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I Hope the Neighbors Get Better Presents Than My Kids

Photograph by Darby/Twenty20

I'm very much doubting that my daughters are going to put "please bring my friends something better for Christmas than whatever you bring me" on their letters to Santa this year—even though I really wish they would.

Is this weird?

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I just look around at our home and my children and realize that we have everything we could need—a warm and comfortable house, a pantry and fridge full of food, clothing, toys, books and a few vacations a year.

My children's needs are less than zero.

And yet, if you were to ask them what they wanted for Christmas, they could rattle off a very long list. My kindergartener comes home from school reporting on the cool backpack her friend has or we attend a birthday party and suddenly my girls are aware of all the toy and game possibilities out there.

I hope they recognize how much they have and how fortunate they are and learn that it doesn't matter if someone else gets something better.

My husband and I could max out every credit card in our wallet, and on Christmas morning, there would still be kids getting better gifts, different gifts, cooler and more exciting and bigger presents under the tree.

And it's not just keeping up with the Joneses anymore. Between a classroom of nearly 30 kids, dozens of children at church, neighbors and the constant barrage of toys and gifts every time we watch a YouTube video or walk into Target for some socks or a new light bulb, my children could easily come up with a never-ending stream of material goods.

So really, what I want for Christmas is for my girls to learn to be happy with what they get—that Christmas morning isn't just about checking a few items off their endless list of wants.

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I hope they recognize how much they have and how fortunate they are and learn that it doesn't matter if someone else gets something better.

I hope they see that the older they get, the more they realize that someone always has something bigger, nicer, fancier, cooler and more expensive. And the sooner they stop comparing what they have with someone else, the happier they're going to be.

That's what I'd most like for Christmas. It's just too bad that Santa isn't likely to bring that down the chimney.

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