids each having a certain amount of gifts under the tree, go.

This was a big one for me and let me tell you, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I’ve had more time to relax this season, fewer gifts to wrap, and I wasn’t wandering around a sporting goods store like a lost puppy wondering what the hell I could use as a filler.

Besides, I know if I did that, I’d go up to his room in June and see the stuff that took me so long to pick out and wrap gathering dust underneath his bed.

If you have the urge to do more than is asked of you this holiday season, stop yourself and realize something: You are buying them the little things they don’t want for you, not them. They aren’t going to appreciate it. And just think about what you can do with the time and money, if you don’t drill yourself into the ground because you feel like you’ve gotta even things out under the damn tree.

This article was originally published on