The Christmas Dilemma

I’m not buying my kids toys for Christmas this year.

Phew. That was hard to write, because I really WANT to buy my kids toys for Christmas. Meg and Drew love Legos and I’m sure they’d have a fantastic time playing with new sets. Drew’s right into the Star Wars Legos and I’ve seen some newer, affordable Harry Potter Legos for Meg. Annie and Izzie would love toys that feature cows and lambs and I know there are some at Toys ‘R Us that they’d adore. But I’m not buying them.

Here’s the thing. My kids don’t take care of the toys they have. Drew can’t find his Lego people because he doesn’t put them away in their DESIGNATED spot when he’s done with them. I can’t get into Meg’s room at all because her floor is a mess. Annie and Izzie leave toys, clothes, papers, books, scattered in their room, the hallway, the playroom. The kids’ playroom is a total disaster. They’ve broken most of the storage drawers we purchased for them and the toys are always all over the playroom floor and they get stepped on and broken. There’s no way I’m adding more things to that mix this year.

I’ve told the kids I’m not buying them toys. My mom is even on board with it and told them the same thing. None of my kids believe me when I tell them that they aren’t getting any toys this year. They all still believe in Santa (yes, even Meg, or if she doesn’t, she hasn’t let on for the sake of her younger siblings and for that I’m grateful, because I am a Polar Express kind of girl and still hear the ring of the bell), which leaves us with a bit of a dilemma. Should Santa bring them a gift or two in the form of a toy? Would they appreciate the things they get if they got a toy or two each, just from Santa?

It breaks my heart to have to tell my kids that they aren’t getting toys. I love Christmas, I love buying and wrapping things for them to open. I love seeing them excited for something new, as we don’t buy toys during the year. But to have them show a complete lack of respect for the things we (and others) get them has me really down. Getting them to clean up their rooms or their playroom is a long, ridiculously frustrating experience that leaves me exhausted and wondering why I just don’t do it all myself it I want it done at all. But I have an almost 11 year old, an almost 7 year old and two almost 5 year olds who need to start taking some responsibility for their own things and I guess this is my way of getting them to understand that. Will it work? Will it fail? I guess I have to wait and see. The whole thing leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and I really wonder if I’m making the right choice.

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3 thoughts on “The Christmas Dilemma

  1. I think it will work… if you can stick to it. We actually took away the kids’ playroom a couple of years ago and turned it into a space for ourselves. We had threatened to do it and then just did it when it had deteriorated, once again, into an unusable room. We boxed up the toys (purged a bunch) and put them in a storage area. They can play with the toys, one box at a time, but the room is gone. Now, they are expected to keep their own rooms clean and to tidy up after themselves in the rest of the house. Not doing so has consequences (like, no computer/tv until they do; or having everything on the floor thrown into a garbage bag – to be thrown out at the next garbage day if they don’t deal with it). It took a little time for them to believe we were serious about it, but now it’s rare that the mess gets out of control.

  2. Pingback: Stream of Consciousness | Kristin's Four Kids

  3. Pingback: Stream of Consciousness | Kristin's Four Kids

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