Let me tell you about the Christmas I remember best.
This particular memory was from a year when my family was struggling financially. We didn't have anywhere to live, so we were staying in a cheap motel. On the night of Christmas Eve my brother and I asked our parents if we could leave cookies and milk for Santa.
It was an innocent request from two kids who didn't really have a concept of what parents go through when struggling financially. There wasn't any money for cookies or milk -and we couldn't have made cookies if we wanted to since there wasn't a full kitchen- so my dad balked at the idea, saying that everyone leaves cookies and milk for Santa. How average. No; we were going to leave something for the reindeer.
We walked to a nearby park and pulled grass then left it for the reindeer that night in a big paper bag. When we woke up the next morning, my brother and I were amazed to discover a trail of the grass leading from our motel room, out the door, and up onto the roof.
"Huh," my dad said. "They must have munched on the grass as they flew away."
My brother and I were beyond delighted. It was such a magical moment, and not a dollar was spent to create that moment.
Stop freaking out, consumers.
This is the type of stuff your kids will remember, parents. I know it's tempting to go bananas and buy everything for your cutie patooties. I get it. But stop to think about what you can do to create some special memories instead of worrying so much about getting the best price on some toy that will soon be forgotten.
I can't tell you what gifts I received that Christmas because I don't remember. In fact, I really don't remember what I've received most years. But that grass pulled from the park and left for Santa's reindeer...well, that memory's in my brain for the long haul.