To Torture or Not To Torture

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Christmas Eve and Christmas morning are chock full of traditions at The Other Boufs. For one, we don't just attack our presents and finish the whole present opening in 5 minutes flat. From as early as I can remember, I have savored the present opening and would open my own presents really slowly while I kept an eye on what my siblings were unwrapping. I didn't want to miss anything. I wanted the  magic to last as long as possible. Since Katie is my mini-me in so many ways...she has fallen right into my present opening technique. We take turns and pass presents out. Katie also tends to like to play with every new toy right away...so some years, we've even resumed opening presents later in the day...or the next day. (insert gasp as I look up and reminisce about how long Katie's hair was just one year ago.)

Some Christmas mornings, during my childhood, Santa would hide the present I wanted more than anything - and I would get some hints that there might be something else for me once I had opened the rest of my presents. It may have only been once, but I remember that Christmas morning that I found my new Pound Puppy in the laundry room like it was yesterday: the wonder, the thrill and excitement, the satisfaction. To pass on a bit of this excitement to my kids, I have guided Santa into leaving the most exciting gift in the family room (our tree is in the living room). And at least through last year, Katie has never remembered this tradition and hasn't even wondered about whether there might be something more in another room.

It began in 2007, when Katie was 2 1/2. Although, I must admit, we were really left with no choice that year. Santa and mama had gone a little crazy with only one child to buy for and there really wasn't any room left in the living room - you know...with the Radio Flyer rocking horse and trampoline. Katie was ecstatic to find a new train table later in the morning as we assembled for breakfast.
 (pre-addition)



In 2008, Santa surprised the kids with a racecar and jumparoo. 

But as I prepare to begin the wrapping process for 2010, I am pondering - do I want to torture my kids this year? Do I want to torture myself? See, last year was the year that Katie became a brat.
 
Although she got the 3 specific items she had asked for and did show some excitement a few times,
she looked like this most of the morning. 
She didn't verbalize what was bothering her and told us "nothing" when we asked, but I theorize that it was eating at her that she saw the push car and was jealous that there was only one "big" gift in the room...and it was her brother's. We knew big excitement would follow when she found her biggest surprise. But frankly, it pissed me off. Everything on her list had been received. 

And then Timmy saw something in the family room...and Katie went to investigate...and there was the reaction I had anticipated.
So this year, I'm wondering...do I have Santa set up the kids' big exciting gifts in the family room? For the first time, it won't be an unanticipated gift. I expect Katie's biggest surprise will  be the item highest on her list:
Timmy is getting the monorail set (if he's good).

Do you do anything similar at your house or do you have any unique present opening traditions? Is it worth potential silent pouting to buildup the excitement?

6 comments:

Anonymous,  December 10, 2010 at 11:00 AM  

Poor Katie! Don't make her suffer because her sadness will make you suffer as well.

We don't have any gift giving traditions yet, but I'm trying to start the tradition that my kid only gets 3 presents for Christmas because that's all that Jesus got. We'll see how that pans out over the next few years!

CZ

debi9kids December 10, 2010 at 11:14 AM  

After seeing Katie on Timmy's birthday, I'm thinking you might be making a bigger headache for yourself than necessary. (maybe when they are a little older, they'll understand that idea? With K's behavior "stuff" it could either end up being a great lesson to teach her or a big giant pain in the butt for you. I only say this because I know what Keith can handle and what he can't and I think even at 9, he would forget year to year and would do the same pouty thing and piss me off.)
The traditions we do: Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus before opening anything, opening stockings first, everyone opens one present at a time (or, we try anyway), big breakfast afterward

JulieBouf December 10, 2010 at 12:10 PM  

lol - that opening one present at a time must be a new thing now that they're bigger. I've been to your house on more than one christmas morning. I remember feeling like a tornado had just passed through.

I actually like that Katie doesn't remember Santa does that..it makes the "surprise" of it still fresh. I don't think it would be as effective once she's older. But yea, that pouting think... Interestingly enough...my facebook responses have all been to torture her ;)

Mummy McTavish December 12, 2010 at 8:08 AM  

We have scaled back this year... from Santa giving a stocking and one small gift to Santa giving JUST a stocking. Really, I didn't want the credit for the awesome gifts going to strange guy in red suit that smells of reindeer, and we didn't want to make too big a deal out of Santa so we decided from the start that Santa gives a little gift. The ones that will get the "ooooh, it's what I've wanted foreeeeeever" reaction are going to come from us. But that's just us.

I'd just put everything in the one place, but that might be because I'm lazy.

Erin December 17, 2010 at 3:17 PM  

I think the waiting is a great idea -

we do the same - otherwise the free for all is really overwhelming and it doens't feel festive - just frivilous!!

I love the bratty stage (looking back) they do make it through - and it is okay to be pissed - I felt the same way two years ago - What did this kid want...it's jsut a stage!!

I love your tradtions - I vote - keep them going - (but who the hell am I to have a vote...just some strange creeper:)

Love your stuff - I'll be following:)

Anastasia December 24, 2010 at 4:25 AM  

I totally get what you mean about being a brat. My daughter did the same thing two christmases ago. I was so mad.

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