How was everyone’s holiday? To say how totally unprepared I was would pretty much be an understatement. With all that has occurred, my Christmas spirit came and wen; it didn’t really stick. As a result, I got a late start on my shopping. I mean.. really late. Like, Christmas Eve Late.

We returned from Texas around 2:30-3:00 AM and when I made it home, I had just enough Christmas spirit juice left in me to wrap the gifts that I had gotten for my children. Considering the time that I had to shop, I thought I did a pretty swell job and racked up on some nice gifts. I could have saved so much more money on things had I shopped early though. This is another reason why I will never do ALL of my Christmas shopping on the Eve. But, that’s IF my little family and I will even have Christmas next year.

Why? Because of how my children reacted Christmas morning, mainly my daughter. My son, he’s pretty much easy to please and once he opened his table train set and it was assembled, he had no other worries in the world. He was content. Satisfied. Grateful.

On the other hand, my daughter asked, “So, is this all?” As if clothes, toys, shoes, make-up, etc. wasn’t enough. As if spending $400 on the gifts that I actually had gone to the store for wouldn’t suffice. Like the gifts in transit wasn’t enough. I usually give gifts on Christmas and New Year’s, but this year, I wanted to give some gifts up until NYE. But what my daughter received today, wasn’t enough. NOPE.

Were my feelings hurt? Slightly. And only slightly because I knew I had other gifts stashed away. But, I wanted to actually see if my children would be fine with what they received Christmas morning. My son passed the test. My daughter.. :rolls eyes: :harder:

I am partly the problem and now I realize what I have to do to make my kids a bit more appreciative.

Reduce random gifts given throughout the year. I honestly believe that this is the source of the problem. Sometimes Most of the time Usually everytime I’m in the store, I leave with a toy, nail polish, books, etc. for my children. From now on, that $5 toy car and that cute little baby doll will be staying on the shelves in the stores.* After all, they have bins filled with dolls and cars. They’ll just have to make due with what they have. If it’s not a necessity, it doesn’t come home.

Reiterate the value of giving rather than receiving. Usually around this time, I’m in their room searching for toys that hardly get any play to give away to the local thrift stores or wherever I can drop them off. I think it’s time to teach them how to gather all the toys they no longer want to play with so they can drop the toys off themselves. In order to get a new toy, they need to select a few that they no longer want and give it away. I don’t see that going well, but I will be giving it a try.

Get them more involved with service work. I think my kids need to see what’s it’s like for families who aren’t as fortunate regardless of what their circumstance may be. I figured my son was a bit too young this year to really understand, but since he’s turning four in January, we’re definitely going to give it a go.

I’m not sure if this is going to work, but something needs to be done. My daughter apologized and it really seemed sincere, but I’ve made up my mind. My parents didn’t raise me to be unappreciative. It was just the opposite. I’m sort of torn in regards to how I should feel about my children having so many people in their lives that are willing to give them whatever their little hearts desire.. even though Mommy has already said no. After all, the last thing that I want to do is be ..


Overall, Christmas was OK around these parts. No. Christmas turned out to be quite wonderful, especially considering all circumstances. The food was amazing. Important lessons were learned. And love was shared.

And for that.. I am grateful.

*..mayyybe a toy here and there. no?

You May Also Like ❤

And They Did

Gratitude in Quarantine 001

They Always Will

  1. Rekita

    December 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    that is a beautiful tree and i love how you took a picture of it, from that angle it looks so grandiose.

    Hope You a great Holiday, Rae!

    1. Rae

      December 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Thanks! I’m very anxious to greet the new year!

  2. Hanny

    December 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I did the same thing, I did last minute Christmas shopping. I def think service work wil be great for them. We did a few times during middle school and high school and it made me appreciate more what I was given during Christmas instead of whining.

    The house is well decorated and the photos are amazing!


    1. Rae

      December 28, 2012 at 8:16 am

      Hanny, I will NEVER do last minute shopping again!

      I also did service work when I was younger and whenever I have the extra time, I do it and I donate. It definitely made me more appreciative.

  3. Helen

    December 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I did read somewhere online that American children have the lowest tolerance for what bad Christmas present in the world and I guess that extends to not having “enough.” Either way, I hope you had a wonderful holiday! Love the tree!

