Happy Holidays!

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From all of us to all of you, our very best of the holidays! May 2017 be filled with much merriment, health and success!

Not so secret Santa

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My first reaction after he asked to go out and buy something else was to shut it down. I’d already taken time out of my day to go to two separate stores to buy the gifts and with dinner to make, skis to wax and driving to co-ordinate with other families, adding another trip to a store was non-negotiable. Heap on top of that the fact that I was the one pushing for this to be done ahead of the night before the exchange was to happen and I felt secure in my inflexibility. He pouted. I simmered.

After a short while he came back and explained how his secret Santa had “finally” told him what she wanted, and then it hit me. These secret Santa gift exchanges are nuts. As a kid, you’re assigned a person who you may or may not know and you’re given a limit on spending (it’s getting bigger every year as this year’s limit was $20. Twenty bucks?! I thought this was supposed to be a small thing, five bucks, tops.). I suppose the purpose of this activity is to enact thoughtful behaviour towards someone else. To take a moment to sereptiously inquire into your secret Santa recipient’s likes and interests and then search around for a worthy gift that will surprise and delight them. Here’s the reality though. It’s another thing to add to already the busiest time of the year. Kids (well my kid) are either disinterested in the melancholic notion of gift giving or blatant in assessing their recipients interests by asking them outright which eliminates the “secret” part of the giving anyway. At $20, I’m not asking my kid to take that out of his allowance and savings so now I’m on the hook for another whack of dollar store crap. Oh, and in return my kid is going to get something that ineveitably will wind up in the trash heap or the second hand store in two weeks anyway…

Ouch. Am I sounding Scrooge-like? Perhaps, but let me offer an alternative idea.

Let’s take the money we were going to spend on a kid in a privileged school who doesn’t need something else to begin with and allocate that to a charity within our town. Let’s create one of those giant fake cheques with the amount raised in the class and present that (and the actual cash) to the charity in question, take a photo and keep that in the classroom as a reminder of the value of giving to those in need. Secrets aren’t broken. Parents aren’t running around to find a gift. Kids are reinforced with the importance of helping others. Everyone wins. Isn’t that more in the spirt of the season?

And yes, I did got out with him to buy the thing she said she wanted. Sigh.

 

Lest we Forget.

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The Candy Trade seems to be amping up year over year…

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I’ve come to realize that at a certain age Halloween trick or treating is less about consumption and all about acquisition. The sheer volume gets larger and the resulting trading gets more intense. On the upside, career options are expanding.

An idea of this year’s haul…

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Different reactions to the first day of school…

I literally saw this while dropping my own kids off at school this morning.

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I think things change as your kids get older. My recollections of dropping my kids when they were first starting grade school was quite different as evidenced in this post from 2011…

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Send a shout out and let us know how your first day back at school was!

I’m bored.

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I’m actually a fan of kids being bored in the summer. I think boredom can stimulate creative thought and is a reminder that most of the time  your life is pretty awesome. That being said, I’m no fan of the, “I’m bored… What should I do now?” question. So, I came up with 13 suggestions and posted this note in the kitchen. Early rumblings are that this is a list I would like, not what kids would like. I’ve invited them to add their own thoughts – let’s see where that goes.

Reality TV would really help sometimes.

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I sometimes wish we were a full-time reality tv family. That way I could go back in time to the recording where an agreement was made and replay it for the person who swears up and down that events did not transpire as they did…

You know the end of school can’t come soon enough when…

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It’s fair to say three kinds of breakfast cereal, homemade granola, toast, bagels and fruit won’t ever compete with a noisy mess hall and a never ending parade of french toast, pancakes and cinnamon buns. Thanks a lot Camp Ponacka.

A two week spring break brings a whole new perspective to things…

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I’m not sure what he’s watching to be so up on the rigours of “juvey” (juvenile detention), but he seems pretty damn sure he’s got the comparison nailed.

Going back to school after the break is tough.

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Imagine you’ve just had two weeks off, spent time with friends and family, didn’t have to worry about rushing out in the morning or having to pack a lunch and your knapsack, played outside without a care in the world, watched too much TV, played too many video games and ate too much junk. Then, with the Christmas break over, you’ve got to go back to school and all the routines come flooding back. It probably is hard not to feel a little bleak about your future when rules and routines are the order of the day. I get it.