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a shopping tradition

December 12, 2008

Someone suggested to me a few days ago that maybe Facebook had an impact on my blogging. Initially I thought he was wrong. I know that the frequency of posts here has slowed significantly in the last few months. The pleasure of homeschooling with a soon-to-be 2 year old leaves very little room for free time or creative thought. I determined back in September that if I were going to be even moderately successful as wife, teacher, and mom, that this blog would have to take a back seat for a while. All those things are true and are huge contributing factors to the blogging slow down. But his point about Facebook stayed with me long enough for me to realize that it is certainly contributing. I started blogging because as a woman who spends the majority of her time communicating with small children, I felt the need for an outlet – some way to get the imprisoned thoughts out of my head and into someones ears (or eyes perhaps). Facebook is an easier way for me to communicate with people about what is going on, what I am feeling at any given moment, and it only takes two seconds to update a status, as opposed to the two hours it usually takes me to write one worthy blog post. But I can’t say that it is really for the better. I have missed the thought required for blogging. It is just like physical exercise. You don’t have time for it but afterward you feel better for it. Blogging is the exercise for my mind. I know I need to devote some time to it regularly. I am working on finding it a new home in my schedule, please bear with me.

So now that I have apologized…again… here are a few things that have been rattling around in my mind…

My husband and I are going on our annual Christmas shopping date tonight. We started this tradition when our first child was born. My mom, who at the time lived 7 hours away, came to visit us for a week in early December and we took the opportunity to get out and shop for our son without the pleasure of his company. It has become something I look forward to every year. And each year about this time I realize how thankful I am that we have this opportunity when we go out at night and are surrounded by people who are Christmas shopping with their children in tow. I apologize in advance if you are one of those people and this comes across sounding critical. I’m sure there are extenuating circumstances that make finding a babysitter, especially at this time of year, extremely difficult. But I watch these kids going up and down the aisles choosing their own gifts, and I have to wonder, where is the fun in that? I may be biased because I love a surprise. I don’t like to give hints, or make lists, or suggest ideas for presents for myself. I LOVE surprises. I get upset if I accidentally stumble onto a gift intended for me. It ruins the whole thing for me. So when I see all these kids with their parents I feel sad for them because to me 90% of the fun of a gift is the surprise factor.

My other problem with this whole issue is that it really builds greed in the kids. When they walk up and down the aisles in awe of the toys looming all around them, everything they see becomes something they wish they had. Particularly at this time of year, I try to avoid toy aisles altogether when I am shopping with my kids. Toy aisles, TV commercials, those incredible mini-catalog ads Toys R’ Us sends through the mail… I am learning to avoid all of those things because they are created to make children want. There is always something bigger and better, some flashy new toy or gadget that appears around Christmastime to tempt the hearts of my boys. But if we avoid those gifts, the last minute “oooh, I want THAT” gifts, those advertisements and all the commercialism, and think back to April and May and June and remember what they talked about then – what was their heart’s desire then – we are much more likely to land on a gift that they will still be playing with when next Christmas rolls around.

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