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      It must have been written about my daughter. LOL!

  4. Faith

    December 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I think you completely have the right idea. This is something I will do when I have children in the future as it is what my parents did to us.

    I was surprised to see how many people stated they did all their Christmas shopping Christmas Eve.

    Glad to hear that you had a good Christmas regardless of your daughter’s reaction to her gifts :)

  5. Carrie

    December 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I love your tree! I think I fell in love with a lot of people’s Christmas trees because we didn’t have one this year, not last year either. We still had a wonderful Christmas, just no tree. We don’t have kids, so there wasn’t a need for one. However, next year – I want a white tree. I don’t care if I have to buy one 6 months in advance, lol!

    Kids are going to be unappreciative at times. They just have to learn as they grow.

    Have a safe New Year! =)

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:59 am

      awww.. no tree? Hopefully, you can get one for next year. Maybe even a live one–there’s a lot of care involved and the mess is inevitable, but I think it’s worth it.

  6. Shannon

    December 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I had the same problem with my son. He was much younger, though, about 4 or 5 years old but he’s gotten a lot better. He’s definitely a spoiled child. He gets things from his father, his grandmother and I all of the time and practically has everything he wants. But now, even with his spoiled behavior, he seems a lot more appreciative of things because he is surrounded in school by children who don’t have much. His little heart is on lol He comes home with stories about other children that make him sad and he always wants to take his toys to school to give them away. I didn’t do anything to get him that way really, he just sort of grew into it. I’m sure as your baby girl gets older she will get better with understanding, that’s how it usually works.

    These are very lovely photos. I was actually squinting my eyes trying to figure out what is in your son’s hand that has him so intrigued lol

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

      Your son is quite the philanthropist, and that’s truly amazing. My daughter used to be that way and I’m just hoping I can get her back to realizing how blessed she is.

      My son had a watch my brother bought him for Christmas in his hands. I had to try to remember what he was doing at the time to remember what he had in his hands! LOL!

  7. Cece

    December 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    That you got it all done on Xmas eve is amazing! I’m glad you tested your children with less gifts. I think it’s a good thing to know and hopefully catch while they are young. Christmas gets so lost in stuff and it doesn’t have to be that way. Hope you had a nice Xmas. Pretty tree!!

  8. Teems

    December 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Those are good ideas. My husband and I were just talking about how much we would put into Christmas for our son. He is just a baby so we only purchased three small gifts. But I am not sure we are going to just overload him with gifts every year. God forbid we have a bad year, I wouldn’t want him or us to feel bad and unappreciative. Happy Holidays!

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:55 am

      You know, this happened to my parents one year. My daughter had been so used to getting everything under the sun from them and one year, it didn’t go like that. My mom was hurt, not because of my daughter’s disbelief that there weren’t more gifts, but because she had started so late with her shopping and didn’t get what she wanted to get her. But everything worked out, because that year, she really got more than enough. I really don’t believe she knows how blessed she is and I’m working on making her realize it.

  9. toi

    December 27, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Your daughter’s comment reminds me of how my nephew responded to a thoughtful present his auntie gave him one christmas. She will change her attitude, so don’t give up on the holiday spirits.

    Our christmas was quiet with only hubby and our daughter.

    Have a great rest of the festivities and a wonderful 2013

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Kids these days. I’ve decided not to give up just yet. Hopefully my plan works out.

  10. Yetti-Writes

    December 27, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I honestly think it’s other influences… from T.V to kids at school. But you know you did your best and that’s all that matters. She’ll learn eventually. My siblings played that last year… and then they were taught a stern lesson when their birthdays were not as plentiful.

    Hope you enjoyed your day otherwise!

    – Yetti

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

      I tried to pull that on one of my birthdays and learned a VERY valuable lesson.

  11. Abbey

    December 27, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Those are some beautiful shots and looks like they had a great time tearing away at those presents. I had a great holiday, hope the awkward rush of being late for Christmas preparation was fun.

