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I'm not buying my baby anything for Christmas
My daughter will soon be ten months old. She'll be almost 11 months when Christmas rears its head. And I'm not buying her a damn thing for Christmas. Call me a humbug, a Grinch, or a Scrooge. But I just don't see any point in buying a bunch of crap for a little creature who couldn't care less about any of it.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't because she's given us hell with the sleeping thing and coal in the stocking is the best revenge. She's a great kid, but just a bit dim-witted when it comes to understanding the social and cultural complexities of American holidays. As the utterly-exhausted cliche goes, when you give a baby something wrapped in shiny paper, what is ultimately wrapped matters little in comparison to the wrappings themselves. So that's all she'll get: wrappings. She'll get air for Christmas and she'll just have to like it.
Iíll admit that part of this is my anti-consumerism/anti-materialism raging hippie side coming out, but I just donít get why the bloody hell kids (and babies in particular) need all these little plastic gewgaws and gimcracks that these companies are so eager to sell us that my daughter looks at for a few seconds before tossing them over their shoulder to cackle at the remote control or toss around my cell phone instead for an hour. They donít make toys for babies. Babies donít have money. They make toys for parents and they convince parents that by buying the toys they will receive in turn their childrenís love. Just like my refusal to let her watch ANY television, for as long as I can get away with it Iím going to resist implicitly training and encouraging my daughter to become a materialistic slave to our consumerist culture. Whoa, I need to chill on the whole adbusters thing. That makes me sound like a total tool. But I still mean it.
The hardest part is going to be to convince everyone else not to get her anything for Christmas. Grandparents seem to think they are above the laws you set down in your household under normal circumstances, but this is particularly true for gift-giving and food. Theyíve got diplomatic immunity or something when it comes to that. Iíll tell our parents that we want to encourage love, familial devotion, community, and all that other good stuff this holiday. Iíll tell them we can give her the smells, the sounds, and the feel of Christmas, without all the crap. Iíll beg and implore them not to send any boxes to our already-cramped one-bedroom apartment. Iíll remind them that Abraham Lincoln didnít need a bunch of plastic crap to grow into a good citizen. But I know it wonít do any good. Iím either going to tell them weíve converted to secular Judaism or send them a catalog of French baby clothes anonymously. Just in case they wonít take no for an answer.
What kind of a sick culture do we live in where readily-available and cheap, plastic junk is such an easy symbol for the love we have for our children? I hope someday sheíll understand that it is because I love her so much that I want to deny her all that junk and give her my time and attention instead.