I came across a blog post the other day where a mom was railing on other moms and parents for overdoing the Easter holiday because, “It’s not Christmas”. She went on to discuss how she sees moms loading up their carts with goodies and for some reason, she begrudges them this due to an assumption that certain holidays should have boundaries on what we give and do for our family to celebrate or bring magic into their world.
It’s a classic Moms guilting Moms scenario and it’s unfortunate and frustrating.
I saw commenters saying, “Amen!” and “Easter is meant to be about faith, not gifts” – this isn’t verbatim, but you get the tone.
Well, here’s what I say, it’s a very personal thing to each family.
We each have our own ways of celebrating the holidays. Some are faith-based as well as magic-filled. Some are simply reasons to be thankful for our family and time together. Some of us love the big baskets that are filled with each individual child in mind, while others keep it simple. I choose to let our baskets (and stockings for that matter) tell a story. The baskets tell a story of favorites at this age and stage in their life. A chapter in their life that goes by much too fast.
The goal? That they will remember the holidays being a bit magical, but more importantly very personal to them and our family.
Why should I feel guilty for choosing the large basket, because you choose to keep it simple your family?
Why should you blast moms for reveling in the choosing of goodies and gifts to make their kids smile if that’s what brings them joy?
This line of thinking is judgement-based, created on assumptions and riddled in self-righteous thinking. It’s simply not ok.
When I was a teen, I lived with my Aunt and Uncle because my parents just weren’t capable of being parents. What I remember from that time is my Aunt making sure I felt known and considered in her life – which was a lot to a kid going through what I was going through.
What I remember is she was THE best at filling baskets (and stockings). You know why? Because they were so personal. It had nothing to do with how much I received and everything to do with the fact that she ‘noticed’ what brought me joy and what was individual to me. She filled my basket with popcorn and sunflowers seeds – because those were my favorite snacks at the time. She included very little candy, because she knew I did not have a sweet tooth. I don’t recall all the things in the baskets and stockings each year, but I do recall that she paid attention to who I was individually. It was those little things that brought the magic back into my life, and helped me feel like I was ‘known’. It gave me the courage to move forward with love in my life, when others had failed me.
I carry that with me each year when I fill my baskets for my kids. You could argue I’m trying to show love through gifts, and you would be right. Because, I find items that are individual to them, it shows them I pay attention to their life and their interests. It’s ONE of the many ways I choose to convey some of those ‘I’m present, I’m watching you grow, I’m seeing who you are as a person’ messages that I want them to have. Because just “telling” them, isn’t enough for me. I like to show them through the gifts I purchase at varying times during the year and through my actions in other ways. Let me be clear, that these holiday gift efforts are only one small element of how I show my kids I’m present in their life – but it’s tons of fun for me.
So, why should I feel guilty about that? Because you think I’m somehow spoiling my kids? Because your assumption is that this is our norm each and every week of our life – to throw gifts at them? Quite the opposite, if you must know. But, I don’t need to justify through examples, it’s giving power to the comparison game and I won’t have it.
Here’s what I propose – each of us will celebrate the holidays as we see fit. Each of us will stay true to our individual family and enjoy the holidays in a way that brings us joy and that respects our individual family’s belief system and core values. Each of us will stop pretending to “know” how things “should be” and just let others enjoy their parenting journey and the celebrations that come along the way, as they see fit. Because the fact is, it passes in a blink and I plan to enjoy each moment. Part of that may include a overfilled basket, but that’s my prerogative.
So, let’s back off the basket and tree shaming, shall we? M’kay, thanks.