Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Giving Tree Disaster

Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.
We have a family tradition that we started when Madeleine was little. We like to take our kids shopping to choose a gift for another child their age to put under the Kmart or Target Giving tree's each Christmas. 

This is something we started many years ago when Maddy was 5 or 6, and we wanted her to understand how important it was to make other peoples Christmas wonderful. Buying for another child who isn't as lucky as yourself seemed like an easy connection for a little girl to make. Over the years this tradition has continued, but this is the first year we have involved 3 year old Lorelei. The last few years we have chosen for Lorelei and Sebastian ourselves because they seemed too little to understand the idea. But at 3.5, Lorelei was horrified at the idea that a little girl might not have a present, and promptly went hunting through the shops to choose something nice to give her.

All seemed like it was going well, we had to steer her away from a few expensive choices, but soon enough she was clutching a sweet little doll and a toy stroller that she loved. She couldn't wait to buy them, and dragged them around the store with determination.

Madeleine picked out a few decorative bedroom idea's, and a light up pillow pet was chosen as Sebastian's contribution.

We passed through checkout, and all was still well. Grabbed a few gift bags on the way out, and bagged our gifts up together.

Everything was still awesome.

It was all awesome until we headed back in store to pop a gift tag on the bags and put them under the tree. Lorelei loved her gift, completely blissful and refusing to let go to allow anyone to help with the bagging and tagging.

That should have been my first sign.

We TALKED about this. Lorelei was totally into the idea of gifting a nice present to a little girl that didn't have one.

The little girl she had in mind was herself. There were tears. There was more than tears, there was a damn tantrum, screaming and sobbing as we walked away from the tree. There was no right answer here. Snatch up the charity parcel from under the tree and pander to a demanding 3 year old? Walk away with a kicking and screaming child attracting attention to the mother forcing her child to give up a coveted toy that she personally chose and purchased? I could have died.

Maybe, just maybe, 3 was a little young to start this particular act of charity. Better luck next year at 4.

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