This morning I woke up refreshed to start the day. My child traipsed into my bedroom pouting, “the leprechaun didn’t come last night”. Now let me pause a moment and preface this story. I encourage an active imagination. I love all things fairy, dragons, mythical creatures, etc. As a child I was a lover of unicorns and My Little Ponies. You get my drift. But there is also an importance for understanding what is real and what is not real. Now I don’t mean to be a Grinch. And I certainly don’t mean to squash any happy childhood memories for my angel by telling her that there is no Danny the Dreidel.
I think it is important for children to know and understand humility and how to be thankful at an early age. In my interfaith family my only child is very lucky to be showered with presents almost year-round. Hanukkah and Christmas roll around and there are toys to the rafters. Then her birthday comes and goes with presents and outings galore. Valentines Day brings on a new wave of chocolate hearts and stuffed animals. St. Patrick’s Day has leprechauns. Then no sooner are the shamrocks ripped down, are they replaced by plastic Easter eggs and marshmallow Peeps. Then once you recover from your diabetic coma from all things sweet, the grocery stores begin stocking the shelves for the 4th of July!
Eat! Eat! Eat!
Buy! Buy! Buy!
I am sick of it!
This morning my daughter pouted about how the leprechaun didn’t leave her anything last night. “Honey… leprechauns are magical creatures that may or may not be real. But they don’t go around the world leaving presents to children”, I said gently. That didn’t sit well. I think she wanted a Santa Claus part II. “Well, Easter is coming up!” she said stubbornly. “No… ” I said quietly, looking at her, “people who are Christian celebrate Easter. We celebrate Passover, remember? We will have our seder, and make matzo brei and –“.
“But I saw it in the grocery store! Easter IS coming!” she said, crossing her arms across her chest.
As a Jewish mother I am more then annoyed that the battle of commercialism and holiday stuff continues on. Isn’t it bad enough that I have to spent 3-ish months a year explaining why we celebrate Hanukkah in our home and not Christmas? Isn’t it bad enough that I have to deal with my daughters tantrum once a year when I refuse to have a “Hanukkah Bush” in my living room? Now I have to deal with plastic eggs and stuffed bunnies too?
Come on America! How much stuff does our children really need? I would rather my child be thankful for all that she has. I would rather her be proud of her culture and identity. I want my child to have an appreciation for the things she gets rather then looking to the next holiday as an opportunity for us, the parents, to spend more and more money on her. Do I love gift-giving? Of course I do. I love seeing her eyes light up at a present that I worked so hard to pick out, wrap, and wait to surprise her. But I want her to have an appreciation for all of the hard work that went into getting that gift! Is that too much to ask? What are your thoughts?
Are we, as a nation, over-saturated with commercialism? Do you think children are raised with a different mentality towards commercialism and shopping then we were as kids? Comment on this post! I’d love to hear from you! Have a wonderful day everyone.