Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to all of you!

Some cool reflections. You can see Jeffrey the snowman in the large view.

We're in the grips of several dilemmas.

Medha finally wrote her note to Santa and it reflects the turmoil within her.

She's the only one - or so she thinks - without a Webkinz. She has access to the web site through her cousin, who has a Webkinz collection but she still wants her own. She doesn't know it but she is getting a Webkinz. From me. Santa is going to give her gift away to someone who needs it. We have a child in mind and we are going to make sure that Santa will do the needful over this Holiday season.

So much of this is twisted...

Until a few years ago, Medha was always happy with the gift that Santa brought her. It was the only gift she received for Christmas. She never thought of comparing notes with any of her friends. Over the last few years, she was made to realize that Santa Claus brought her friends not one but two or three gifts, one at each house they lived in. Then they also got gifts from their mother, their mother's boyfriend or husband, their father, their father's girlfriend, grandfathers, grandfather's wife or girlfriend, grandmothers, grandmother's husband or boyfriend, great-aunts and uncles, and so on. What made it worse was the nature of the gifts. People who were normally sane and held fast to all sorts of values, went berserk over Christmas. Her friends almost always got more than one American Girl doll. And, what did Medha get? One gift. That was it.

We talked this over and she understood everything I said but she remained morose. So we decided to start giving her a gift each year. That is why this is a huge milestone for her. From this year forward, Santa will give her gift to a child more needy than her but she will stil get a gift from us. She may get a Wii but it's something she will have to share with her father. I think he wants it almost as badly as she does! The Webkinz is just so that I don't hear any more whining about who has how many and how she has none. I am hoping that in another year or so, she will be willing to let go of the gift we give her, too.

This gorgeous young spruce was delivered today. But where am I going to plant it once the season is done? I don't have room in my tiny yard for another spruce that will eventually grow to be 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. I am going to offer it to my neighbors and if there are no takers, then I will have to just donate it to someone who could do with a spruce in their yard!

Aren't we lucky? This is all we have to worry about.


Anita said...

LOL - that does add up to a lot of presents for Medha's friends! Too many I would think!

I am just glad I don't have to deal with all this in any way - we keep Divali quite simple too - rarely any presents. Though on Shivratri, in Kashmiri tradition, older ones give 'kharcha' ('spending' money) to the younger ones - I still get it from my parents!

Bindiya said...

Manisha, this really made me reflect on life!

Nupur said...

What a sweet post. I guess, just like Medha, we deal with this inner turmoil in our own way. How much to give and how much to keep.
And I shall have to google "webkinz" and find out what it is. I am sure I am the only human who does not know this :D
Wishing you and your lovely family a Merry Christmas. And a warm and joyous new year. Can't wait for another fabulous year of IFR!

Vilma Bergstrom said...

Merry Christmas, Manisha!
I tried getting Mary to give away a lot of her toys this Christmas but she is still in that selfish stage (at 5). And she is getting a LOT of presents as this is what my husband, Jack has grown up with. I would have been satisfied with just an envelope with cash in it. :)
Did you get the flyer about Mini-Poms end of January?

Mansi said...

hw Manisha, that's a really touching post! and I love the way you dealed with Medha and her's so tough to be doting parents yet strict with your kids na! as for the Wii, everyone in my house is crazy for it:)

Hope you guys have a Merry Christmas!

Siri said...

very sweet post Manisha..:)

Merry Christmas to u and Medha!

~ Siri

Cynthia said...

Medha is so lucky. I never got such cool gifts as a kid :)

Happy Holidays.

Kitt said...

Merry Christmas! What a lovely white one it has been, eh?

Pelicano said...

I'm glad to hear that you aren't caving in entirely to the materialistic-keeping-up-with-the-Jones'-kids "virus". I think you're teaching Medha some great values, and anyway it sounds like it won't be too long before word is out in her circle about Santa.

Priya said...

Manisha, if Medha does give up her gift next year, I have to go to rehab or something for being so damn selfish..hmmm, looks like I have a resolution to make for the New Year. I went to Victoria's secret to get a perfume for my friend, I loved the collection they had and was so utterly confused that I got a set of 3 and will be gifting one (post-reading the post 'gifting two'), but retaining the last one for myself :O (bad baaaad me)

And Nupur, don't fret, I have no clue what Webkinz is either :D I tried figuring it out from the post, but no luck. Off to google..

P.S: My brother and I set-up our first Christmas tree this year :) Need to go buy a cam today to put up pics :))

Kamini said...

ITs always a challenge for parents to figure out (and enforce) on where to draw the line. Its always the peer group that decides what is needed. Gets worse as they get older... I need to google Webkinz.... no idea whatsoever about it :)>
Happy New Year....

Anjali Koli said...

