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Ask Glinda- Christmas Edition | Teeny Manolo

Ask Glinda- Christmas Edition

Santa reacts in shock! PVC pipe?

Longtime reader Cherry asks:

Dear Glinda,
Just because it is the season and I’m curious how parents handle things with their kids at this time of year:
How you do deal with the pressures from the Munchkin for Christmas presents? Or has he hit that stage yet?

Cherry, any doubts you have about my son hitting the “all about the presents” stage would be allayed by the very long list of items dictated to me by said five year old in a surprisingly detailed letter to Santa.  We’ll see if Santa can deliver some PVC pipe for him to make his own marble run, as well as some building material for a treehouse.  That should be a challenge.

The interesting part of it is that my son doesn’t watch network television, so he has little exposure to the mighty media forces on display every Saturday morning.

But still, like any kid, he has things in mind that he wants and since his wants are so far very simple, we can handle it.

However, to take some of the emphasis off of himself and what he will be getting, I have tried this year to include him in some philanthropic pursuits which include going with me to the store to pick out toys for some underprivileged children, as well as going through his current set of toys together and picking some to donate to another charity. 

Which is much harder than it sounds, actually, because every toy suddenly becomes a favorite that is unable to be parted with.  Even though it hasn’t been so much as looked at in the past three months, it immediately becomes his most favorite toy that he has loved always. I stand over him and say, too bad dude, you’ve got to pick.  The accompanying dramatics should really get him nominated for an Oscar, but after the tough decisions are made, he feels proud of himself.

I’m not sure how much worse it will get in the coming years, but I hope to balance any sense of entitlement with making sure that we do charitable works and deeds.  And not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. Then, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that the message that it’s not all about him manages to penetrate that bubble of self-importance that childen often carry themselves around in.

Got a question for us here at Teeny Manolo? Email to theglinda @ gmaildotcom or raincoaster @ gmaildotcom

6 Responses to “Ask Glinda- Christmas Edition”

  1. Suzanne December 20, 2007 at 8:43 am #

    This sounds very familiar — even with no exposure to commercials or toy catalogs, my kids still had somewhat lengthy lists for Santa. And, like you, I’ve been emphasizing the giving aspect of Christmas and included them in all our charitable efforts. Still, I wonder how much good it’s doing. I hope that they won’t be saying “Is that it?” after opening all their presents Christmas morning.

  2. raincoaster December 20, 2007 at 8:59 am #

    When my lists were short, I never got anything on them. When they encouraged me to write a lot of suggestions, I handed them ten pages. I still never got one thing on the list. I tried to psych them once by putting “Slipper socks” and “an acrylic sweater set” on the list, but they just looked at me funny. At least I didn’t get anything from THAT list.

    I think they just wanted me to practice my handwriting.

    That’s a great thing that you’re doing with the presents for charity, but I can feel the poor guy’s pain. I did read in an ancient Woman’s Day or Family Circle at some dentist’s office that one woman let her kids pick from the still-wrapped presents one thing to give away. She felt that made it less painful, because the kids never laid eyes on it. I dunno; what if he picked the iPod signed by Steve Jobs and Barney? Still, it’s a thought.

  3. J December 20, 2007 at 10:45 am #

    Maya periodically has to give up toys for Charity, not only because of Christmas, but also because she has a lot of family, and thus receives a LOT of gifts, and many that she didn’t even play with once. But when she was your son’s age, she had a LOT of trouble giving away those same unloved gifts. Don’t sweat it. Keep at it once in awhile. Maya just did a major declutter of her room, and got rid of a LOT of junk that she was unwilling to part with even just a few months ago. Perhaps she’s maturing? 😉

  4. Patricia December 20, 2007 at 12:24 pm #

    I love your answer – so much so that I’ve highlighted it on “Travels With… ” I hope everyone who feels intimidated by their own kids’ sometimes outlandish desires, will read about your experience, and take heart.

  5. Glinda December 21, 2007 at 12:21 am #

    Patricia, thank you! I just get so tired of hearing about what he wants, when so many have so much less.

    Suzanne- I know, I feel exactly the same after all the gifts are done and he’s like, “Aren’t there more?” Ayyy!

    J- I think she must be!

    Rain- You must have had some pretty bad handwriting!

  6. Tizzy December 23, 2007 at 7:53 pm #

    My mother would like me to congratualate you on some excellent parenting. She says that sounds like excellent housekeeping and character building. That’s quite a one two punch.