Charlie has been talking about what he wants for Christmas for months. The Paw Patrol Lookout Tower. So, a few months back I bought the Paw Patrol Lookout Tower and have been hiding it in the garage ever since. Last weekend we were watching our daily dose of the Paw Patrol Movie and Charlie says, “I can’t wait to get my Paw Patrol Lookout tower from the movie for Christmas!” Well of course the Paw Patrol Tower that I purchased months ago was the $50 version from the show…not the movie. I immediately pulled up a picture of the tower I bought and showed Charlie. “No not that one mommy, the movie one.” I next searched for the Paw Patrol Lookout tower from the movie on Amazon and showed that to Charlie. “Yes, that one mommy!” The Movie Lookout Tower was $129. I reluctantly put it in my cart, and it said it would ship in 1 to 2 months. Months!!! I need this thing in like 2 weeks! I next looked at the Amazon Resellers. I found the tower for $189. To guarantee delivery before Christmas, I had to pay an additional $47. That brought me to a total of $236 for a 3ft piece of plastic with lights and sounds.
What could I do? I was trapped. I couldn’t let him open the wrong Paw Patrol Lookout Tower on Christmas morning. He had been talking about this toy for months and had written about it in his letter to Santa. Santa couldn’t let him down. I couldn’t let him down. I bought the Paw Patrol Lookout Tower from the movie for $236 (which was 5 times more than the original tower) and it arrived 3 days later. I returned the other inferior tower and got my $53 back. I know this was crazy and he would survive without the tower, but it was all the pressure to make Christmas magical for him. Can you put a price on happiness?
A mom friend of mine also experienced the same trapped feeling when her daughter wanted a Gabby Cat Dollhouse. She said they had walked by them a thousand times this year and that when her daughter said that was the only thing she wanted for Christmas, she plopped down the big bucks to make her daughter happy because the dollhouse was nowhere to be found. She said she knew it was ridiculous to pay so much, but she wanted her daughter to have a great experience Christmas morning. We commiserated together on our foolishness but then convinced each other we had to do it. The joy of Christmas was at stake.
So, what is the right number of presents? How much is too much money? There are many schools of thought on the right number of gifts a child should receive at Christmas. One school is that 3 gifts is enough because it was enough for baby Jesus. Another mom friend of mine goes by the Rule of 4. Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. This of course gives you categories to work with and is equitable for all kids involved. There are even proponents for the Rule of 10 which is the Rule of 4 plus 6 additional gifts. Something to wear on your feet, something to make, something to do, something to play as a family, something to give to others and something to do for others. I counted and each of my kids is receiving 7 gifts plus their stockings. The gifts do include something they want and something to read. When Charlie was 1, I only bought him one thing for Christmas and wrapped up some hand me down toys. I think each year is different and the number of presents will vary.
There are no rules that tell you how much is appropriate to spend on gifts. Some may feel that what I did was unnecessary and crazy. Other moms may feel my pain and have a similar situation. I exceeded my budget because the Paw Patrol Lookout Tower (from the movie) was more than I had planned for. I am thankful that I am in a position where I was able to spend the extra funds to make his Christmas special. It means the world to me that I can give him something he is really excited about.
I spent more money on my kids Christmas this year than I wanted. I don’t think I will every year. I am excited for Christmas morning when my kids can open their gifts and enjoy their goodies. This will be a memorable Christmas and I cannot wait!