There's nothing more noble than going out of your way to give your kids the merriest Christmas ever. But in a world where parents bring guns with them to the Toys R Us Black Friday event and steal their family's gifts from Toys for Tots, it's becoming all too easy to go Christmas cuckoo.
Take the dad in England who faked a burglary, even hiding the TV and all the gifts he'd already bought his 2-year-old, so that he could get the community to dish out the big bucks on big gifts for his sweetie. Jobless Wood (yes, that's his real name, and no, we didn't miss the irony) confessed he "did it because I thought people might donate Christmas presents and I would get some more for Abbey. The longer it went on, the more guilty I felt.”
I almost have to feel bad for the guy. He just took what most parents are guilty of doing a teensy weensy bit too far. We're all nuts this time of year.
I sat in my bedroom, surrounded by wrapping paper rolls and piles of presents last week asking myself how the heck I'd gotten there. When I say surrounded, I mean stuff on all sides of me, threatening to take over the space between my bed, my dresser, and my hope chest. We have one child, and somehow there were enough gifts to service a youth soccer team. I forced my husband away from entertaining our daughter (aka, keeping her away from sneaking a peek) to help me make sense of the mess. Which was an even bigger mistake than overbuying. I wanted to put half of it away for her birthday in June; but Mr. Softie said, "Aww, it's Christmas, just keep wrapping."
That I sat there, biting my lip instead of saying, "No, no, this is too much," proves I too had crossed over to the dark side. She's 5. Three years ago -- the age of Mr. Wood's little Abbey -- she would have been happy with a paper box. The women at my husband's work bribe her with stickers. She doesn't need that much. So I didn't break the law, but I had certainly stepped over into crazy town.
This how parents drive themselves batty. They sit on eBay paying $250 for a $25 item because they can't find the one thing their kids had on the Santa list. It leaves them with no money left for the rest of the family, but that hardly registers at the time because they have one mission and one mission only: the biggest grin on Christmas morning. Other moms report weeks of sleepless nights spent sewing during the only times they're not at work and Junior is asleep to give them that perfect handmade doll or superhero outfit. And I've heard parents refuse to list Santa on the tag of their kid's big present because they don't want the big guy stealing their credit.
It's Christmas, guys. It's about happiness, joy, family. Not who spent the most money or who gets all the credit. In five years, your kid is going to stop believing in Santa and realize it was you who got them the remote control truck anyway. We need to thank Jobless Wood and the other nutty parents out there; they're a sign of what we will become if we don't stop now.
Do you ever feel like you let making their holiday bright take over your sanity?
Image via scottfeldstein/Flickr