So I had a chat with the other Target moms, and we agreed on something

23 Mar

And that something was that other parents need to calm the shit down on Easter and St. Patrick’s and Valentine’s Days.

We weren’t being Mean Moms. We had our fair share of Peeps and chocolate. But that was basically it. None of this “Easter gifts” crap. One mom complained about the gifts the leprechaun was supposed to bring, and I was all “Oh hell no.”

Seriously. People. Calm it all down. Otherwise, we’re going to hear ads in June for 4th of July gifts. Because on America’s birthday, shouldn’t everyone get a gift or seventeen?

Think about it.

Sounds stupid doesn’t it?

So why are we turning every freaking holiday into a gift holiday? So our kids feel special? So they can have more joy in stuff? So you can make yourself crazier as a parent making bunny footprints in sugar and moving the Leprechaun on the Ledge all of March? So that every month, we make ourselves crazy trying to surprise our kids, then lament that they have too much stuff or you don’t know what gift to get them for Easter because they got the doll they wanted for Valentine’s Day and the Leprechaun brought them bikes. Do you even know that two out of those three holidays are, in fact, the days a particular saint died?

“Hey, Happy Death Day of St. Patrick, have a gift!”

And now the poor overworked Easter Bunny is supposed to lug a sack of gifts as well as egg.s

Well, this Easter Bunny isn’t doing any of that crap. She never did. Oh sure, my kids are too old for the little things like bubbles and sidewalk chalk – you know, things to distract them from the fact that Mom didn’t actually put that much candy in their basket. But I’m not replaces $1 bubbles with $25 gift cards.

You know that line from “The Incredibles”, where Syndrome says “And when everyone’s super….no one will be.”? That’s what we’re doing to holidays. We’re taking away their individuality by turning them into big gift giving holidays. And when everything becomes that big gift giving holiday, they lose their charm.

When I was a kid, we celebrated all sorts of things, good Irish/Italian American Catholics that we were. But St. Patrick’s Day was that day when our big treat was getting a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. We’d live for that. My grandma would carry her shamrock handkerchief, which I always looked for. We wore green. We proudly expressed our Irishness. Three days later was St. Joseph’s Day, which required the wearing of red, an Italian dinner, and cannolis. It’s how we celebrated our Italian heritage.

Nobody got a bike.

St. Valentine’s Day, we wore pink or red, there might be flowers, there was a small box of chocolates from parents and grandparents, maybe a card. And that was about it. Nothing huge. Nothing massive. But dang if we didn’t get all excited over those little boxes of chocolate.

Easter’s biggest deal was of course, the basket. Which we’d have to find. It never occurred to us that the Easter Bunny used the same baskets every year, those cheap colored wicker ones. Or we didn’t care. We were just in it for the candy – a chocolate bunny, some Peeps, jelly beans. Of course, there was that one year my mom, in a fit of health-consciousness, bought us carob bunnies. Which were not good. Not good at all. There was a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth (to get the carob off, because ew), and the evil not-chocolate bunnies were replaced the next day with proper chocolate ones.

But no one got a bike for Easter.

Oh sure, I hear “But my child’s birthday is in the winter!” Yeah, well, I got a bike for Christmas. In Chicago. You managed. Because life was simpler and full of those little lessons like “Hey, you don’t always get what you want at the best time, so you figure out how to ride a bike in the snow.” Or you learn to roller skate in the basement because it’s too snowy outside. And suddenly, that’s where the best memories come from. “Hey, remember that Christmas when we all got roller skates but it was too cold outside, so we skated in the basement?”

“Hey, remember that Easter when we couldn’t find one basket and spent hours looking for it only to realize the dog was sitting under it, staring up at it for hours?”

“Remember how Mom always got me a cannoli even though I hate them, and I’d let her eat mine? And how one year, Patrick asked for mine and I said yes and Mom was all “Wait! What? But I was going to eat that one too…”

And now, my kids have had that fun.

“Hey, remember the Christmas we had the big Nerf gun battle?”

“Hey, remember that Easter when one of the older grandkids hid a tiny frog in one of the eggs during the egg hunt and Collin got it?” (no frog was harmed.)

“Hey, remember that year we actually went to a parade in Ireland for St. Patrick’s and the nice people on the rooftop with us shared candy and waffles with us?”

Because life isn’t about what you get. Every holiday doesn’t have to have gifts to make it special. So let’s all chill a bit on it, m’kay? Give the poor Easter Bunny, and your wallet, a break this year.

