So, the Boy likes stuff—we’ve already determined that. And he whines for stuff. Especially at Christmas. Despite our many conversations about how lovely Christmas (or any other day of the year, for that matter) would be even without presents and “stuff”, the lesson just never seemed to get through to him the way it had clicked right from day one with the Girl.
He wrote his first letter to Santa this year, and he was very happy to see that Santa from the North Pole (Canada, HOH OHO) wrote back. The funny thing was, the Boy asked his parents for a lot of stuff, but his letter to Santa was strangely sparse. Anyway, I expected my son to act all demanding and excitable up to and including the big day of gift-unwrapping. But then a wonderful thing happened: he became a grateful person.
With both his big combination-birthday-Christmas gift, and a smaller gift, he actually became speechless with wonder and awe and quiet gratitude. I guess I was expecting my little consumerist to jump up and down and scream, “Yay! I got it! That was exactly what I wanted! Now Christmas is fantastic!” Instead, he looked at us with a breathless gleam in his eyes, and whispered, “Thank you, Papa. Thank you, Mama.”
As far as present-unwrapping reactions go, you really can’t beat that. And as we had tried to explain to the Boy, that sense of quiet joy and gratitude is one of the things that make Christmas special.