Here’s the answer to the big question, “Were your kids okay with this no retail shopping Christmas?”
I’m very proud of them. I’m imposing some of my challenge on them, but just by the stuff I get for them. They both work for their allowance and they are allowed to spend it retail if they choose to. My 11 year old could care less about money or buying anything. My 10 year old, who likes money and shopping, has had $150 in his wallet for over 2 months now. He’s had several opportunities to spend it, and has not.
When it came to Christmas, my kids didn’t really want much. As a matter of fact, I got a text from their dad saying he had no idea what to get them for Christmas, as every time he asked, they didn’t really give him an answer. The one thing they both showed an interest in was an iPad. After ignoring that for the first 20 times they said it, I thought about it. I told them they would have to share it, but I would put some money toward it if their dad and grandma would too. Grandma agreed, dad did not. It was a bit of a relief, as I really didn’t want to give them a lot of money. It would be better than them having a bunch of small stuff that will be used for about a week, then end up at the thrift store. Anyway, no iPad in the Wissing house.
So what did my kids want? Books. The Bones series and some of the Pokemon series. We shopped together on amazon.com and got everything they wanted… used. I got a book too, Journal Junkies. I also got them each a gift card from Gamestop, as they have used games, fitting that into my no retail plan.
When they came home from their dad’s house, where they didn’t get anything extravagant for Christmas, they were excited to come home and have Christmas at our house. Driving home, I was thinking how disappointed they’ll be, as their friends got electronics and lots of toys, and all they’ll get is some books. I didn’t even wrap anything, the mailer envelopes under the tree, displaying my lack of Christmas consumerism. We got home, they opened their gifts, and guess what? They were happy. They spent the next hour reading, and it would have been longer if I hadn’t made them go to bed.
I don’t know if what I’m doing is good for them, but I’m doing it for the right reasons and I’m sensitive to their reactions to it. I’m not sure what I would have done if they were disappointed, but I know I would have tried something to make it good, yet still doing what I feel is the right thing. After seeing from my mom right before Christmas, and hearing how “ridiculous” I am for the no retail shopping challenge and for recycling, because after I’m gone, nobody will care and there won’t be any less trash in the world, I felt okay. I’m encouraging my kids and I’m not shoving this down their throats. Christmas will never be good for me, but hopefully it won’t be bad for my children.