Can we limit Christmas extravagance?

Right now, m has been playing with a little lizard she got a Chuck E Cheese (much as I hate that place, she loves this inch-long lizard), a little set of figurines my mom bought her at an art gallery in Edisto, and some plastic hair barrettes. She has been occupied for more than 25 minutes with just these few toys!

Then I think about how much stuff m is going to get in the next few days... I did the shopping for Mr. Claus and kept a reasonable budget. Four toys, a homemade nightgown, and some stocking stuffers. I purchased something else too (before she wrote her letter to Santa) and decided to keep that until her birthday. If it were just these few things, we would be fine. But I'm afraid adding a bunch of other gifts from friends and relatives is going to overwhelm m and send the wrong message about the holidays.

In her gift exchange at school, m got a cheap babydoll set from a large national retailer (made in China, of course). I tried (a little) to convince her that we should give it to charity. I admit, I would rather just make it disappear since poor kids deserve better quality too. m cried at the suggestion, and, since it was her gift from a friend, I let her open it and told her she could play with it for a few days. I am *hoping* she'll completely forget about it after Christmas.

I guess we'll see what other gifts she gets. She is one kid who actually likes getting clothes. Since she wears them often, we always talk about who gave her a certain shirt, sweater, etc. That helps her remember names of relatives and also to appreciate their generosity.

I admit I'm anal about what she has- after all it's in our house. I want to make sure that it is safe, good quality, and doesn't take up too much room. We already have much more than we need and I want to create nice holiday memories for m - spending time together making cookies, decorating, donating things to less fortunate families- not just gift giving.

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