This is Max, sitting with the gifts of unused and brand new books, clothes and toys that we donated to the kindy wishing tree. Doesn't he look pleased with himself? He should be. Whether he realised it or not, he spent an hour very patiently wrapping them with me, while I tried to explain that they weren't for him, or his brothers, but for children that don't have a lot of toys and books. I think he got it eventually.
This Christmas, we have decided (like last year) to opt out of the wider gift giving. We have been quite generous with the children and included Ollie and Max in Will's family's Secret Santa, but Hugo, Will and I have decided that we need or want for little, and that we would rather not spend money that might be better utilised elsewhere and would rather not create stress where it needn't be. So we've opted out of Secret Santa, and further decided that there'll be no presents for anyone other than the kids and a modest gift for each other.
It's been rather nice to again not have to worry about who we are buying for and what they should receive and I felt very smug when we made the somewhat crazy decision to go to our local shopping centre two Saturdays before Christmas to return library books, to see the somewhat miserable looking shoppers, hauling around bags of stuff you know nobody wants and knowing we didn't have to do any of that. The two cousins that the boys are playing Santa to will receive (what we think) well thought out presents, our boys will be very happy with their little collection of gifts (there will be wheels and books, enough said) and in lieu of gifts for my own family, we are making a donation that we can afford to Unicef.
I love the gift giving, the receiving, the wrapping, the piles of gifts under the tree and I want to spoil our children, especially when they are being as sweet as they are today, but this year, and from hereon the only tradition I want for me, my husband and my children is that the festive season should be about being with each other, having chocolate for breakfast and our goodwill to those that need it.