Thrifty Giving: It is I, the Christmas Asshole

20 Dec

Anthony and I are not going to tell Isobel about Santa. We are the type of asshole parents that approach child-rearing with the aim to be as open and truthful (and developmentally appropriate) with our child as possible. That’s not to say she won’t find presents waiting for her under the tree on Christmas morning, or that we are going to squash other children’s belief in the big guy. She’ll know all the myths and stories about him, but they will remain just that: myths and stories. Besides, lots of people this time of year are so keen on telling everybody that Santa isn’t the reason for the season anyway, so I don’t think this deviation from the parenting norm should really be all that big of a deal.

To reiterate, though: I do not care if you wholeheartedly encourage your child to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Loch Ness Monster or the viability of a Republican candidate for the presidency. Santa is small potatoes in the big scheme of parenting and it’s not worth making a fuss over. I truly believe that in this regard parents make their own rules for the household and it’s not my place to judge. Or care.  So why don’t we focus on what matters: presents.

If Isobel asks why we don’t believe in Santa we are going to tell her about the universal spirit of generosity and goodwill Santa represents. It sounds better than saying, “Honey, we believe in science!” but it means the same thing. “Yes, we believe in science. That’s why this year you’re getting Quantum Presents this Christmas, my dear! This one’s from someone named Schrödinger. Your present may or may not be a dead cat. Don’t open the box, sweetheart! That ruins the mystery.”

Since we are embracing the Handmade & Vintage Christmas this year I have been saving up thrifted items for her since this summer. I can’t wait for her to discover these gifts under the tree:

BAM! You just got Care Bear Stared IN THE FACE! You now possess the uncontrollable urge to share.

Can you believe I found the vintage 1983 Care-A-Lot for thirty cents? Thirty cents! I nearly died. After I found that I won Funshine, Tenderheart, Cheer Bear, and Friendship Bear on eBay for seven bucks. Earlier in the year I made a major CB faux pas when I failed to remember the correct name is “Funshine Bear” instead of “Sunshine Bear.” Multiple people came forward to tell me what’s what. This lead Anthony and I to have a discussion about The Care Bears Cousins. Remember them? If you don’t I’ll jog your memory: their names, according to my perfect memory, were Lion-O, Trumpet Face, and Hippo. Since that incident I’ve collected several stuffed Care Bees (as they are known in my household) at thrift stores and yard sales.

Isobel spends about 90% of her daily vocalizations requesting I turn on the Care Bears. Of those times it’s an even split between asking if she can watch “Care Bears,” meaning the Big Wish movie, or “Different Care Bears” meaning any of the newer Care Bee movies that are out. Big Wish is by far her favorite, and I’ve had it on so often that I’ve unconsciously started singing the songs only to be found out and heckled by Anthony. LET YE WHO HAS NEVER SUNG ‘I LIKE FISH’ IN THE VOICE OF TOODEE CAST THE FIRST STONE, ANTHONY.

Before our household underwent a freeze on any non-crucial spending I did pick up a few other things while thrifting and out and about at Michael’s. These presents are for Isobel’s stocking. Er, except the globe, which won’t really fit. But damn, three dollars for a vintage globe that still includes Rhodesia and the USSR? That shit is coming home with mama.

I bought her two kazoos because she’s going to need one each for her and Kingston when he comes over to play. Last summer we got her together with the neighbor kids and made an impromptu marching band with their musical instruments. Imagine the melodious sounds of seven kids, all under the age of 11, banging on drums, wailing on the recorder, and clashing the cymbals as they marched down the street. A ruckus like that is a surefire way to make our property values skyrocket.

That train whistle in the photo above is supposed to be for ages 5 and up. This confuses me as it has no small parts and my child can exhale just as well, if not better than, your average five year old. That’s my baby! She sure can breathe out good.

The teapot we found while thrifting is going to make an excellent addition to her Thrifted Toy Kitchen.

I know many of you are participating in Handmade Christmas. Any one else out there doing a Thrifted Christmas as well?

