Do your children still wish or already order them?
Do your children still wish or already order them?
Less than two weeks until Christmas Eve, and I still don’t have all the presents for my daughters (12 and 15 years old). In our basement there is a small box in which I collect the children’s letters, drawings, birthday and mother’s day cards. I just stumbled into the basement, rummaged through this box and looked for old children’s wish lists for this post. This text almost wouldn’t have come about because suddenly I was sitting on our cold basement floor with old wish lists all around me. I just had to read them all! The children’s first wish lists were painted, later the wishes were cut out of advertising brochures and stuck on until Maya and Lara were old enough to express their wishes more precisely. Typical children’s wishes: Frozen Palace, creepers, the mole game, a fabric ladybug and books. I sold the Christ Child to my children – as I knew it from my own childhood – as a messenger. Lara, my big one, found this somewhat contradictory at some point, because the Christ child was the Jesus child and she could not imagine a baby flying out of the crib and handing out presents. So she sympathized with Santa very early on. If only because she loved the KIKA series “Beutolomäus” so much at Christmas and she could imagine Santa Claus better.
However, when she told Santa in the presence of my mother-in-law, she said stiffly and firmly that Coca-Cola had invented Santa Claus. Only the Christ child would bring gifts! The claim that Santa Claus grew up on the crap of the American beverage manufacturer is still not to be killed. Santa Claus actually has a European origin. Dutch emigrants brought their Sinterklaas custom to New York in the 17th century. In the course of time Sinterklaas became the American Santa Claus and Coca-Cola commissioned the artist Haddon Sundblom in 1931 to draw Santa Claus as we all know it today.
I never really cared whether my children believed in the Christ Child or Santa Claus (myself if Coca-Cola would have invented it). So I just shrugged my shoulders and said that I didn’t really know who would put the presents under the Christmas tree. After all, I would never have met Santa Claus or the Christ child (not even Santa Claus) personally. But one of them should be! There are parents who tell their children that Santa Claus brings the big gifts that are too heavy for the Christ child. Also a possible explanation! The main thing is that the special magic of the Christmas season is not lost too quickly for the children. Because reality gets them down to earth early enough – and us too. Let us give them their childish belief as long as possible, no matter who! For security reasons, Lara addressed her wish list to Santa Claus with his friend Beutolomäus and at the same time to the Christ child for one year and then placed it in our mailbox. The wishes had to be deposited with us traditionally on December 1st at the latest so that the Christ child (or whoever) could pick it up early enough. I always enjoyed looking at the wish list, enjoying the bumpy sentences of the children, and later throwing the notes into the box in the basement.
Maya is now twelve and Lara is fifteen, and of course they have long since stopped believing in the Christ child. This year Maya typed her wishes into her cell phone as a note and sent me the list via WhatsApp. Since it is the parents who buy the gifts and not the Christ child, she no longer decorated the wish list with pretty drawings and also did not sprinkle any glitter powder in the envelope. Unfortunately, I cannot keep electronic wish lists in my box, which I think is a shame. Maya’s wishes are clear: a few books, sports gear, oreo cookies with white chocolate, a bath ball and, as a technical highlight, a mobile speaker box. Lara didn’t even write down her wishes anymore, because every piece of paper would be wasted: "I want clothes and money or, best of all, just money for clothes." To give clothes to a fifteen-year-old boy who a) fits and b) suits your taste, should turn out to be an extremely difficult action. I think pure money gifts are stupid. So I let her choose some clothes myself.
I always loved to give presents to my children. But of course it was nicer when they were younger. When Maya was four years old, we gave her a doll with beautiful long hair. Maya unpacked the doll at that time, stunned and turned and stammered again and again, stunned: "I wanted you, I just didn’t know that I wanted you." It was one of those non-wish list gifts, with whom we had hit the bull’s eye and which left a warm feeling in the stomach. Unfortunately, we parents couldn’t get the laurels back then, because Maya was infinitely grateful to the Christ child and not us (in contrast to Lara, she was very clear Team Christ Child).
With Lara it was a black XL standing horse at the age of eight, which she had longed for so much that she could not sleep for days before Christmas Eve. When she entered the living room for the mess and did not see her horse straight away, she tried to hide her disappointment and cheerfully opened the other gifts. We couldn’t stand torturing her for too long and finally gave her the tip that someone seemed to be looking in through the window of the illuminated balcony. I will never forget the relief and joy that was reflected in her face at that moment. It is wonderful to be involved in fulfilling a desire to have children!
But there are always wishes that the children cannot or do not want to fulfill. Just like the desire for a dog that has appeared on Lara’s wish list over and over again for many years until she finally gave up one day and wrote in brackets, it could alternatively also be an electronic dog. I also never met her repeated request for a baby cleaning trolley with a mop, bucket and broom (no idea why not, I just thought it was stupid). So today she claims that it is my own fault that she cannot clean properly. I would have denied her the right cleaning tools as a child.
It’s a matter of having a wish list and believing in Christ Child. When the kids are little, we buy some magic and play magicians to delight our kids’ delighted faces. But at some point this magical time is over and the wish list becomes an uncomplicated order list – and also a little annoying. You start up the PC, order a part of your wish list on the Internet and go out to get the rest of the things in the city. Then you put a tick behind every completed request and are happy when everything is done. Was that really it ?! I resist and I can at least keep the magic a bit. I do not want to process orders, but see the wish list (no matter in which form it ends up with me) as what it actually is: a list of wishes that can be fulfilled but not necessarily! I want to make my children happy, but I don’t want it to end in total consumption frenzy. That’s why Lara doesn’t get the overpriced AirPods that she actually wants. The best gifts are those you don’t expect anyway.
Less than two weeks until Christmas Eve, and I don’t have all the presents for my daughters yet. Because I do not process orders, but still want to give with love and to think. How is it by you? Work through the list or give as a gut feeling?
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