Christmas Lists

Christmas lists are zipping into my in-box like spam, accompanied by hyperlinks to ensure accuracy. One list included the comment in all caps: I DO NOT FEEL ENTITLED TO THESE GIFTS AND I REALIZE I AM PRIVILEGED TO GET ANYTHING.

This is the same kid who asked for donations to the Elizabeth Glazier Pediatric AIDS Foundation two Christmases ago. This year’s list includes items from environmentally and economically responsible companies… you know, green, clean and not mean to labor.

Another list specified clothes from the “other” company where the raptor logo is tattooed even on the boxer shorts. I’d bet their day laborers don’t get Christmas off.

A third list read like the Sunday ad for Best Buy: gaming chair, iTunes card, CDs, Guitar Hero, Mario, earbuds for iPods.

The future fashion designer in our family asked for a dress form (and offered to pay half of it with her cookie business money seeing how expensive they are).

The oldest has not submitted a list, but careful listening over the last several weeks helped me to find what I consider the best gift under the tree. It will go unmentioned at this time as I don’t want him to accidentally stumble on this blog and read it ahead.

What stands out to me this year?

No more Legos, American Girl dolls, Nerf guns, bows and arrows, board games, Rokenbok cars, knitting and sewing kits.

No more bikes, trikes and unicycles.

No more Playmobiles, foosball tables, trampolines or dress-up clothes.

We’ve moved all the way into technology and fashion mode around here. Clothes and electronics are about all they want any more.

I drove downtown today. I parked and walked. I went from store to store shopping, passing funky little holes in the wall selling Greek gyros or old, used and rare books. I breathed the frigid air, covered my ears with a scarf and hoofed it to the places that held the gifts my kids had requested.

It felt nice to shop on foot, to not hurry through a mall, to hold knit cotton in my hands or to thumb through a book, to smell old paper and ink. I liked the sting of cold on my nose and the way walking cheers me up.

When the kids were small, I ordered every gift by mail order catalog (in the days before the Internet especially). It saved me the trouble of traffic, parking, hauling babies in strollers, long lines and competing for toys.

Now that they’re older, I wanted to touch the things I bought for them. I liked being alone and thinking about each one, holding in my hands something that I knew would be really valued (not just played with).

This is what it means to have older children. Shopping is no longer about restocking the toy cabinet. It’s my chance to spend time with the accumulated knowledge I have of their tastes, needs, wants, and whims… and then to fill them the way only a mother can.

I usually hate shopping. Today, I loved my kids through shopping. It made all the difference.

5 Responses to “Christmas Lists”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for the glimpse into the future! I am very much living in the world of American Girl and Lego this season, but your comments have helped me to stop and enjoy the fact that my kids are still kids. They have agonized over which gift they should ask Santa for (because we try to only ask for one from him), and they want to believe in the magic that he can somehow get down the chimney and out of our tiny wood stove. They have written letters admitting that they haven’t been perfect, but have tried hard to be good and promised to leave carrots for the reindeer. It is so easy to forget that they won’t always be this way…

    Blessings to you this season!

  2. Sandy says:

    Well, that was just beautiful.


  3. Janine says:

    Hi Julie~
    this post brought tears to my eyes (and also to my 10 yr old daughter’s eyes!). We are walking the line between the two worlds right now…one still enamored with American Girl dolls and all things puppy and pink….the other with only one thing on his wish list…a gift card to Circuit City. Seasons of life; each one is precious and needs to be embraced and enjoyed 150% in the now. Cherish yesterday, dream for tomorrow but live and love today.

  4. Amy Madtson says:

    I too am leaving behind the days of childhood with my two boys. My oldest will be 16 next week and the last time he something like Legos on his Christmas list was about 4 years ago. Now it’s anything electronic, and just this year, cologne! 🙂
    My youngest son will be 13 in the spring and he still has toys on his list, but it may be one of the last Christmas lists with Legos which has made me a little melancholy while shopping this season. Although he has told me that he doesn’t want to become a teen, he wants to stay young enough always to play with his Legos.
    May we all cherish this time with our children. And may we remember not to get too caught up in the chaos that life brings because one day the chaos will die down and we will find ourselves longing for one more day to just sit and play a game with our child or cuddle and read a book together.
    Merry Christmas!

  5. Kapri says:

    I am forever inebedtd to you for this information.