I am debating how to handle the vast amount of gifts the kiddos received from family members that do not fall in line with what we allow in our house.
The Bratz and TMNT Board Games, that one is easy… they are going back K1 and K2 can pick out something else. What about all the clothes from the devil, WAL-MART? One of the shirts K3 received from her Grandmother is pretty darn cute and it is ORGANIC (supposedly produced using all organic cotton, I have to wonder if it’s also Fair Trade Certified Cotton… not likely.)… but it’s still from Wal-Mart. (I have shopped at Wal-Mart, in the past it was a frequent for me because it was CHEAP and I was a broke, single Mom… so I can’t really complain. It’s more recent that I have made the movement to avoid mass consumerism and focus much more on local sustainability).
So the big question is, do I keep these items (each of the girls received about 10 pieces of clothing that fall into the not so socially responsible grouping)… Afterall, they are gifts and WE didn’t put our money into purchasing them. Surprisingly, the same individual that purchased all these items also sent home a box of ALL NATURAL, FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED chocolates. That must have been accidental.
I am thinking we will keep the gifts, for a myriad of reasons. (With the exception of those toys that are not allowed, such as BRATZ.) I am wondering if there is some way we can gently coach family and friends to know what kinds of items we do allow? Definitely not clothing with Spider-Man on it, but I thought they already knew that.
We are walking a very fine line between allowing the kids enough (so as to not make them feel different from their peers) while keeping out some of the mass consumerism and focusing on being socially conscious and globally responsible. Santa comes to our house (I know, I know). Our kids received a Wii for Christmas (I can hear you sighing). We allow SOME popular items. The Wii is beneficial to our whole family… we play it as a group, everyone is up jumping around the living room. Our feeling is that having this item in our home has enough positive impact that it outweighs the negative. As for Santa, well, he is SANTA. Nuff said. The kids do not wear clothing with Disney or Super-Heros (or other commecial items). We do shop locally as often as possible. All the food in our house is Natural and Organic, the personal and home cleaing products we use are GREEN. Our focus is on family and things that will help our family be closer. For instance, our girls do have Barbies. We keep the house and all the Barbie stuff in one spot… so the girls have to PLAY TOGETHER. We also buy things like Moon Sand… why? Because it is something we can all sit around the table and do together.
We are definitely not overboard hippies. I shave my legs, I drive a Prius, I drink Fair Trade Ceritified Coffee, I cook more than we go out, I recycle EVERYTHING, I wear Nikes and carry Coach, I spend quality time with my family, I try to find a happy medium that allows us to be responsible, green and cool. (You won’t find me hugging trees, but I will definitely reuse, reduce and recycle.)
Maybe we aren’t doing as much as we could be. We are trying to raise well-adjusted, happy, successful children. We do not measure success monetarily, rather allowing each person their own identity and definition. We give them a religious basis, a cultural experience and a supportive family environment. And we pray that is enough.