It’s that time of year when I am in full swing Christmas-mode, up to my eyeballs in holly jolly. Over the next couple nights I will be wrapping presents while waiting for my cookies to cool enough to sprinkle them with a big, fat Xanax. This is the first holiday season my oldest is old enough to really get what is going on, so I’m crazy excited and also poor.

As a family, we have spent small chunks of the past few years trying to pare down the stuff that we own. There was a huge purge a few summers ago that has been followed by many small ones. I usually decide to clean an area and then decide I hate everything I ever decorated it with, and call a local charity to come pick up my shitty choices. Quarterly, I go through toys and kid stuff to bring whatever never got much use (or what was straight up annoying as crap) to a big consignment sale. We are trying to get as close to minimalism as we can without becoming insufferable dorks who can’t stop talking about minimalism.

When I started planning out Christmas shopping for this year, I toyed with the idea of getting my kids four things. I have seen more and more people switching to the Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, Something to read, method of gift giving. It’s appealing from a less crap standpoint. And it’s appealing from a less crap I have to remember I bought and then hid standpoint. It gave me good feels about teaching our kids to not just care about the toys they get, but to also care about time with family and the spirit of giving and the reason for the season and all that jazz.

Then I remembered Christmas mornings when I was a kid.

Waking up at an ungodly hour to piss off my mom and then dragging the whole family downstairs while it was still dark outside and HOLY SHIT ALL THE PRESENTS.

I loved spending time with my family on Christmas. I loved decorating. I loved baking with my grandmother. I loved watching Rudolph and The Grinch on TV with my sisters. I loved singing along to carols in the car with my mom. I loved buying cheap junk with my own money and wrapping those gifts for everyone in my family. And I managed to do all of that while still really, really, REALLY loving getting a bunch of crap. Toys, man. Toooooooys. That was the big-ass cherry on my month of falalalala-ing.

Christmas may be too commercial. It may be dumb to buy our kids a bunch of shit made in China. My kids will probably not care about Paw Patrol in a year or two, and I will end up consigning or passing on a chunk of what they are going to open Christmas morning. But they’re going to have that same thrill and sense of wonder when they comes down the stairs at 5am— Christ, I better be exaggerating that bit— that I remember having as a kid. Christmas and birthdays are when I like to spoil our children, because we don’t buy them toys outside of those two days for the rest of the year. And I’m not talking about some mile-high mountain of presents. But to come downstairs on Christmas morning and see four presents, and one of them is socks? BOOOOO.

When our kids are older and presents shift from $12 action figures to hopes for electronics and really stupid looking clothes with name brands on them, I will revisit the four presents idea. It will probably suit us better then. But this year? I’m pumped for toys and crap and an amazed three-year old peeing his pants with joy all over my hardwood floors.


(This post originally appeared on No Purple Walls)

About the author: Sara Farrell Baker is a world-class complainer and champion of swears. A mom of two and wife of one, she enjoys making things, drinking beer, and eating garbage. She is the voice behind, and her work has been feature on websites like Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, and YourTango. You can also find her oversharing and not showering on Instagram (@nopurplewalls).


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