I shall step off my soapbox now. Not sure how I got up here…oh, and tell those kids to get off my lawn…sheesh….in my day…

 

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17 Responses to “So I had a chat with the other Target moms, and we agreed on something”

  1. franhunne4u March 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    I can only say you attack open doors with me. Nope, no valentine here – we do not even do Halloween properly, because Germany. It is not traditional here. We do not give gifts for Easter (some do, but the are not the majority) – and if some kid finds a cinema-voucher in an Easter nest, good for him/her. Easter is not Christmas!

  2. Donna March 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    YES!! Been wantin to say this FOREVER!

  3. nanciw March 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Amen, Sister! My motto has always been, if it doesn’t fit in the basket, it’s not gonna happen. Hubby buys the candy, he works in a grocery store, so that means he buys what he likes lol. We’ve moved beyond the sidewalk chalk and bubbles into lip gloss and nail polish. Or a nice smelling candle….I’m a big spender at the Dollar tree lol.

  4. Christine Phelan March 23, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    Right on Sista!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  5. One Mile Smile March 23, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    This is the first year I felt overwhelmed with all of the hype and anticipation… my kids are both in preschool and I fully blame them! 🙂 Plus, Easter is so early this year… everything felt rushed!

  6. AnneMarie March 23, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

    Wait, the leprechaun is now supposed to bring gifts? I feel so behind on the times, and I’m only 23 years old! Gee…what is this world coming to? I get that “gift giving” is the primary love language for some people, but it gets to be ridiculous. When people try to turn every holiday into a big gift-giving opportunity filled with stuff, we can lose out on the simple, unique pleasures and joys of life. For example, growing up, my family didn’t go out to eat often, so you know what was a big treat for us? When some of our relatives would give us McDonald’s gift certificates for Christmas, and we would go there soon after as a family and we could buy anything we wanted. Personally, as I was thinking about wanting to do something special for my husband on Easter, I decided that I’ll write him a love letter and give him a box of his favorite cereal. No added “stuff” to his life, he’ll enjoy it, and it’s simple 🙂

    • phoebz4 March 23, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

      I know! I was like “No…the most the leprechaun will bring you is a green shirt if you don’t already have one. And that leprechaun is called Mom, and we’re at Old Navy buying a $5 shirt.”

      Hey, I’m short and Irish-ish, I can make it work.

      • AnneMarie March 24, 2016 at 9:47 am #

        Haha hey, that works! Those $5 shirts can come in handy around holidays 🙂

  7. lisa March 23, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    I blame the schools. My sons preschool had elf on the shelf, thanks for that one, and in kindergarten the leprechuan trashed the room and left treats, now I have to do that stuff. My mom always left us a gift from the Easter bunny though and we made our own baskets so we do that. Your right though. Parents these days are crazy and the kids are spoiled. My son is so spoiled, but now the little guy is getting it more and he is started to like it all to. And chances are we will be doing this crap till he is 30.

  8. Meg C. DeBoe March 23, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m so cheap. I fill my kids easter baskets with leftover Christmas candy…which is leftover Halloween candy. Apparently I am hiding the candy too well in my house.

  9. Laura March 23, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    Preach it sister! 😀

  10. stayathomepanda March 24, 2016 at 5:40 am #

    I’m with you. I don’t buy a thing in between Christmas and Eater!

  11. TheJackB March 24, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    Makes me happy to be Jewish. We never run into any of these issues.

    • phoebz4 March 24, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      I don’t believe you. I’ve seen moms plan bar mitzvah!

  12. rightfromthestart March 25, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    I’m with you on this . As a Brit we don’t do valentines day with kids – that’s a day for lovers. I’m not Irish so no st Patrick day and we don’t have an Easter bunny just one egg and a few hidden around the garden. I think it’s laughable that around d here every festival is about how much stuff you can get. Not a good message to send our kids.

    • Sarah April 5, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

      I’m a Brit too and agree about the valentines thing, I find the concept of including children in on it a bit weird to be honest. When we were little the excitement of the day was seeing the flowers our mum got from our dad. I think it’s a shame if children can’t be happy for other people and have to always get something themselves, it gets to the point where children get presents on their siblings birthdays just so they don’t get jealous which I find very odd. I used to love my sisters birthdays because even though I didn’t personally get anything it was just an exciting day with cake and someone else getting presents which (obviously once they had had the first turn) you would also get a go of playing with!

  13. holy craft March 25, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Yes! I totally feel the same way. We try to always tone it down, even at Christmas because it’s not about the stuff.

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