Half-Jewish kids, twice the fun, and quadruple the gifts

by on November 29, 2007

in Blog,Having 2+ kids,Rant

SiblingsLook what I did! I not only made people, but I made Jewish people, just by being born Jewish thirty-some-odd years ago. I’m so proud of myself and my Jewish-people-making abilities. And my husband, he helped. He made them, too. And he made them half-Jewish, simply by being a Gentile. Good job, us! Mazel tov!

So now we’ve got two kids, a baseball team’s worth of grandparents (thanks to some happy remarriages), and the December holidays upon us. For the most part, this is twice the fun. But let us not deny the most anticipated aspect of the holidays: presents. Stuff. Wrapped packages. New toys. Baby GAP gift receipts.

You know the place, Holidayinsanityville,
population: everyone you know.

Is it even possible to control the flow of gifts so that I get to buy my children things that we want and need, while graciously receiving from other well-intended gift givers AND simultaneously avoid either or both of the following: an overstimulated, ungrateful three-year old son and an infant daughter with more clothes than she could ever wear (even at the current spit-up-amplified pace of three costume changes per day)?!

Maybe control is the wrong word. I like to buy my children things that I like or that they’ll like. I like to wrap their presents and stuff their stockings. I like to pick out the clothes they’ll be wearing next year. I don’t want to back off because others want to do it for me.

Enter the Grandparents. Some of them just do Hannukah. I know they’ll be sending us 8 gifts per kid.

And the other grandparents. They do Christmas. They can’t control themselves. They do not give one or two gifts to each grandchild. My estimate would be more like four or five. Plus us. We like to give our children gifts for Christmas. And why not? This is one of the best parts of having kids, isn’t it?

But next week I also would like to give nightly gifts to my kids. They’re MY kids and it IS Hanukkah. I don’t think the tradition is “no gifts from Mommy and Daddy.” Julian’s getting a Slinky, some Hannukah stickers, and some new socks. I’ve already bought Scarlett two pacifiers, some links to connect stroller toys, and some spoons for tasting her first food. These are not extravagant, crazy gifts. It’s just a lot.

So there’s the upcoming week of Hannukah with two small (we hope!) gifts per night, and then, three weeks later, Christmas, with god knows how many presents. Anyone have a plan for controlling this situation?

I worry that each gift does not get appreciated because it gets set aside in order to open something else. It all becomes a waste and an over-the-top display of abundance.

Am I nuts? Do I sound ridiculously ungrateful? Controlling? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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