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34 Responses to “Thrifty Giving: It is I, the Christmas Asshole”

  1. Sarah December 20, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    I failed handmade Christmas. oh well. I am still making felt ornaments and truffles to give as hostess gifts. And I made a tree skirt. So there’s that. Next year? I’m starting in January. Oh so you know, in a week. ;)

    I love the idea of a thrifted Christmas but that would require good thrift stores in my area. We lack the population for great thrifty finds on as much of a regular basis as you seem to find them! Oh how I miss thrifting in the US! :)

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Some handmade is better than no handmade at all!

      I weep for your lack of thrifted goodness.

  2. carolyn December 20, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    My gifts for friends are all handmade. Everyone else gets consumerist goodness.

    And my husband — the SCIENTIST — is way more pro-Santa than I. I suggested scaling down the Santa aspect this year and the look of horror on his face was as though I’d said the earth was only 3000 years old.

  3. Audrey December 20, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    I want those Care Bears so bad! I had those when I was a kid. And some teeny tiny versions as well. And some stuffed ones. And some stuffed cousins. Ooh, remember Popples? I loved Popples. (I may or may not be stuck in the 80s)

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

      I wrote a huge long reply to you on my phone but then it didn’t work right and the whole thing was deleted. BOO!

      Okay, remember those little trollish things (waaaay before troll dolls) that were hard plastic except for their hair which was a long weird fuzz that you could brush and when you shook them they made kind of a weird rattling coo and some of them glowed when you hugged them?

      And speaking of, remember Glow Worm??

  4. Sarah December 20, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    I still have some of my care bears stuff from the 80’s, including a Grams bear with a little shawl who was bigger than the usual size because she was a “grown-up” and a purple one with a musical note on it whose name I cannot for the life of me remember. I may have to do a childhood toys blog post now….
    I totally failed handmade Christmas but have tried to do a thrift/locally made Christmas where I succeeded 100% with gifts for my husband but the rest of the family isn’t so into thrift etc :-/
    Next year, I swear I’ll make everything myself… ahem (of course have never said that before…)
    So jealous of Isobel’s pressies – I’m sure she’ll be delighted!
    Sarah
    x
    http://theaccidentalhoarder.blogspot.com/

    • Beth December 22, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      I also have grams bear! aaaand i have that entire playset. the kids in my family always play with it at my parents’ house during family get togethers. it’s amazingsauce.

      • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

        That’s an awesome thing to have at Grandma’s!

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      I totally remember that musical note bear. No idea of the name, though!

  5. Windsor Grace December 20, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    There are so many gems in this post, I had to take notes http://instagr.am/p/aTnmA/.

    What do you mean you’re not telling her there is a Santa?!! Cruel and unusual…geez. And what do you mean there isn’t a Santa? I still get presents from Santa and when I try to thank my parents for them my dad says, “They’re from Santa” true story. I’m 27.

    Those Care Bear finds are so amazing, I don’t even like Care Bears and I want that china. Goodness me.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

      I’m going to convert you to Care Bears with a Care Bear stare.

  6. Cameron December 20, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I know you are a master thrifter and you have some serious skillllz, so I’m definitely not discounting your thrifting prowess. But there is NOTHING at the thrift stores around here priced for thirty cents, let alone a vintage Care-A-Lot. That is so friggin’ cool!

    Also, this post cracked me up. :)

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks, lady!

      The only reason I scored this for thirty cents is that their pricing team is full of little old ladies who really don’t know what awesome is.

  7. Allison Wilson December 20, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Your thrifty finds are an inspiration. Pretty much every piece of my clothing is thrifted, and it’s so cool that you’re able to find kids stuff in good condition. I feel like the Garbage Pail Kids or some feral animals must have previously owned all the kids stuff I find in thrift stores around here, because it’s all beaten to hell. That Care Bears haul is freaking amazing.

