As moms, we want so much for our children. We do all we can to make sure they are happy and healthy. Adding magic into their lives is a priority, especially around the holidays—and much of that can center around the opening of presents —the 'perfect' gift. The anticipation of what is inside each wrapped package is magic in itself. No longer do I care about gifts for myself, but I now try so hard to find the perfect gifts for my kids.
The problem is I can't know for certain what they're going to love. The fear that they will be disappointed when they open their gifts can consume me. That’s why, this year and from here on out, I’m making a real effort to let go of the self-imposed expectation that I need to give my kids the “perfect” gift.
Instead of placing so much importance on what they receive, I'm going to work on letting go of the disappointment that comes with gift-giving. My kids won't love everything I get for them, but they don’t need to feel the weight of my rejection.
On Christmas day last year, I saw this in full force. My son didn’t want to wear the Rudolph socks I picked out for him and his sister. This act threw me into a funk that lasted longer than it should have. He loved all of the rest of his stocking stuffers, so focusing on the one negative thing was super unhealthy. A simple shift in mentality would have made for a better morning for all of us.
This time around, while I'm still going to search for the best gifts I can find for my kids, I will buy less. Instead of placing so much importance on what they receive, I'm going to work on letting go of the disappointment that comes with gift-giving. My kids won't love everything I get for them, but they don’t need to feel the weight of my rejection.
For my kids’ benefit, I need to let this go. Putting too much pressure on how my kids react to their gifts puts too much pressure on them. Yes, I will continue to teach them to be grateful and respectful when they receive gifts. For Christmas, though, they don’t need to feel bad on my behalf.
For my well-being, I need to give myself a break. Trying to achieve a sense of perfection at Christmas is an impossible goal. Setting myself up for failure is just going to lead to being down on myself. I’ll wonder what I could have picked instead if my kids aren't into a gift.
For the benefit of the holiday, I need to let it roll off. Throwing myself into a funk on Christmas is no way to spend the day. I want to be able to enjoy my family and have fun with the things that they are interested in playing with right away. Just because they don’t like a gift or two is not the end of the world. Maybe they’ll appreciate them later. Me tainting the memory of Christmas with a sour attitude is not something I can stomach. I can still create Christmas magic by focusing on the good things instead of reactions and the budget that went into the presents.
Most of all, I need to let it go because the best moments can't be planned. I could not have predicted that the socks would flop so badly last year or that the musical bubble train would have been as huge of a hit.
Often, the best moments are surprises. My kids' unpredictability is not a liability, but an asset—and that’s really what makes Christmas special.