May 29, 2012 by Gina
Okay…I’m a bit concerned about writing this confession. There’s always some trepidation when it’s my turn for a confession. First, I have to wrack my brain for a confession and then second, am always a bit worried about how people may react. I’ve had this confession in my head for awhile, but am still a bit worried about what people may think. Here goes…
My son, Finnegan, just turned three. It was a really fun birthday – the first where he truly understood that it was his birthday, that we would be having a party for him, he would have cake and friends and presents. The anticipation and joy was so amazing to watch and he asked me almost everyday, “Mom, am I still three?”. So here’s the confession part about his birthday (and more birthdays to come). I feel like when we have friends over for birthday parties and then in turn have us over for their kids’ birthday parties, we’re just swapping money. This of course, is done in the form of gifts. Friends give Finn a gift and then he goes to the next kids’ birthday party and brings a gift and then onto the next birthday party with more gifts.
I’m not upset that we (and Finn) have such wonderful friends, neighbors, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that love him and want to give him gifts. We had a great time during his birthday party and it was great to see all the kids play together and devour their cake! It’s just that he (we) doesn’t (don’t) need all of the stuff and he gets so much that he just goes onto the next gift and then the next gift and hardly pays attention to any of it. I love to watch him open the gifts and get excited about them but a few days or weeks later, he doesn’t even remember about them. He’s onto the next thing in his little world.
So do you have any ideas or strategies to deal with all of this stuff or to stop swapping gifts/money with friends? Do you have agreements with friends that you just don’t bring gifts to each other’s birthday parties? Is that awful of me even to ask or think? We’ve asked many of our family members to gift money toward zoo memberships or to give “experience” type gifts and that has worked well. My parents bought the boys a swingset for their birthdays this year and last year we used the money Finn received for his birthday to buy a zoo membership.
I want my children to have wonderful, memorable birthdays filled with fun and joy. I just don’t want them to expect so many gifts and to feel like they “deserve” all of this stuff. Does that make sense? I really am not Ebeneezer Scrooge on birthdays!