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I Dodged My Worst Nightmare And Didn’t Ruin Christmas By Raising Bratty Kids

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shutterstock_167947136With two kids who are very aware of the sweets, treats and gifts of Christmas — and one with a memory of how great it was the year before — I worried about Christmas.  I worried about making Christmas special without Santa.  I worried about getting my kids the right gifts.  I worried about how they would react to presents they didn’t like.  All my concern was for nothing come Christmas Day — my kids were well-behaved for Christmas.

On most days of the year I know I am raising decent little kids.  My 2-year-old never forgets to say please and thank you.  My 4-year-old has impeccable manners at school according to all his teachers.  But still, when it comes to the over-indulgence of Christmas, I was a little worried about how my young children would take it all in.

In the days leading up to December 25 my son kept adding new things to his list of presents.  When I told him that ship had sailed and we were accepting no new requests, he harped on the five really big things he wanted.  “You’ll only get ONE big gift,” I reminded him.  Of course he wanted that one to be the Hot Wheels Triple Track Twister when I had already got him the Carcade.  So I just stopped talking about presents altogether.

Christmas morning left me with no good indication of how things would unfold.  My son woke up very early and patiently waiting until his sister was awake.  But she was a green-eyed monster as soon she got out of bed, insisting she wanted to open presents RIGHT NOW.

Oh boy, I worried.  Would they openly reject gifts that weren’t on their list?  Would they fight with each other or their cousins over certain toys?  Would they throw tantrums when they realized only a small portion of the gifts on their wish lists were delivered?

The answer, of course, to some of these questions is yes.  I mean, they are still two-and-four-year-old human beings and American to boot.  But mostly they were just in awe of the pile of gifts and wondered who had the blue wrapping paper with snowmen and who had the green with the Christmas trees.  My 2-year-old daughter just made the most amazing faces with every gift she opened.  She oohed and ahhed and paraded her loot around to show everyone how lucky she was.  My son ran over to me with a few “I can’t believe Santa REMEMBERED that!” The look of wonder on his face was priceless.

They didn’t ask about anything that they asked for but didn’t get.  They traded puzzles they already had with their cousins.  They giggled in their new tent and they chased each other down the hallways with their new Matchbox cars.   I couldn’t even be upset by the few fights they got into.  These were brand-new toys – they should have a little time to enjoy them without having to be perfect little sharers.

They weren’t perfect, but I thought they handled the overwhelming gluttony that is Christmas Day with ideal little attitudes.  I hope to keep raising decent non-bratty little kids.  It will be my Christmas wish always.

(photo: Anastasia Tveretinova/Shutterstock)