Entitlement

Dear Santa,

Please send me a bag full of hundred dollar bills. I’ve got children who think they deserve everything.

What ever happened to the good old days when the Christmas wish list contained items that were actually affordable? I may have cringed at the content (ANOTHER Barbie?!) but back then, everything listed was well within the $100 mark. Now, with items like a new Mac computer finding their way onto the list, I think it’s time to re-evaluate the true meaning of Christmas.

Yesterday did not end well for me. Definitely another “I should not be a parent” moment. My three-year-old bystander actually asked me not to get rid of his sisters.

It started with this comment from my teenager:

“OK, you can just get me an iPad, it’s cheaper.”

She said it, like she was doing me a favour. How thoughtful! (She had really wanted a new Mac laptop).

I had asked the kids to write out their Christmas wish lists. When I started reading them, I became slightly alarmed.

“I NEED it for school,” she insisted.

She needs it. Really? So apparently the school board has now added new Macintosh computers and iPads as required materials for school?

“EVERYONE has one but me,” she insisted, assuming I was a complete idiot.

Sweet Jesus, give me strength.

I then hear myself saying stuff like, “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you too?” channelling my own mother’s voice, like an idiot, which it turns out I am after all.

And finally, as a casual afterthought, she gives me this:

“Oh ya, and I want a shopping spree.”

A shopping spree? A spree? Does she even understand what that means? I haven’t had a shopping spree since I was in my twenties and I didn’t understand the senselessness of spending thousands of dollars on clothes!

“A SPREEEEEEEEYYYY?” I shrieked, the EEYY stretching shockingly high on the OMG, mom has lost her mind-scale . It was definitely the last straw. In my hysteria (screaming things like “WHY DON’T YOU ADD A NEW CAR AND A DIAMOND RING TO YOUR LIST WHILE YOU’RE AT IT?!), I managed to get it across to her that the things she was asking for had no place on a Christmas wish list.

At what point do kids feel that they are entitled to such high-end gifts? And as parents, we become the assholes because we won’t dish out.  What is happening? How did it go from Barbie to this?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against spending on your kids. God knows I’ve spent my fair share over the years. And I certainly don’t expect them to fall for the “I just want love and world peace for Christmas” guilt that some righteous people (usually non-parents) like to espouse. However, I need to convey to them, somehow, that these “gifts” are not their birth right.

Even if I had all the money in world, they should not expect so much. Though the “I just want love and world peace for Christmas” is a bit over the top, we need to pause for a moment and remind our children what Christmas really is about. Whether you are religious, or prefer the pagan approach, Christmas is not just about the gifts: Want, want, want. Need, need, need. Get, get, get.

This needs to stop!

As a parent I have definitely played a role in this whole thing. The very act of asking them to write out a list of everything they “want” every year has only perpetuated it. The question is, how do I bring balance back?

Instead of cancelling Christmas this year, or stuffing their stockings with coal, I need to approach this rationally. It must be a teachable moment rather than a punishment. I have many ideas circling in my head, but one that stands out. Next year, (we’re already screwed this year) I want to have my girls sponsor a family in need. I want them to feel the satisfaction that comes from giving, particularly to a family who is less fortunate. Charity begins at home, and if I can, I will redirect this entitlement and turn it into something beautiful.

I’ll give the last word to a true inspiration at this festive time of year, the Grinch.

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!It came without packages, boxes or bags!”And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

The_Grinch_(That_Stole_Christmas)

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