How Many Holiday Gifts Should Kids Get?

I have been struggling about gift giving this year.

George, this guy that is super hot, doesn’t talk about his feelings, and happens to be my husband, is all about extravagant Christmases: a living room full of toys that kids take all day to open.

Last year, without consulting me, he went to a store and got the kids a bunch of what I call trash toys, or plastic artifacts that are cheap, break easily, but are good to fill in the gift gaps.

I was pissed!

Then I remembered that it was the Holidays and that George is a decent husband 90% of the time, so I just said condescendingly: “you will regret it,” because I am smooth like that.

Christmas day arrived and, sure enough, the kids were not able to handle so many gifts. By 3pm they had given up on opening packages and they were ready to move on to better activities- yes, they are lame sometimes.

I gave George the loving look of “I told you so,” and made him hide the rest of the gifts in the garage to return them the next day, because women ARE PSYCHIC! And men should not doubt our predicting abilities.

This year, I waited until November to have the # of gift conversation with my husband, and, this time, it involved death threats. I don’t think is right for children to get a lot of gifts, plus, we need to remember that to whatever we buy, we need to add what grandmas, aunt, and uncles get them, too.

The whole situation was made worst because we are going to Chile for the Holidays this year and my whole family down there is into raw/vegan/non-materialistic/zen master/meditate all day sh*t.

Last November, my sister and Irish twin wrote in the family chat that there is a maximum of 2 gifts per child this year and THAT IS IT! “If anybody has a problem with that, go to hell,” she wrote. As you can see, my Chilean family has a real problem with expressing their emotions, and you know who that message was directed to: us, the Americans.

I took some time to respond because, how could I break the news to George? I had two options: a war with my husband or my Latino family. You can guess who I chose to fight.

Although I take issue with not being able to decide how many gifts I can get my kids, I also started feeling relaxed and happy about not having to buy (and then transport) a bunch of junk. My kids are 3 and 5. They are very cute, but not that sophisticated. 3 small gifts will make them as happy as 15 toys. I also realized that I am not interested in receiving anything this year. I have everything I could hope for. George and I talked about getting each other something really small and that is it.

So, here is my question to you, how many gifts are you getting your kids? Friends? Special other?

How many gifts do you think is right for children to get?

I would love to hear your comments.

The good side of all of this is that we are saving tons of money this year – insert happy millionaire emoji face.

Finally, let’s take a moment to admire the sweet children I have. The photos in this post make me want to hug them until they suffocate.

Let Us Connect:

Park Politics: How To Handle Children (And Parents) At The Park your children to the park requires high social skills. Meaning that, as parents, we need to make wise decisions about our kids’ interactions with other kid, and, most importantly, with other parents.

My favorite method is to sit back, read a book, and let children do their thing. Interceding only when necessary, aka when a kid is crying or close to death.

95% of the time conflicts get resolved just fine when adults don’t get involved, but figuring out when the other 5% of the situations are happening, that is the art of parenting at the park.

My kids are not the worst behaved in public places, but they are not the best either. I wonder if this is a boy thing, but they are always at the verge of making trouble. Pushing others too hard, throwing random elements to the sky, or not taking turns at the swing. These troubles don’t fly well with some parents, so I get involved. have come to realize that most of the time I reprimand my kids is not because they are doing something very bad, but because of how other parents are judging the situation.

For example, your child goes to another child and takes away a toy (this has happened to me around 197 times, but, who is counting). The other kid doesn’t seem to care. He/she moves on to the next thing, but you look at his/her parent and the story is different. That parent didn’t like your kid stealing something away from his/her kid, so you intervene and scold your child and return the toy. That, right there, is the perfect example of park politics, my friends. An unnecessary action to protect yourself from the hate of another adult. It has nothing to do with your kids or parenting, as you see, but everything to do with the desire to be liked by others in public spaces (or in life).

The difficulty for me is that I want my children to explore freely, but I also want them to be polite, and we all know that polite boundaries for children are widely different than those ones for adults, don’t you think?

How do you handle awkward situations that involve young kids, other kids, or adults in public spaces? Any special advice you can give? Do you care about other parents judging you? Or, do you think kids should do their thing? Just wondering.

Thanks for stopping by and, here is a post about criticizing how others do parenting, and how many kids are enough.

Let Us Connect:

A Surprising Consequence Of Traveling Without Children

I took a trip to Chile for 10 days last month.

Before going, I felt a lot of guilt about leaving my kids for so long. They are 2 and 4 years old and I thought they were too little to be without their mom for 1/3 of a month! 10 days is a lot of days! I was afraid they were going to resent me.

Part of me wanted to cancel the trip, but my dad got sick and I wanted to see him. I found myself looking at ticket prices with the hope of taking my kids with me. I even consulted with George to see if it would be OK for me to take the children and leave him behind for 10 days. Luckily, my wise man talked me out of it. He assured me the kids would be all right; he reminded me of the difficulties involved in a 13 hrs plane ride with young children (duh!); and, he brought to my attention how hard it would be to see and enjoy everybody in Chile while attending the needs of those two (double duh!).

He was so right… what was I thinking? I decided to go and left the kids in the care of George and our wonderful nanny, Ines (she has been with us since Victor was 6 months old).

In the beginning, I was surprise about how little I missed my kids. I was so busy that I could hardly think about them. At the end of the trip, of course, the story was different… I was so ready to kiss and hug them for hours on end… I missed them terribly.

Finally, I got back to LA fearing they would be angry at me for leaving them alone for so long… I was SO wrong. I didn’t only get a LOT of love from those two (I wish I had a video of the reunification – it was beyond adorable), but, to top it all, they started a WAVE of PERFECT behavior. It was like they had reincarnated into flawless children that were deferent and sweet, went to bed on time, ate their food without complain, and didn’t fight for every single toy in existence. It was a miracle.

You see, before leaving, I thought we were stuck in a funk. Our moods and needs were not synchronizing and there was a lot of trouble all around – typical motherhood problems – but this 10 days trip solved it all. It was a MIRACLE that is still happening now… 2 weeks later.

Since I got back from Chile we are all dancing to the same tune and I love it.

What about you? Have you left your kids for longer (or shorter) periods of time? And, if you did, how was their behavior afterwards? On the other hand, if you haven’t left them for long or short periods of times… are you afraid to do so? Do you feel guilty about doing it? I always like to hear your comments.

Also, photos from my trip to Chile, a post about how many kids is enough, and pictures of our trip to Costa Rica.

Let Us Connect: