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Alex wants an iPad for Christmas and other ridiculous gift-giving nonsense

Erin Zammett Ruddy

The other night Alex and I were skyping with Aunt Meggie and Meghan asked Alex what he wants for Christmas. He said simply and without hesitation: “An iPad.” Meghan and I laughed out loud (Nick got an iPad through work a few months ago and Alex has played some games and watched some shows on it). Needless to say, Alex will not be getting an iPad. Or anything even close to that. Nick and I are pretty aware of not spoiling our kids (apart from letting our three year old play with a fancy computer thingy). We usually get Alex a few small things for birthdays and Christmas and that’s it. Because his aunts buy him presents, his grandparents buy him presents and, well, enough is enough. I want to teach him not to be so concerned with material things. Not to mention he doesn’t play with half the stuff he already has. And he hasn’t exactly been an angel this year (check out the potty mouth post). Last night when I was putting him to bed I was telling him about Christmas Eve and how we would make cookies and leave some out for Santa and he said, “Absolutely not, mom. The cookies are just for me.” D’oh!


Eventually I’d like Alex to understand a little more about the true meaning of Christmas. And I definitely want him to know that it’s much more a holiday of giving than getting. This year we’re starting to do Toys for Tots and we’ve been going through some of his old toys to donate to other charities (I loved Denene’s post about giving this time of year). I also want to teach him quality over quantity, which has always been my Christmas philosophy—get me one nice thing, not 10 so-so things, please. I was never spoiled with gifts growing up. Sure, our Christmas was straight out of storybooks (check out my babble essay for more on that), but we didn’t ask for ponies and cars and diamonds. And we certainly didn’t get them (during the Cabbage Patch Kids craze when all we wanted was one of the trendy dolls, my mom bought us handmade Cabbage Patch-like dolls—grrrr). But I think we always understood (somewhere, deep beneath the excitement of tearing through shiny packages) that the day was about much more than presents. Except the year that I asked my parents for a scooter and Meghan got one instead. I’m still trying to get over that.


So we know we don’t want to go overboard on Alex (and Nora will be happy with a box she can climb in and out of) but we love how excited he is about the holidays this year—when he woke up this morning there was snow on the ground. He looked out the window and said, "O.M.G. Mom, it's Christmas!" So we want it to feel special. But special with just a few gifts under the tree is fine I think. The problem is, what few things do we get him? He’s not into one specific activity or sport and he hasn’t asked for anything lately other than a gun, which he is not getting. In an effort to gather more information, Nick pretended to be Santa last night while we were feeding the kids dinner (pretended as in he talked in a deep voice—no costume or beard). Alex is all about being other people these days. Over Thanksgiving weekend, he called me “Aunt Mimi,” Nick “Uncle Izzy” himself “Andrew” and Nora “Gregory” for three days straight. So he was more than game to play along and climbed into Nick’s lap. Nick (Santa) asked him if he was going to cry this year when he saw him at the North Poll (mall) and Alex said no. (Alex is deathly afraid of the “real” Santa and the picture we get of him diving off his lap every year proves it.) Then Santa asked what Alex wanted for Christmas. Here’s what he said:


“I want a toy.”


“I want a boot.”


“I want something big and round.”


“I want a bounce house.” (Santa said, “I don’t think a bounce house would fit in my sleigh,” to which Alex replied, “yes it will Santa, you just have to unblow it.”)


Then Alex farted on Santa’s lap, Santa laughed, Al laughed, Santa shifted in his seat, knocking Alex’s pasta on the floor and said, “shit” to which Al said, “Santa, you can’t say shit.” And then the fun was kind of over and we went upstairs to have baths.


Obviously we have no better ideas for this boy. What are you getting your kids this year? Do you go overboard? How do keep it all in perspective?