Sunday, December 27, 2009


It's beautiful outside! Fresh snow...little bit of sunshine, I LOVE it!

The Great "Stay Home for Christmas" plan went wonderful. Mostly because the weather was so shitty that had we planned to travel, our plans would have been totally cancelled. So, we stayed home and had a great time.

We completely surprised the boys with a PlayStation 3 this year. We had previously told them (and thought ourselves) that they would be saving up their own money and gift cards and buying the console themselves. But the price dropped about $100 so we did it. (It's actually pretty cool...Blue Ray player and we can access our digitized media collection via wireless.)

As always, they received music related stuff....#1 got some sort of drum "drop clutch" thing for his double-bass/high hat pedal and #2 got some kind of groovy switching pedal for his Marshall. They've played together quite a bit since getting their music gift and both were really excited when they opened them. I'm clueless as to the names of the things and the particular function, all I know is that it has got them playing more, so that's groovy.

Our kids are fortunate to have generous relatives who give them pretty cool stuff...clothes, books, t-shirts, etc. We really don't spend a WHOLE lot on 'stuff' for them throughout the year. They are boys and could really care less about their clothes or shoes. They are both voracious readers so they utilize both the school and public library quite a bit, but if there's a series they want, they often use their gift cards for that.

We do splurge on private music lessons for both boys...#1 since he was 7 or 8 and #2 since age 8. I took private piano lessons from the time I was in 2nd grade through 7th grade and private flute lessons for a couple years in Junior High; Mr. Rix took private drum lessons for many years, too. We both feel very strongly that a solid music background can only lead to positive things. In that same vein, we are equally willing to splurge on quality equipment....not necessarily stuff that will last a lifetime, but stuff that they can really PLAY on. Not rinky-dink crap that actually discourages them.

It always seems that this time of year people lament the commercialization of the holidays and seem to gnash their teeth about not WANTING to succumb to their kids' every desire and yet they worry about "how it would look" if they DIDN'T buy their kids everything under the sun. I don't really understand that. I don't really care what other people think of how my husband and I parent (well, that's not entirely true, I do value the opinion of a few close friends and family).

We have taught the boys about ALL the reasons people celebrate this time of year...Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Nicholas and how The Church co-opted many of these traditions in a push to name December 25th the birthday of Jesus. This time of year is special for OUR family because it's often about spending time together, reminiscing and basically enjoying the company of our family and friends. It just so happens that one of our family's traditions is to exchange gifts this time of year.

We have had many, many lean years at Casa de Rix. We don't overindulge our children throughout the year. As a result, this time of year has always been a time when we hope to surprise our kids with something unexpected...not something we got roped into because that's just what "good parents" do.

The same parents who bemoan the "commercialization" of the holiday are the same parents who spend $200 on an Easter Basket, $150 on a Halloween costume, $50 on chocolates for Valentine's day and buy only brand name clothing because their daughter will 'only wear' Hollister and their boy will 'only wear' DC shoes. Uh. Maybe you've raised a monster who expects everything under the sun. It sure as hell isn't the kid's fault.

In my opinion, if one feels pressured into buying and indulging their children simply because "it's Christmas" and that's what's expected, that says an awful lot more about the parent than it does about society, merchandisers, or the media.