First Gameboy and now Webkinz. Now only if I could grow younger. Medha is a lucky girl for sure :). I was almost tempted to gift myself an SLR this Christmas.

Purnima said...

Manisha...Happy holidays and Congrats for being featured in the food category of Top ten blogs!

Best Regards...

ServesYouRight said...

What a wonderful post! Parenting is never easy and kudos to you for listening, understanding and finding a solution.

Season's Greetings!


Indian Food Rocks said...

Anita, simple is best! One of the best gifts we got as a family this year was from one of my neighbors. It was a card with a note that a donation had been made to buy a bike for a woman in Africa. Women walk for miles to haul water to their homes and a bike will reduce her fatigue and improve her productivity. We got this card at the Secret Santa party, and I wonder if this played a role in Medha's decision.

Bindiya, we really don't need all that much. We just "want" everything. Balancing our needs and wants is a very difficult task. I hope you had a great holiday!

Nupur, thank you for all your warm wishes! I wish the same to you! Believe me, you are better off not knowing about Webkinz. It's just a clever marketing ploy. It's nothing but a stuffed animal, slightly larger than a beanie baby, that comes with a 'code'! That code lets you sign on to the WebKinz web site and immediately you have a balance of $2000. You can then 'spend' it to buy things for your pet and take care of it. And, you can go to the arcade and win some more $s. Each stuffed toy comes with a year's access to the web site. It's targeted at tweens and young children. Now they have come up with L'il Kinz.

Marysmom! Oh yes! That envelope with cash in it was what we got every Diwali. Mary is a smart little girl and the community we live in is so huge on giving that she will learn all this in good time. And there's always you to imbibe values from!

I haven't got the flyer and I am not sure I want to tell Medha about it either! I don't want to sit and freeze at yet another football game! But I am sure she will find out as soon as she goes back to school! Sigh!

Mansi, she hasn't asked about the Wii because there has been too much excitement. We're in the midst of another winter storm and currently snow caves and getting frozen to the bone, followed by hot chocolate or hot blueberry tea is in! I *love* that she can play outdoors through winter.

Siri, thanks and I hope you had a good one, too!

Cynthia, I think we had it good when we were growing up. There weren't so many things or in-your-face marketing and the choices we made were far more sensible than all this silly Webkinz stuff!

Kitt, record-breaking!! And it's only been coming down here all day today. I shoveled about 3-4 inches in the morning as I headed out for an appointment. When I returned three hours later, I shoveled another 3 inches. I haven't ventured out again but I believe whatever came down since has been quickly converted into forts and caves that collapse. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Pelicano, I do give in every now and then. She is about the most deprived child on the 'things' and 'stuff' front. But the joy with which she enjoys whatever she has is priceless. I happened to be there for the gift-opening part of her friends' birthday party and every other gift included a Webkinz. After the first few, they tossed every subsequent one behind their back with a groan "Another Webkinz!" Ya. It's tough being a kid, you know!

She has heard older kids talk about Santa not being real but she has shut it out because she "believes" - Polar Express-style.

Priya, if you haven't heard of Webkinz, that's really good. You are not their target market! Stay away! They are rather cute and soft stuffed toys but the web site is the most pathetic flash-enabled site I have ever seen. We had to switch to IE to register with her 'code'.

I am not promoting a hermit's life so don't get me wrong! I think it's fine to indulge every once in a while. Medha has so much more than she will ever need. I want her to be aware of that and learn to make good choices in her life.

Yay for you on your first Xmas tree! Looking forward to the pics!

Kamini, Happy New Year to you, too! I don't know if Webkinz are available in India. And yes, it changes as they grow older - which is why I think it is important to get some basic values in place when they're younger. Birthday parties are already scaled down. We only had 5 other girls at her party this year as opposed to 11 girls and a boy last year. Next year, it will be even less. Welcome to IFR!

Anjali, Medha got a Gameboy last year and believe it or not, she didn't ask for it. That her father enjoys it more is anotehr thing but we won't talk about that! Webkinz are much cheaper at $12-$15 when compared to a Gameboy and the game(s) you have to buy along with it.

About the camera: sometimes it makes sense to buy a high-end point-and-shoot rather than a dSLR. It all depends on what you want to do with it and how much you want to spend on the different lenses. Go on then! By yourself one!

Purnima, wow! That's a great honor! I don't think it's Top 10 though. Need to look again though! And, Happy New year to you and yours! And I am so glad I finally found your blog!

Smita, thank you! We try our best and do what we feel is the right thing for that situation given the present circumstances. And Happy Holidays to you, too!

Momisodes said...

Manisha,...I hope you and your family had a fabulous Christmas :)

Inji Pennu said...

I share the same feelings about giving gifts. I am horrified at the way children are spoiled with a truck load of gifts and then they fight among themselves who got what and after everything they are still not satisfied.