Wishlists & Whining


Holiday gifts wrapped in red bows.The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes lots of family time, turkey, pumpkin pie, parties, Christmas trees, menorahs, candy canes, and hopefully snow!

No matter what age you are, the magic of the holidays has a way of sneaking up on us and settling in.

Kids are mesmerized by what the season brings. As parents, we love seeing them take advantage of it all by building snowmen, sledding, and throwing snowballs (which loses its luster when one comes at you while shoveling the walkway), but regardless, we can’t help but want to embrace what the season brings.

You may have noticed that before the conclusion of the previous holiday, stores have already ushered in the next one. It’s almost too much to keep up with, and you may even find yourself questioning which holiday you are celebrating!

For example, long before Halloween, we got a glimpse of Christmas. Some stores had their Christmas decorations out in September. I know I’m not alone when I say, “Let’s get through one holiday at a time and enjoy it before welcoming the next one.”

You also may have noticed that Thanksgiving has flown the coop (no pun intended). When was the last time you saw a section in a store devoted to Thanksgiving? It seems like the only sign of it is in the supermarkets when they roll out the Butterball Turkeys. And then comes Black Friday!

Our tradition of watching football after our amazing and filling feast has become a ritual of skipping pie and coffee to head to our favorite stores. Let’s face it, by opening the doors at midnight, retailers almost force us to leave Thanksgiving in the dust and hop into Christmas/Hanukkah mode way sooner than we’d like. Online holiday shopping has also increased parents’ anxiety by instilling the fear that if we don’t have our kids’ wishlist items in the cart by a certain time, their gifts will arrive after the new year.

Speaking of wish lists, our kiddos most likely have their imaginary (some physical) Amazon carts filled to the brim. If your little ones are young enough to believe the big guy in the red suit is bringing all of this to them, you better believe their list is growing by the day. If it’s not Santa delivering the goodies, it’s another magical figure depending on what you celebrate. Last but not least, we can’t forget the little elf that makes their presence subtly known every year.

The Elf on the Shelf has become the “It factor” in all things related to gifts. If you haven’t had the pleasure of acquainting yourself with this little guy or girl, you’re probably better off, in my opinion. This tiny treasure doesn’t take long to become a household name. While they are meant to keep an eye on our kiddos to ensure that they are behaving, we parents have the pleasure of moving and hiding the elf every night to make it appear as though they travel back and forth to the North Pole with a daily report.

This may sound cute and playful initially, but eventually, it becomes a chore that we parents add to our nightly routine. We rack our brains thinking of hiding places, so our kids can wake up in the morning to find their buddy on top of a picture frame or shower head. If you forget to perform this nightly task, be prepared to have a story prepared as to why the elf has not budged from their nook.

The good news is you have a 50/50 shot of your little ones making their beds every morning or voluntarily taking the garbage out. The other scenario could involve your elf participating in a game of Hot Potato, in which case it has become apparent that your youngsters could care less.

As their wishlists grow by the day, so does our anxiety.

In our kids’ minds, their lists go straight to the North Pole, for which Santa inevitably gets all the credit. However, those parents with children who have moved out of the Santa stage may wish he was still around. It’s easy to blame the items that never made it to your home on Chris Cringle, but in his absence, the spotlight is shining on us moms and dads.

Unfortunately, as much as we want to fulfill every request on our little ones’ list, it’s just not possible or even realistic, depending on what they are asking for! In the meantime, and sometimes just days before Christmas, Hanukkah, etc., we suddenly find ourselves outside our favorite store waiting for the doors to open.

The people we may have mocked and called crazy for these antics have become shadows of ourselves. At the risk of sounding cliché, this “stuff” we are staying up until the wee hours of the night wrapping will never compare to what the holidays should be about. Presents are something all kids look forward to, there’s no doubt about that but if they don’t get every single thing they ask for they should be grateful for what they did get as well as their family, beautiful Christmas tree and loads of sweet treats.

The holidays are a happy time when you can feel the excitement and magic in the air as the first snow falls. However, we are undoubtedly aware that there are people who also dread the holidays. Some may not have a family to spend it with or even have a home at all.

Our kids will grow to acknowledge these sad facts, but before they do, let’s keep giving them wonderful holidays to experience but strive for quality instead of quantity.

They may be disappointed when they don’t see every item from their list, but at that moment, we can remind our kids that even one present would be more than enough for the less fortunate and to be grateful for even the smallest gift, if any at all.

Happy Holidays!