Thursday, December 5, 2013

I think I just may be a scrooge

My 9 year old daughter came home from school this week and asked me if we could do "Elf on the shelf." Had she asked me this last year at this time, I'd have been clueless to what she was talking about! But in this day and age of the internet and Facebook, I've come to find out what this game is. Apparently parents buy a toy elf and move him around to let their children know that he is watching them before Christmas for Santa Claus (at least that's how I understand it, so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Some parents make the game more simple in having this elf move from one shelf to another, or even from room to room. Some parents get more elaborate and have their elves get into mischief (i.e. making messes around the house that the elf supposedly did while everyone was sleeping). I, for one, have enough messes to clean up without getting into anything like that! Hah!

I looked my daughter straight in the eyes and said, "No, I'm never doing that. Sorry." I'm sure all her childhood dreams were subsequently crushed and she'll need years of therapy to make up for this deprivation. I did go on to tell her that while I think it's a fun game for some families to play, with six children, and being the primary one responsible for researching and grabbing all the good deals for Christmas online (which takes quite a bit of research!), I just don't have the time or the desire to start this game.

I should probably note that my 9 year old doesn't believe in Santa anymore. Before you think I'm terrible, I'll say that while I love the idea of Santa Claus and we do play along with the fantasy with our children when they're young, we also have the "Honesy when asked" policy. So when she came to us last year and said she wasn't sure she believed anymore, I asked her if she was sure she wanted to believe anything other than what she knew about Santa being real. She said she really wanted to know, so my husband and I told her about the history of St. Nicholas and how the idea of him lives on in Santa Claus. She thought this was great!

Anyway, this whole thing got me thinking this year. I think in some ways some people might think I've become a bit of a miser when it comes to Christmas. I just hate what it's becoming. I remember when I was little and we had next to nothing sometimes, that it didn't really matter what I got, I just remember the time spent with those I love. Now it's all about who can get the best gadgets and gizmoes. It's all about taking away yet another holiday from workers and opening businesses on Thanksgiving so people can fight, push and shove on a day we profess to be thankful for what we already have (this is a favored holiday of mine) and it just goes on from there.

Early in my adulthood, I did try Black Friday at Walmart a few times, but the last time I did people were crashing their carts repeatedly into my heals, pushing me out of the way to get to something first and one man was even deteremined that he wanted to get into a fist fight with my husband because we walked around him while he was looking at movies in the aisle! We didn't butt in a line, we didn't shove him, we just pushed our cart quickly around him so as not to block his view for long so we could make it to the other side of the store and the bathroom for our toddler at the time. Yeah! That's what Christmas is all about! And from the news articles and YouTube videos I've seen, this seems to be the accepted norm.

After those experiences, I tried waiting to shop until the week of Christmas. Then I started doing all of our shopping online several years ago, so as to minimize the amount of time we have to spend out in the crazy stores. That's just not my thing! I really don't care about this stuff. You can't take it with you and most of it's forgotten in a month anyway. That's not to say that I don't enjoy finding gifts for my children that I think they would genuinely enjoy. I do. But in moderation, so they appreciate it when they get it.

I also don't do much by way of decorating. I hate heights. I get severe vertigo so you will never catch me attempting to hang the lights on the house. My husband doesn't mind roofs so much (he's used to it in his profession), but he's not that driven to go out there in the freezing cold temperatures to get the lights on the often slippery roof, only to have to do it again to take them all down again in a month. Not only that, but we noticed the jump in our utilities when we had all the lights up and decided it wasn't that big of a deal and we could just do the stockings, tree, wreaths, nic nacs and perhaps the ground decorations outside.

Saying all this out in the open here makes me think I probably sound like a grump. I don't really think I am. But I am practical. We have a very small Christmas budget to stretch out amongst our children here (my husband and I don't even do gifts for each other so as to maximize what we can do for our children) and if I can save money by not doing some of these other things, I will.

We do like to watch Christmas movies starting on Thanksgiving. It's a family thing and we do it several nights a week up to Christmas day with all of our children. We make goodies for our neighbors (though we missed last year because I was so sick with my pregnancy).

We do a Christmas dinner and talk about the nativity and why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Sometimes that's so easy to forget in the commercialism and age of political correctness we live in now. I don't say Happy Holidays. I say Merry Christmas because I'm celebrating Christ. I believe in Him. I'm thankful for Him and I'm not going to belittle or skirt around that and I don't want my children to either. That's not so say that I don't respect those who believe differently from me. I won't ask them to change the wording and ways they celebrate their holidays and expect the same courtesy.

So if that makes me a scrooge, because I know I'm not as much fun as some of these Supermoms out there, then so be it. That's just who I am. :)