Those familiar with my writing recognize that I tend to be more curmudgeonly around Christmas. Today I will enter the virtual confessional and confess that I have allowed myself to become lax in my own ideals.
When my Irish twins were under 4, they didn’t have toys of their own. The toys they had could be used by either child. Half a decade later or about 6 months ago, I instituted the rule banning fighting over items worth less then 50 cents. This rule does surprisingly need enforcement among the big kids, but it also sees enforcement with the presence of a 3-year-old. Needless to say, desire for property seems to be intrinsic to children as witnessed by the Toddler’s Creed. (A sample verse: “If I want it, it’s mine.”)
And naturally enough, this comes up around Christmas. Christmas is all about giving property, at least Christmas as celebrated here in the old US of A. When the children were younger, this was easier. They would forget what presents they had received within a couple of weeks, so if the kids wanted to play with trucks one day and play house the next, everything was fine. Those first Christmases were spent in a 450 sq. ft. apartment, so there wasn’t the space to clearly delineate yours and mine. Now my children have separate bedrooms and their own play room. We have a wealth of space for sorting out what is yours and mine. (1800 sq. ft for those really curious.)As we approach Christmas this year, our older children are very much aware of the property exchange occurring. We have never been very extravagant with gifts. We were what I considered outlandish one year and spent $225 between the three children. This year we’ll be somewhere in the ballpark of $75-150, probably closer to the low end. I would be quite satisfied if this were the extent of gift giving, but those that recall my post from last year will remember that my extended family will more than indulge my children’s desires.
So as we roll around Christmas here, I’m curious how VN readers are raising their kids and how they treat familial property and gift giving. No, I don’t really care about your political views. You can be a thoroughgoing socialist in your house and libertarian in politics. You can even be a property oriented household and a communist in politics. I must confess though that despite my efforts at not having property within the house, even my household has witnessed itself follow the cues of our property obsessed culture.