Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saving the Environment...

Hello! Christmas is finally over... sometimes I have mixed feelings about this time of year, but since I've had kids my mixing has ceased. I am glad Christmas is over. Don't get me wrong, I love this time of year. I love baking with my kids and listening to Christmas songs. I love shopping for gifts for my kids and decorating the tree. I really love watching Christmas movies with my family, like Elf and A Christmas Story which this year made my 7 year old consider asking Santa for a Red Rider BB gun.

But, I must admit, there are some parts I don't like so much. Like the snow, or the crowds at every place from the grocery store to the ladies room at Macy's. I don't like stepping on small ornaments because my 3 year old just can't help himself and takes every ornament within his reach down. I don't like feeling that 'deadline' feeling that hovers over me like rotten mistletoe from Thanksgiving to December 26th.

I will be the first to admit that I have a tendancy to go overboard at Christmas in the gifts department. I see things all year that I think will be great for a certain child, and when the buying season arrives, I go a little crazy. Because we have a large family, we start early. Really early. Like, in July. If we didn't we'd go broke. Which gives me that much longer to overspend. We are a cash-only family, we don't have a single credit card. So we have to watch our dollars and cents. Especially this year with our drastic decrease in income and our addition of 2 children to the team.

My sister-in-law mentioned something to me a couple of years ago that he mom did at Christmas. In buying gifts, each child got 4: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read." That's what we did. Each of our children got 4 things: a toy, an educational toy, a book, and an outfit. Then my husband and I pinky swore that we wouldn't buy ANYTHING else. And we didn't.

So when we were wrapping gift frantically the night before Christmas Eve, I was feeling good about my restraint this year. That lasted about an hour. Then I got sick of wrapping and the 'four gifts per child' rule seemed like waaay too many! As the clock neared midnight, I was kicking myself for purchasing oddly shaped things that were difficult to wrap. It was getting veeeery late.

In the afterglow of the Present Opening Frenzy, I looked around at the carnage. Wads of wrapping paper, mangled bows, crumpled tissue paper, empty boxes, clothing with tags still on, boxes that had been demolished in order to remove their contents... It took four full-size garbage bags to get it all out to the trash can. Another part of Christmas I don't like.

I propose NO WRAPPING next year. Let's just take everything out of the box ahead of time and throw out the packaging and put each child's things in a pile. Won't the kids be just as happy? Is there such an attachment to the ritual of opening a gift? Not if you're under 10. Think of all the time and money and clean-up it would save...! And not to mention the wrapping paper and trees.

Somebody should call Al Gore and tell him about this.

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