I love presents. I love choosing a thoughtful gift, and I love handing it over and seeing somebody’s delighted face. And so it pains me to say that everybody has got to pump the breaks.
I find myself living in a time where every freakin holiday has become an excessive over-the-top gift bonanza. On birthdays and Christmas — go for it. I get it! But presents creep into every other holiday on the calendar, and there’s just no reason for it. At this point I am overwhelmed, tired, and broke. So please, can we not make every holiday a gift holiday?
Don’t get me started on Valentine’s Day. I am already rolling my eyes as I scroll my way through all the targeted ads. And most of the gifts are for kids! Now, to be clear, while I don’t really celebrate this holiday with my husband, I have no issue with those who want to show a little love to their significant other on cupid’s big day. Box of chocolates, nice card, maybe even a little jewelry — whatever. I support it. But why the heck do I feel pressure to purchase my four children their fiftieth Squishmallow and a set of heart-inspired bedding for this random Wednesday?! It’s too much.
But I think this overzealous consumer nonsense really started with Easter. When my now 10-year-old son was in kindergarten, I remember seeing a flood of posts on my social media the night before Easter, all equipped with the hashtag “thebunnywashere.” Parents documented an outlandish amount of gifts, often including bikes, scooters, and even a Radio Flyer wagon that doubled as a basket. I mean, when I was growing up, the bunny scattered a few chocolate eggs around my house and left a modest basket with a few candies and small trinkets. Now it’s like the bunny was hopped up on steroids and released into the wild determined to scale-up the consumerism of an otherwise quietly cute holiday. Thank you, social media.
Halloween has fallen victim to this trend too. My 6-year-old told her that her friend’s mom bought her a special trick-or-treat princess flashlight and a brand new sequined ghost dress, then asked what I was planning to get her. And the #boobasket trend?! I’m sorry, I’m out. Needless to say my kid was very bummed to find out that her costume, all its accessories, a few pumpkins, and the candy I had to give out were “all” she was getting for this incredibly important holiday.
Now before you come at me and yell about how I should mind my own business and not “yuck on your yum,” let me make something clear: when kids are involved, it kind of does matter what other people are doing. I can do what I think it right and let you do the same, but when little Sally rides up on her new Valentine’s Day bike, my kid is going to wonder why her mommy and daddy didn’t shower her with all the holiday love. And to be frank, that kind of sucks.
So please, let’s save the gifts for the traditionally gift-centered holidays. Limit Easter Bunny goodies to things that can fit in an average-sized basket and reserve our Valentine gifts for our actual Valentines. Let’s model the fact that holidays can be celebrated in a fun and exciting way without all the consumption and spending. Because if we keep trending in this direction, my kid is going to expect a car for St. Patrick’s Day when he turns 16.