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Spoiled Rotten

How much is too much? My kids had a very good Christmas. Santa was able to bring them scads of presents while we were at Great Wolf Lodge celebrating the season. After the dust settled our hotel room was so full of gifts that it got me wondering...are my kids spoiled? How much Christmas is too much?

As most moms do when they have a question, I turned to the internet to find some answers. First, I looked up Spoiled, the definition is children who experience behavioral problems from being overindulged by their parents. They have a sense of entitlement, are self-centered and are often ungrateful for what they have. Is that my kids? I think most children are somewhat self-centered as they learn about others and start building relationships. I try and instill gratefulness by reminding the kids to be thankful for what they have and acknowledging when I do things for them by using manner words like please and thank you. What about overindulgence? How many gifts is too many?

The internet had many different views as to how many gifts a child should receive. It ranged from three gifts to signify the 3 gifts Jesus received to 4 gifts that follow the motto: something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. There were those that felt it depended on the child's age or your economic status. There was a 7-gift rule and an 8-gift rule. One mom felt 12 gifts was the perfect number. No one could agree on the perfect number. My kids received 12 gifts each from us/Santa. This does not include the gifts from grandparents, uncle, or even the daycare or stocking stuffers. 12 seems to be a lot once you see them scattered around the floor. Let me explain my gift giving strategy.

Every year I start Christmas shopping early say September/October to spread out the cost over a longer period than buying everything in December and being broke. Because of this strategy, I end forgetting what I have purchased and then in November I buy another round of gifts. About the 1st week of December, my children come up with a last-minute gift that they have to have and ask a mall Santa for (see Pas Patrol Tower blog post from last year); I then have to purchase said gift to make Santa look good/legitimate. I can't ruin the magic right? Then it comes time to wrap gifts and I end up with a surplus of items. One kid inevitably will have more gift s then the other and I have to even them out by buying one last gift or two. Hence 12 gifts. I never said it was a good strategy.

So, I am back to the question...are my kids spoiled? I think the answer is different for everyone. Obviously to the mom who feels 3 gifts is the right number, 12 seems excessive and to the mom who buys 25 gifts, 12 seems like a drop in the barrel. I think the real answer for me is that I bought too many gifts and next year I will promise to be more aware and cognoscente of my purchases. However, I will end up following the same strategy and probably over buy for me kids again. I guess you'll have to get back to me next December and see where I am. How many gifts did you get your kids?

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