Why do normally sane people lose their damn minds around this time of the year Christmas shopping for their children?

Do they think the amount of money they spend is an expression of how much love they have for their kids?

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Look, I'm my mother's only child and I know she loves me, but I remember when I was seven and wanted some Converse Chuck Taylors for Christmas. She told me: "I am not spending twelve dollars for no damn tennis shoes."

The following year, Santa brought me some black low-top Chucks and I proudly put them on Christmas day and walked around in the snow with 'em. I loved those shoes and appreciated them even more.

Because she was a single mom my mother could not afford to blow her whole budget on Christmas so she would break it down. She would say: "Baby things are tight this year, so just tell me a few things you want and I'll tell Santa, but this year I need him to get you things you need like socks and underwear, OK?" And I understood 'cause that was all I knew.

She did the best she could, and was unapologetic about it. I knew I was not getting any name brand stuff that I asked for. I asked for the Nike swoosh and I got the upside-down swoosh thing from Kmart. I asked for Timex and I got Pulsar. I asked for Polo and I got the dude with the trumpet ridin' on a bigger horse.

Parents, don't forget you are in control. Send the message to your children that this time of year is about giving of yourself and appreciating family, not about how many gifts you get.

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