“Is that all there is?” The dreaded statement heard from children all over the country around the early afternoon of Christmas day. This can become a tense situation that makes parents feel inadequate and a bit distressed. I say distressed because, when hearing their child say this, most parents immediately wonder why it is that their little ones are so ungrateful. In this day and age of immediate satisfaction, it’s a very difficult thing to (a) get a child’s attention when it is being bombarded from every angle by M&M’s, Nickelodeon, Toys-R-Us, McDonald’s, and the like and (b) *keeping* their attention. Parents spend a lot of time, energy, and money on things like Christmas and birthdays. To hear a child say something that makes them immediately think, “My child is a spoiled brat,” can be a very bitter pill to swallow.

Every year at Christmastime we try to begin filling the underside of our tree with gifts. Little by little, they begin to reproduce to the point that the boys eventually see the growing pile and begin to appreciate it. My 5 year-old will begin to organize the presents, all the while telling me “Look at this pile of presents Daddy! There’s SO many of them!” I don’t remember specifics, but I’m pretty sure I was not like this as a child. Quantity was everything when I was little. The bigger my pile of loot on Christmas morning, the happier I was. I could’ve been sitting on a pile of underwear and socks that were wrapped up, and I wouldn’t care – as long as I had the highest number of deliciously covered presents.

Makes me wonder, and almost feel a little bit bad that I, as a kid, probably put my parents through such an experience. I do remember that if my brother got something, I’d get the same gift, or the same type. For example, he got a book, I got a book. He got a Star Wars toy, I got a Star Wars toy. Our stockings were even more identical. He got a chocolate Santa, I got a chocolate Santa. It was all about keeping up with him. I realize now how difficult a task this is, and must have been for my parents.

The moral of this post is this: Mom and Dad, you raised me right. Even if I whined and complained as a kid – I now get it. I get that it’s about the thought, the act of giving, that’s the important part of exchanging gifts at Christmas. If I didn’t show it as a child, I want you to know that I get it as an adult, and I’ve taught to my children, what you tried my entire childhood to teach me. Better late than never. I’m humbled to have little boys who are grateful. Yes, we spoil them, but they don’t *expect* to be spoiled…and that’s why spoil them even more! I’m definitely a proud father of some wonderfully, and perfectly spoiled “brats!” I love you boys, Merry Christmas to all three of you.