As a child, my family ceased celebrating Christmas when I was 8. When I had children of my own, I overcompensated just a little. For example, it wasn't uncommon for the kids to ask, "Are we done yet?" while opening their gifts. There were many years where the only time a toy was touched was on Christmas. The kids got so many new things that they couldn't even remember all they had.
This year we made a very drastic and deliberate decision to rethink gifting. We bought a PS3 for the whole family, then each kid got about 4 gifts under the tree. We made this decision for several reasons. We wanted to stay within our cash budget so that January would not bring any additional credit card bondage. We also wanted to practice moderation so that we could free up more funds for helping others. We also realized that our consummerism is causing unfair workig conditions in other countries.
I was concerned by this shift, and honestly at the last minute I added a few extra items. However, one of our main shipments of items from Amazon did not arrive on time. The kids had less to open than I had anticipated.
So what were the results? My children appreciated every single item. They were not overwhelmed. They couldn't wait to try out their new stuff. They had more time to focus on hanging out together and playing.
I would say that they did not miss the lost in the mail items AT ALL. This made me realize just how seriously I have misjudged the amount of stuff needed to create a great Christmas for my children.
I have bought into the lie that kids need tons of toys for Christmas to be successful and that you suck as a parent if you don't get them as much as their friends. I am beginning to understand that the truth is that less can be more. The kids can dig in and enjoy their new stuff more when they don't get quite as much.
We are enjoying our time as a family. May your Christmas be blessed with love, laughter, and peace.