- As a first-time mom.
As I was helping my baby with his presents, I watched my two-and-a-half year old niece open hers. It was apparent that even at 2, there was a point where there’s such a thing as too many presents. I think we as parents tend to create many expectations on how things will turn out and it always ends up barely meeting.
My niece checked out of present opening after around 10 gifts. She wanted to play with her toys. She wanted to play with her cousin’s toys — they had bright lights and sounds (he’s almost one). I watched as she was sitting next to piles of presents and ignoring them and her parents incessantly asking her to open the next one.
Yes, there’s such a thing as too much when it comes to little ones and presents. I was happy that I stuck with my decision to do five gifts this year. I believe I added an extra gift that I pulled from his birthday pile because I knew his cousin would be getting a crap ton more. He also got some extras from his Aunt and Uncle so it almost evened out. He had fun looking at what he got while my niece opened the rest nearby.
But even then, we went to my parents house later on and he got as checked out of opening presents. They didn’t get to experience him tearing off the paper because he had done it earlier and was over that fun. I felt terrible. But how was I supposed to know?
I always thought kids would be excited opening gifts, but then I remembered, he’s almost one. He doesn’t know about Christmas presents and the magic behind it. He doesn’t understand the excitement of the unknown. And there’s a limit to their attention spans on something new before they go back to their familiar (in this case old toys).
Halfway through opening presents my niece ran and grabbed a bucket of her old toys to bring out and play with instead of all the new ones she just got. I had to chuckle as she was handed more presents and she continued to play with her old “friends”. It made me make a mental note to make sure old toys are put out of view during gift unwrapping time!
So, mamas, don’t stress yourself out by spending $100s on toys for your babies/toddlers to make sure they have a huge gift spread under the tree. They will be just as happy with 5 toys as they would be with 20. After all, they’re still babies.
Adding a disclaimer: This is not to shame the parents for getting a ton of presents — I get that making Christmas special is very important. And everyone is different with their ideal situations!
For this mom, setting a tangible gift limit and budget really helped me prioritize the most wanted/needed things and just make the experience of Christmas more magical by going to themed events, and buying into the “experience” gifts more!
Can’t wait for future Christmases. I can’t wait for my niece to grow and understand more about what Christmas and presents are about and to see that excitement with each gift. I can’t wait for my baby to have that same experience.
Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around, next year, I’ll know and set my expectations accordingly.
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