    We don’t do Santa at our house, either. Well, we started out that way. When Julian was about 3, we told him Santa was pretend, but he was still fun. And he insisted that Santa was real. So we just went along with it for a few years until this year, when he asked me for the truth, and I told him. Now he’s a little bummed, but he understands he’ll still be getting the same amount of presents, so maybe it’s not such a bad deal after all.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

      I should post a close up photo of the Care-o-Meter. It’s actually drawn on at bit by its former owner but you can tell a parent tried to clean it off. They put different dollar amounts in each area like they were trying to make it into a gambling game. Hilarious!

  8. Dan December 20, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Neil is ALL ABOUT Santa, but while reading your post I realized we haven’t told him Santa brings presents or anything. Santa’s just a dude who’s on everything at Christmastime. Sort of like Elmo the other 364 days of the year.

    My plan, however, is to be vehemently atheistic with him, teach him all about thinking for himself, looking for logical issues, evidence, all that stuff. Then teach him Santa gives every kid on earth presents in one night and see how long it takes.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

      Isobel loves Santa, too! As far as she knows, however he’s the guy that drives around in the fire truck and gives people candy.

  9. Emily December 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Good for you. I hate this time of year when I hear parents discouraging bad behavior by saying sternly, “If you don’t behave, Santa won’t bring you any presents!” Lazy parenting, in my mind. Totally lazy.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      That’s pretty ineffective. I’d have to agree.

  10. stefanieshea December 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I have sweet thrifted, vintage books for your little one, Kingston, and our nephews. The thrift store by our house had SO MANY amazing books that we had to eventually just walk away. Don’t forget Playful Heart. He’s the monkey. Dave also school’d me in Care Bears. Thanks for the laughs. I love you lady!
    Also, if we have a kid we are totally not going to convince him/her that a strange man will be entering our house while we are asleep to eat our delicious cookies

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Um, I love that Dave has Care Bears knowledge. He can totally bond with Isobel. Can’t WAIT to see you guys!

  11. Tracy December 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    You had me at Schrödinger’s Cat.

    PS I wish we’d had the foresight to leave Santa out of the picture from the beginning – it would be so much easier now (our kids are 12 & 6). I guess being brought up with it, at the time I was hesitant to let it go. I blame my mother.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Yes! Schrödinger is the new Santa.

  12. Amber December 21, 2011 at 6:27 am #

    UGH, after all our chatting about Santa yesterday on Twitter….Peter came home and almost started to use the “be good or Santa” line when we were trying to get Alexa to eat. I shut.it.down. I can play the fun side where you go visit the red suited man in the mall….or watch movies about the guy…or hell, even give him credit for a few gifts – but there’s no way we’re going along with the creeper side. He does NOT know when we’re sleeping and empty threats about lackluster Christmas gifts aren’t going to get us anywhere.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Anthony and I try really hard to be on the same page with everything in parenting. This kind of thing is so frustrating!

  13. lilpyrogirl December 21, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Thank Goodness I haven’t addressed your holiday card yet. You will most definitely be getting a card addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Christmas Asshole. :-P I love you, you Chrismtas Asshole. And this made me laugh.

    Also, I love Isobel’s Christmas Gifts…makes me nostalgic for my own childhood and my completely insane love of carebears.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      If I don’t see that on my Christmas card I’ll be disappointed.

  14. Maren December 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Hello there! Found you from a comment you made on Grumbles and Grunts and am totally adding you to my reader.

    I had aspirations to thrift everything for my son this year but ended up buying a few things new (Bert & Ernie puppets, Hot Wheels cars in colors/styles he doesn’t already have). There will be a stack of thrifted Golden Books under the tree for him, though.

    Your etsy shop is great! I’ve been teetering on the edge of the possibility of opening a vintage etsy shop for baby clothes for about a year but keep scaring myself out of it.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

      Sweet! Thanks, Maren! If you have any questions about getting started with etsy shoot me an email! alittlebigblog@gmail.com. Always a pleasure to meet fellow thrifters.

  15. Van December 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    JACKPOT! You did good, it looks like a beautiful Christmas indeed at your pad, and on a thrifty budget ;) Love the post title. Well, shit, just love the whole post.

    • LittleBig December 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

      Can I just say how thrilled I am to have a comment from you? Absolutely thrilled.

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