I’m not doing it this year. I’m not. I’m not going to feel like I have to go above and beyond to make the holiday freaking magical. I’m not going to stress and panic and feel like it’s never enough. I’m not, I tell you. I’m not.
I keep repeating this to myself so that it sinks in. I’ve told the children. I’ve let all those nice folks trying to sell me things know. I’ve alerted the post man. I’ve reminded my neighbors and friends a few times. I’ve told the UPS dude he won’t be making as many stops to my house this year. Because I mean it this year, I really mean it.
This Christmas I will not get caught up in showing my kids and family members how much I love them because I’ve bought them a trillion things. I won’t be tempted by what anyone else is getting for their children either. I’ve done it before, and instead of spreading love, I spread my body out on the floor in a tantrum because I’m really fucking stressed out and overwhelmed. Because filling up on stuff until we’re drowning in crap doesn’t feel like love. It feels like chaos and regret.
Which is why I adore the idea of getting my kids 4 things: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I used to see this idea swirling around online and think, Nah, not in this house. Bring on the gifts!
But people change and I’ve prepared my family for it this year. When they started throwing their holiday lists at me in September, I warned them it would not be like Christmases past. At first they were pouty and complained about it, because kids can be dicks like that.
But after it marinated a bit, I could tell the idea made them really think about what they truly wanted this year. Their father and I are willing to splurge a bit on a few gifts they will cherish longer, but we don’t want to get a bunch of stuff just for the sake of creating a pile of loot under the tree.
By paring down the number of gifts they each get, not only does shopping become easier, it makes the season that much more special because we can spend our time, money, and energy doing things with our kids.
If you find yourself getting caught up in the madness of wanting to buy your kids all the things, I understand — we all do. It’s normal and makes us feel nostalgic for our own childhood. But half the time we are buying shit our kids don’t even ask for simply because we don’t feel complete until they each have a certain number of gifts to open.
It’s a bit of a challenge, and I am starting to think it’s harder for adults to contain our excitement when it comes to holiday gift-giving than it is for the kids, but it is so worth it. Seriously. I’m already done shopping (yes, I am bragging), and with all the extra time I have, I am planning a fun holiday party, surprising my kids with a Christmas show, and will have more time to bake and relax with them — things that make me feel a lot more joyful than sweating my ass off looking for a few extra pieces of crap that I have to wrap and put under the tree.
It goes both ways, too. My kids asked me what I wanted this year and I told them I want the same things they are getting. Only my list is much simpler: I want them to behave, and not act like little assholes. I need them to behave and not act like little assholes. I will wear a smile because they are behaving and not acting like little assholes. And I want to read on their reports cards that they are behaving and not act like assholes in school.
You see, the want-need-wear-read idea works for everyone during holiday season.
If you enjoyed this article, head over to like our Facebook Page, It’s Personal, an all-inclusive space to discuss marriage, divorce, sex, dating, and friendship.
This article was originally published on