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

      You know, it was frustrating but once I got to the register, all that frustration faded. I think I did a pretty good job, but I’ll never do it again! (:

  12. Kiara

    December 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Reducing random gifts and community service seems like they would help your children understand things better. Your daughter was probably thinking about all the gifts she gets on the regular and expected 10x more for Christmas. And at their ages, they probably think every kid in the world gets piles and piles of Christmas presents and it would be a good idea to show thm that that’s not the case. But, it’s good that she apologized. And I’m glad you had a good Christmas overall!

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:51 am

      I’m sure that’s EXACTLY what had gone through her little mind, but it is true. They get entirely too much on the regular and I’m putting a stop to it.

  13. Kim @ Team Howard

    December 27, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I imagine that it’s hard to figure out how to parent the way our parents did. I reflect on how I turned out and what I think my parents did to contribute to that, and it’s hard to pinpoint. I always think of how they raised me to value work, especially in the classroom where my students want a grade handed to them. I think you hit the nail on the head with the ways you plan to instill in them a great ful and appreciative spirit!

  14. Georgina

    December 27, 2012 at 10:21 am

    You are CLEARLY a wonderful mother – children are going to be children and forget themselves and how truly lucky they are. You are so hard on yourself, they are so lucky to have someone who cares so deeply :)

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:49 am

      I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that. And you would think with all the times that I’ve heard that, I’d listen by now. I really am my own worst critic. But I thank you, sincerely!

  15. Krissy

    December 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I am so so glad Jas seems to appreciate everything. I could give her a bag of dirt and she’d smile big and tell me thank you. I love this about her and I hope it never ever changes.

    1. Rae

      December 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

      I’m just hoping I can get my kids back to their appreciative little selves.

  16. Tamara

    December 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I won’t lie, it even hurt ME a little bit just reading about your daughter’s reaction to her Christmas gifts. I know how hard you work and sometimes we can feel like it’s never enough. You remind me so much of my even if I don’t have any kids when I say “we” I’m really meaning HER in relation to you Lol. Nevertheless, you realize where you can make some changes in order for your little people to grow up and be well rounded individuals. So you’ve accomplished something A LOT of parents havent. (Clearly, with all the crazy teen shows on TV these days…) I’m proud of you. Good luck with the new goals you’ve set with involving the kids in service work, etc.

  17. Russo

    December 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    The issue, a lot of times, I’ve noticed does come from external factors. Kids will be kids, and don’t fully comprehend the holidays and the value of receiving gifts. Community service will definitely change that. Once you see how fortunate you are, and that not everybody is as blessed as others, it shifts perspectives. Tremendously.

    Either way, glad it was still enjoyable! And no worries, it’s all part of the growing pains.

  18. javacia

    December 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I’m not a mom, but I think your ideas for making your kids more grateful are great!

  19. Lilli

    December 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Great post, you make many great points. I’m a firm believer of the 1-in-1-out rule. If you get something new then an old item has to be given/donated. It works great with keeping my closet in check and updated. It’s also good because it shows kids how they will grow out of toys and it’s okay (better yet, great) to donate an old toy for something they may want. I’m also very strict and like to keep things clean. If they forget to pick up toys/clothes after they have been reminded, you can grab the item and store it. Once the week has ended they can do chores (or educational activities) to get items back. Sometimes kids even forget about toys and this is another way to show them how they don’t really need everything they have.

    Also, a tip on shopping. I’m an off season shopper. I’m all about the deals and will never pay retail price for anything. I like to buy winter clothing when winter ends, and summer clothing as soon as summer ends. Stores just want to get rid of merchandise so you can find many great deals. I’ve been know to get some serious Christmas shopping done months in advance and for a 1/4 of the price. I like to always keep a look out for good deals on gifts and store it for up coming birthdays/Holidays.

    * side note- I’m not a mom, but was the eldest of my family, so I’ve practically raised my younger brothers and tons of cousins who lived next door.

    PS thanks for the comment! Hope you keep coming back!


    1. Rae

      December 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

      I’m generally an off-season shopper as well, but sometimes I want what I want when I want it. Like right now, I want to catch the Christmas sale because my son’s birthday is in two weeks, but I won’t be spending too much considering how much I spent for Christmas.

  20. Lilli

    December 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Just thought I’d let you know, your feed burner link isn’t working, had to do it manually.

