If they See it, They will Want it

One of my favorite activities as a child was pouring through the Sears Wish Book and making long lists of toys for Santa. While it is a fond memory, the not-so-fond memory is the nagging disappointment I recall from not getting everything on the list.

The catalogs have been pouring into our house lately. It seems that every day Pottery Barn sends us a different version of their catalog. I have learned over the years that if my children see it, they will want it. If an American Girl catalog comes in the house, suddenly E's heart's desire is a new doll (even though she never plays with the one she has). I've now taken to recycling catalogs the minute they come in the house. The toy catalogs go first.

The other day a Magic Cabin catalog arrived and E got to it. She circled and starred many things. While it was fun, and she knows she won't get everything she has circled, she's still going to secretly hope it all arrives and be secretly disappointed.

We don't take our children to the mall. We don't let them watch television. And now, we don't let them see the catalogs. The result has been wish lists that are shorter and reflect what they really love to do, rather than what the catalogs say they might love to do.

I think it makes for a happier Christmas.

Dawn  – (November 22, 2007 at 9:27 PM)  

I love this post. We are trying to do the same thing with our kids but first thing today when we got the grandparent's house...."Lets look through the ads and you can show me what you want" was said to my three year old son!

Jennifer  – (November 23, 2007 at 7:38 PM)  

My boys (husband and son) spent the morning at Wal-Mart. I was so relieved when they only came home with two things... but the catalog. Ugh.
After son and daughter dissected it with a marker, I made them go through Magic Cabin... at least then the toys are beautiful and not plastic. Next year, I'm following you - recycle before it is noticed!
I, at least, managed to craft the day away, and recycle many of my own paper crafts into usable kits for Christmas presents.
Happy Thanks!

tracy  – (November 23, 2007 at 9:41 PM)  

I did the same thing when I was a girl! And yes, I passed the torch to my children this year by actually giving them Magic Cabin and Nova catalogs with instructions to cut out pictures and paste into a "Christmas wish list". And I had to tell them 100 times that they would most likely only get two presents each. Like Jennifer said - at least they won't be plastic!

Crayons  – (November 23, 2007 at 11:32 PM)  

Hi Sarah (I can't spell your real name offhand),

I'm not sure how I landed on your blog. I've been surfing for an hour.

Well it's such a nice space that you have created here. I am pleased to know that at least one American child is spared the obscenity of the season. Yours looks like such a warm and happy home.

I'm a recovering public school teacher. Waldorf fascinates me. i will return soon.

PS: I especially liked the artwork on brown paper.

Karin  – (November 24, 2007 at 1:23 AM)  

I'va come accross your blog via mama Ilse, and have visited regularly since. We are a family with a boy in the Waldorf school in the Netherlands, the same school that I went to myself. I recognize the catalog drama, allthough I also loved reading through it before the holidays as a child. In Holland there is a solution....at the town hall you can get a sticker to put on your mailbox that says that you don't want to receive non adressed advertising, catalogs etc. I've ordered it and love it I must say! No more tons of paper in the mailbox every day.
I love your blog and the way you and your family approach life. I'll be back soon!

www.bigbucketgirl.typepad.com –   – (December 1, 2007 at 8:53 AM)  

We are having a slightly different take on this!I agree that if they see, they want..but here i'm happy for them to see and take onboard the cost of everything! My big 2 are almost 9 and just turned 7, so are ready to understand the financial implications to us and Santa Claus!
They are good kids and are very content and happy with their lot, unfortunatley their peers in school are 110% materialistic and scorn ours for buying books etc from charity(thrift) shops. Luckily they have the confidence and understanding to rise above it!
Going to read through the rest of your blog now....

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