It was a lovely early December morning with piles of Wilks’s blueberry pancakes on a giant white platter.
I had a BIG announcement and cleared my throat to get everyone’s attention:
This is the year that we are going to begin a new tradition. I have slips of paper right here and you will write your name then you will each draw a name. This will be the secret sibling you will buy one gift for this year. It will be SO fun!!
At this point, I would describe the scene as crickets. As in no one said a word. This has basically never happened at our meal table, but here it was.
It was about 30 seconds which felt like an hour to me. Then someone broke the silence with, “ Do we have to?”
I proceeded to tell them how much fun it would be. It would help us simplify Christmas and focus on the most important thing.
“But we like buying presents for everyone,” one child commented.
Then I said, “Well this will be a nice change. Right Blake?” Looking across the table for some moral support.
More comments such as, “ What’s wrong with buying each other gifts?”
Blake added, “You can make a homemade gift for your siblings.”
This, my friends, is where my tone changed from “this will be fun” to a “listen to me” tone….
72 GIFTS – WELL THAT IS A LOT OF GIFTS UNDER THE TREE from each of you to each other. Actually it’s more like 100 since some of you wrap 4 and 5 gifts per person. We are going to do something new and you will ALL enjoy it!!!”
They cleared the table with disappointment and our oldest said, “I am working this year and I really wanted to buy all the kids a present.”
I announced, “OK the rules are different for Alexandra.”
Then our second oldest said, “ I work as well and I want to spend my money on all the kids.”
I said, “Ok, the rules are different for Caleb.”
Geesh can’t a mom get a break for coming up with a “fun” idea???
As the Christmas season moved along one by one I noticed it was more difficult to stand behind my fun idea. Children began asking for me to take them to get their gift or help them order one on line but then I would notice 3 gifts. And that child might say, “Mama I did extra chores to buy these gifts.”
“ I am only buying this one for ALL the siblings to open. It’s a “family” gift.
One by one I caved.
Now I am in tears as I write-
The children love to give gifts to one another. They wrap and wrap for weeks on end. They giggle and hide and sneak around. Then they are delighted to give their gifts.
Maybe I should have started my “fun” idea when they were all toddlers.
I stand corrected. The children won. And this GRINCH needs to let it roll! 🌲
P.S. Soph made a homemade gift of a pillow for Wilks and it was the top dog present of the day. He is still talking about his new pillow- handmade and perfect .