  21. Tamika D.

    December 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Beautiful tree. If only people knew the REAL meaning of this season! Great post.

  22. Vonna

    December 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Your children are beautiful! Finding ways to make kids more grateful is challenging. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  23. Colette

    December 28, 2012 at 6:15 am

    I think it is pretty hard to resist spoiling your own kids. I don’t have kids yet, but I am sure I would want my kids to have the best tehy could. But it is important to teach them gratitude and to appreciate things. Of course they are still young and may not quite understand what you want from them and why you are not giving them that much, but don’t give up! An enhanced lesson is a learned lesson! Soon enough they will pick it up :)

    PS: Your Christmas Tree is very beautiful!

    1. Rae

      December 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Yes, it is VERY hard not to spoil them. I would give them the world if I could, but I’m trying to make them a little more appreciative for the efforts and sacrifices that I make for them.

  24. Samantha Bangayan

    December 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I am super impressed with all the shopping you were able to do on the absolute last day before Christmas! =) And more importantly, what you were able to take from the holiday. I’ve got to admit, living in Peru has opened my eyes to those less fortunate and I think your last point is an especially valuable one. I hadn’t realized how sheltered I was until I saw the people who were in so much more need. I love that you’re working toward gratitude as a family and that you still had so much gratitude coming out of that day! Thanks for setting an amazing example, Carla. =)

  25. Tamarian

    December 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I definitely feel where you are coming from.. I made sure to allow my daughter to participate with donating toys to the less fortunate kids through her dance class and my job. I do agree with the things you have stated to help them learn how to appreciate the things they do have. Something I never really did was buy random gifts I guess that’s why I go all out on Christmas. We work so hard and I know we want to give our children the best but we want them to learn lessons as well.. I think you’re a great mommy and I know your strategy will help her understand. :))

    1. Rae

      December 31, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      Well I’m definitely going to be more like you and refrain from buying so much throughout the year. I think that’ll help tremendously!

  26. Britton

    December 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Merry Christmas! I definitely feel where you are coming from with your daughter! My daughter’s birthday was about a week ago and I gave her most of her gifts at her party (which as expensive it was, should have been a gift in and of itself). Anyway…on her bday I saved one gift to give her, and she was like “is this all I get?” I could NOT with her! LOL!

    1. Rae

      December 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      What are we going to do with them?

      BTW, Happy Belated birthday to your little one!

  27. Kay

    December 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Girl bye! You could of been like me and did NO Christmas shopping. My daughter is at that age where she could care less about Christmas. I read her stories on what the day was and she still had a question mark on her face. lol I guess that’s better for me. I do buy her gifts and little trinkets over the years because of because. I hope that I’m not starting something for the future as well. When we travel, there is a 90% chance we’re shopping. Whether its traveling back home to the Caribbeans or local in the united states.

    1. Rae

      December 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      LOL! Sometimes I can’t resist when we’re out but I really plan to stick to my guns this year, though.

  28. Tanay

    December 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    It HAS to be the day and age. I have a 3 year old sister who when told she wouldnt get any gifts from santa if she misbehaved simply shrugged and said “so what, mommy always buys me gifts, you buy me gifts and so will daddy and my brother”. I think growing up kids are becoming more expectant and a little less grateful. We need to remember to instill the values that were instilled.

    Love your blog! New follower =)

    1. Rae

      December 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Oh wow! Maybe it is. I hope little sis can realize how hard you all work and the effort you put in to make her Christmases special.

      And thank you for stopping by! (:

  29. G K

    January 2, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Oh, Carla. I’m sorry.

    I remember having that same question one Christmas morning (though I was old enough to know not to actually VOICE it). And I look back on that and realize that I wasn’t a bad or ungrateful kid. I was a kid who was used to getting so much more. I seriously had been raised to believe that Christmas morning should be good and plenty.

    I’m trying my hardest not to raise my kid to believe that, but we, too, have moments. My husband recently bought my daughter a Rudolph doll. Instead of her immediately saying thank you, she said, “Well, where’s Santa?” *sigh*

    So I feel you. You gave some great tips we all need to follow as parents. Stop giving these kids so much. We’ll make them better people.

Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...

No Trackbacks.