2011 marks the first year we have done Santa. Last year we bought Brianna a slide and two books but she knew they were from us. This year we introduced Santa, so we actually got to set out Santa stuff for the kids as well as the goodies from us.
Each child gets a stuffed animal (got these at yard sales over the summer), their own coloring book (from coalition, never been used), two books (from coalition) and stocking stuffers made up with goodies from Michaels back in November - all things ranging from $0.20 to $0.80 each, plus some toys bought for $0.25 last December from Target's after-Christmas sales. They are getting a Sit N Spin ($2.00 at a yard sale this summer) and a chalkboard easel ($8.00 from a thrift store this summer). Brianna is also getting a baby swing for her dolls ($5.00 after Christmas last year) and some Maggie Leigh magnetic dress-up dolls (by Melissa and Doug, retail for almost $14 but I paid $1.00 at the coalition; never opened!)
Those are their Santa presents. We did pay full price for a train set for Hunter from us and a kid's digital camera for Brianna. Although now that I think about it I paid for the train set with a gift card!
We spent less than $50 between the two of them and it looks like the amount they are getting is very small. But I know they're going to love everything they're getting, so that makes me happy. I want our kids to know that Christmas is not all about the stuff. I love shopping for them and I love watching them open presents that I've gotten for them, but I never want Christmas to be something that stresses me out. People always roll their eyes at me and tell me that as the kids get older, the presents get bigger, and soon enough it will begin to be a lot more expensive and more stressful. I guess I just have high hopes for our future, that we won't go into debt over Christmas (like a lot of families I know), and that we can keep a perspective about Christmas, knowing why we celebrate, and that as long as our focus is on the birth of Jesus and being with family, what else could we really want? I know that sounds pretty cheesy and probably naive to some of you but honestly, wouldn't that make your Christmas a whole lot more pleasant to celebrate?
Merry Christmas, and please, don't forget to thank God this year for what He's given you. Without God, we'd be nothing and I'm so grateful for all His blessings!