The day after Christmas, we did what any family who just received a ton of stuff would do – we went out and bought more.
It all started innocently with these cute little plushies…
These were Baby-Rock’s Christmas gifts from us this year. We debated buying some for EeBee too, but then our parental density stepped in and said, “meh, they can share.”
But come Christmas morning, 2 -year-old Baby Rock was not so keen on sharing. Can you blame him? And 6 -year-old EeBee was envious of the big-headed plushies, with their cute button eyes and their wee capes. So envious that he spent the morning finding deviant ways to sneak Batman away and hide him as his own.
In order to foster a toy truce, A-Rob suggested that EeBee use his Christmas money to buy his own Batman doll.
To which EeBee said, “Well, how much Chrismas money do I have?”
And A-Rob, practicing full disclosure, replied. “$40.”
(Mistake #1: arming a 6 year old with knowledge of a $40 payout on the day after Christmas)
The Christmas money was from my sweet Grandpa Poppy. At this point I must confess: I have a tendency to keep this sort of gifted money a secret from the kids. I’ll save it for down the road after the toy-induced-crazies have safely subsided. And sometimes I use it to buy them something boring, like clothes.
But A-Rob was not abreast of my plan. And he becomes irrationally burdened with guilt at the thought of withholding money that is rightfully theirs.
(Mistake #2: not discussing the gift-money game plan until this very moment)
So off to the stores we went. EeBee gravitated towards the usual suspects that already litter our house on a daily basis: Legos, video games, the duplicate plushy of course, a policeman uniform (okay, that one was a little unexpected). After two stores, a lot of 6-year-old deliberation, and several spending scenarios later, he ended up with one new Batman plushy, and one new video game.
As I watched him shop I started to feel uneasy, watching him pick up item after item that, in my opinion, he didn’t need. And by the time we were done shopping and heading out to get some lunch, I was feeling low. Absolutely blue if you must know.
What have I done? My son has the mother-load of all Christmas loot sitting at home, and I’m teaching him that it’s not enough! I’m teaching him to want more. He’ll never grow into a prudent adult and it’s all my fault!
(Mistake #3: Assuming I was immune to emotional melt-downs now that Christmas was over)
But thankfully my low moments have been trending towards productive lately. And by the next morning A-Rob and I had come up with a new game plan for all future gift monies.
We decided it will be used to renew our membership to the Children’s Museum, or to take the kids to the new aquarium, or the zoo, or it’ll be saved as spending money for an upcoming vacation.
Actually, we didn’t come up with this game plan, I did, and I got A-Rob to agree by sneaking in and asking him before he had his morning coffee. And probably because he had to sit next to me at lunch while I had my post-Christmas consumer freak out.
Do you like reading about my melt-downs? I seem to have had many lately. I hope they help you in some way. I promise this is the last one for a while.
What do you think is the best way to handle gift money for young ones? Did you go out shopping the day after Christmas and have a melt-down too?