Why I'm Grateful to Have Toddlers During the Holiday Season (No, Really!)

Festive little boy writing wish
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It's been two weeks since radio stations in my area started playing holiday tunes, which means the countdown to Christmas is officially on. (The rehearsal is over, people!) Many parents I know with school-age children have already received handwritten letters, texts, and emails of all the things their kiddos must have under the tree come December 25. And while these moms and dads are having mini breakdowns about the costs of these presents and whether or not they can still get them, I'm counting my blessings: specifically, the ability to dodge these wish-list bullets, as my children are too young to care about Christmas presents.

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I knew there had to be a silver lining to being in the diaper and pull-up stage!

I know what's on the horizon -- including the need to verify with my husband what gifts have been purchased, and spending more time than I'd like to admit wrapping said gifts because I suck at it -- and that makes me all the more happy my sons are 2 and 1 right now.

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I love not having to dive in front of my television in fear that one of my boys sees a commercial with a cool toy he just has to have. I love not cursing out the delivery driver (internally) if and when a package I ordered for one of my kids -- thought to be lost -- arrives too close to Christmas. I love that my children have yet to step foot inside of a toy store (they love Target as much as I do, so I can only imagine how they'll act in a shop full of fun playthings) and still find joy in entertaining themselves with random cardboard boxes that have yet to be recycled -- or "cool" bubble wrap that makes noises every time they walk across it. And I love not having to worry about whether or not the gifts I purchased for them are the ones they wanted and will determine whether or not this Christmas was the best or most horrible one evvvver.

My tots are fascinated by colorful gift wrap, sticky bows, and shatterproof ornaments -- and I'm trying to soak in every minute of their appreciating the "little things" without wanting or expecting anything in return. Their innocence and disregard for holiday commercialism definitely makes me appreciate the season even more.

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My husband and I hope that Christmas in our household will always be less about the amount of gifts under the tree and more about being thankful, giving back, and that cute little baby named Jesus.

Will we eventually give in to our boys' gift demands when they get older?

Sure -- who doesn't?

But I love that we don't have to think about it right now. Plus, some of those toys are too damn expensive, if you ask me. 

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Just thinking about the sea of Christmas gifts that often fills living rooms and the ever-growing expectations of getting something good that many kids develop as they get older makes me wish I could travel to Neverland and sprinkle some of Tink's pixie dust on my boys to remain tots a little while longer. 

I can't remember the exact year when I started looking forward to Christmas because of the gifts but do remember writing long letters to Santa and my parents. I remember asking for the X-Men and Aladdin video games on Sega, Magic Nursery baby dolls, a skate board, and so many other things. I remember ripping through what seemed like endless amounts of gift wrap and boxes to find my magic Christmas prize before I scanned the room to see what else I got.

And while nothing is wrong with kids who get excited for the holidays -- or parents who take joy in showering their offspring with all the presents they never had -- I'm kinda digging this parenting stage when all of that doesn't matter.

Who knows, maybe my 2-year-old will slide over a Christmas wish list written in crayons he wrote at his early learning center. Maybe the days of holiday gift spending are closer than I imagined. Or maybe my kiddos won't care that much about presents. (Hey, it can happen.)

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For now, I'm going to bask in knowing the only complexities I'll face during the holidays is whether or not to put the Star Wars or Monsters Inc. ornaments toward the top of the tree and how many times I can get away with watching Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer before my husband yells, "Again?!"

It's my hope that we can keep the focus of the holidays on spending time with family, enjoying time off from work and school, and celebrating the awesome little things in life -- like cardboard boxes.

(They really are fun!)

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