Christmas Memories: The Good Toys or the Good Times?

by David Bakke

christmas memorieschristmas memriesI have a young son at home who has a birthday that is very close to Christmas Day.  It doesn’t really bother us, his parents, or him too much yet that it is so close to Christmas, I just thought I’d mention that because  we just finished celebrating his birthday a few days ago.

We probably didn’t go as “all out” as some parents may have, but we more than likely spent a little more money than we needed to.  I really don’t know why.  I am one of the most financially prudent individuals that I know, but whenever my son is involved, I have this overpowering urge to forget my common sense and just spend money.  I guess it’s because I want so much for everything to be extra special to him.

So, as goes most days like this, I really didn’t get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him.  On days like his birthday, or Christmas, or a vacation where we go to see his relatives, it’s quite a departure for him compared to a normal day when his Daddy doesn’t have to go to work.  On those “normal” days, we are basically together from the time he wakes up till the time he goes to bed, except for his nap time.

So his birthday had just about past and the festivities were pretty much over with.  Most of the company had gone home, and he and I were enjoying a few last minutes of goofing around before it was bath and bed time.

It was then that my son made a very telling remark to me.  Of course, you have to take it in its proper perspective, as he is known for exaggerating slightly.

He looked at me and said, “Daddy, this is the first time we got to play together in a loooonnngg, loooonnnggg time….”

Of course he was embellishing the long long time part because we had just spent the day together two days previous.

However, this really hit home with me.  He had just turned three, but had already come to realize that out of all the presents and gifts and balloons and cake and ice cream and everything else that we had so painstakingly prepared, the most important gift to him still was my time.

Sure, he loved all his presents and I’m sure he’ll enjoy playing with him, but what matters most to him is the quality time he gets to spend with me.

 

This is a lesson for the ages, for the young and old alike.  And if we think back to our own childhood memories, I am sure we can validate it.   When you do think back, what is it that stands out?  Is it some special toy that you got, or do you better remember the good times with your father, your mother, or whoever?  I would venture to say it is the good times rather than the toys.

I am going to try to remember this as we go through the Christmas season this year.  Of course, my Christmas shopping is already done, and yes we probably spent a little too much on our son.  But what I am going to try to remember for this holiday season and for holiday seasons to come is this:

You don’t need to budget your finances more effectively in order to give your children a better Christmas.  Better to budget your free time more effectively to give your children memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Tell me what you think!  Is it more about the toys, or the memories??

{ 4 comments }

1 Ken December 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm

It’s definitely the momories if you ask me. Children spell love T-I-M-E. I have a mix of good and not so good memories for Christmas but I”m glad to have the ones that I have. There are folks who have had it harder than I for sure. As the father of 2 sons I am determined to not lose track of the TIME with them because we only have them for a while. Thanks for sharing a reflection today. Have a great holiday with your family.
.-= Ken´s last blog ..How to Finance Fun =-.

2 David/Yourfinances101 December 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Ken–Thank you for taking the time to comment. You have made the point even more important to me.

To be honest with you, I probably over-compensate with repsect to my son. I literally do not want to do anything except for be with him when he is awake. Forgive me, “overcompensate” isn’t the right word, but I think you get my point.

They say it goes fast, and it does. Before you know it, they’ll be 18 and gone.

If more parents could grasp this concept in this country, I think we would have a lot less problems.

Enjoy the holiday with your family as well.
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..Christmas Memories: The Good Toys or the Good Times? =-.

3 Peter @ Bible Money Matters December 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Your post is a good reminder that children really do want to spend quality time with their parents – as opposed to receiving piles of gifts. The whole gift giving thing is to a degree learned behavior – so if we start them out when they’re young relating the true meaning of Christmas – and giving reasonable gifts – I think they’ll understand. Great reminders for me as a parent-to-be!
.-= Peter @ Bible Money Matters´s last blog ..What We Can Learn From Clark Griswold’s Christmas Vacation =-.

4 David/Yourfinances101 December 25, 2009 at 12:54 am

Peter, thanks for the comment, and I wish you luck in your upcoming parenthood!

Merry Christmas!
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..Christmas Memories: The Good Toys or the Good Times? =-.

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