'Tis the season for holiday gift guides. I love a good gift guide and enjoy perusing them while having my morning coffee. I don't think I've ever actually purchased anything featured in a gift round up but they have sparked ideas of my own which is what makes a gift guide great (in the World According to Vikki.)
Yesterday, MIguel mentioned that he had looked at a gift guide someone had written about the "must have gifts for teens and tweens" to see if the writers really knew what they were talking about (in the world according to Miguel). He said that there were several items on the list that cost $700 or more and one came in at $1000. He joked that his expectations for Christmas were much higher now and I appreciate his sense of humor at the absurdity of it all.
I had a similar reaction this morning when I scrolled through several different gift guides - many presents listed at $200 and beyond - and I found myself wondering if people really do buy some of these things. I mean...I know they must but it is so far from my reality that it is difficult to fathom.
I celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday rather than a religious one so I'm not going to channel Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas and say, "Lights please..." before giving a speech on the meaning of Christmas but I can't help but wonder if we desensitize our kids to the luxury in luxury items, doesn't that just make them want and expect more? It reminds me of the year that one of Zeca's friends got a new iPhone as a stocking stuffer. They were 10 years old at the time.
I know this comes off as judgemental but I don't mean it that way. I'm just grappling with our consumer culture. My main point is that in thinking about this, I've realized something about myself. I used to joke that I was a simple girl from Kansas and when it comes to material possessions, I think I am. I like having nice things - no doubt there - and I like giving and receiving gifts but I also value modest spending. Perhaps I am hopelessly midwestern.
I grew up working class and I've written before about my mother hocking her jewelry to buy me Christmas presents. I know that informs my choices around gift giving. I go overboard in my own ways because I can but always within our means because I will never completely leave my working class upbringing behind me.
I'm not over here making corn cob dolls for the kids for Christmas but they also won't be receiving anything from the $700 teen and tween "must have" list. I think we'll still find Christmas magical, especially considering my 16 year old still puts "a candy cane" on his Christmas list every year. Maybe we are all simple over here.