The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Christmas Recap

Oh where do I begin? My mind is in a whirlwind of wrapping paper, toys, twist ties, tantrums, greediness, spaghetti, hugs, tantrums and candy. Such is the day of Jesus’ birth. UGHHHH.

Last night Ryan and I took the boys to the Christmas Eve service at Westwinds. I’ve started taking Porter with me on Sundays as he’s in the preschool class now. He likes it a lot. I haven’t attempted to take Hudson as I wasn’t sure how he’d react to going into the nursery alone. Last night Porter opted to go into the nursery while we went to sing. We took Hudson with us and he lasted about half the time (loved the music and almost fell asleep in my arms. Porter never would have done this at this age!). Ryan took him to the nursery and he said he took off the second he saw a bus.

Ry and I played Santa last night. I love it. I take pride in trying to make Christmas such a magical and exciting time for the boys (although mainly Porter still… Hudson is kinda there for the ride). Porter has been asking for this green truck from Menards and a red 4-wheeler. Well, Santa brought the green truck (which he thought was gone for good…. we went to Menards awhile back and he saw the truck wasn’t there anymore… he was bummed to say the least). I also got him a small toy 4-wheeler and Santa left him a note about how big 4-wheelers don’t fit on the sleigh.

I went to bed filled with excitement. I couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to see Porter’s excitement. I could barely fall asleep.

Christmas morning….

We all got up and I led the way downstairs, recording video on the point and shoot camera. Porter was excited to find presents and started exploring his stocking. The boys got hot wheels, Thomas Trains, silly putty, slinky, gum, Cars socks, watercolor paints, crayons and more. I love filling stockings.

Porter decided he wanted to trade Hudson hotwheels trucks. And so it begins.

The movie UP was a hit with Porter. “I wanted this movie!!”

They opened their trucks (Hudson got a red truck from Menards… his came with a trailer and dirt bike. Porter’s came with a deer, moose and elk.) Porter quickly noted he got the truck he wanted and then was obsessed with trying to see and play with Hudson’s dirt bike.

I pointed out the Bilibo seats which neither kid seemed interested in. I’ll give it time. Hopefully Santa didn’t waste $50 on those damn plastic seats.

We let them play with their toys from the stocking for awhile. (Next year, Santa will bring more candy/snacks than toys…. because the greediness and unappreciativeness begins here).

Porter opened a Thomas Train…. “I didn’t want any choo choo trains!”


So we start opening presents. They got matchign pj’s, a couple books, each a little truck with trailer and Porter got a decorative car pillow to match his bedroom. Hudson got the Little People barn and a Magna Doodle. Porter got Hudson a broom and Hudson got Porter two little Transformers.

I didn’t feel like I indulged them that much. We try to stick by the “Something you WANT, Something you NEED, Something to PLAY WITH, Something to READ.” We did get one extra gift (Hudson the Magna Doodle and Porter a skateboard which we are not letting him open…. keep reading.)

So the boys open their second gift and its the little truck with the trailers. Porter, again, wants what Hudson has. Ry is helping H and I am helping P open the trucks. Porter throws a fit, shoves his truck away and says he doesn’t want it. So I take it and say, “Fine. Next week we’ll take it to the Interfaith Shelter and you can give it to a little boy who will appreciate it.” Porter says “Fine!”

Effing brat.

We move on and my grandma comes over. The boys are thrilled to see her and I hope that she’ll offer some relief to my stress. She suggests Porter opens her gift to him. Its a dinosaur set… pretty cool… they walk and roar. Porter says “Uh! I didn’t want dinosaurs!”

I flip out. “WHAT!!! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY!??? You had better the thankful that Oma even got you a present!”

He finally thanks her and I open it to show him how cool they are. Hudson enjoys them more than Porter.

Then Hudson opens the Playskool Ball Popper from Oma. Its a hit and ironically Porter spends more time playing with it than Hudson. Who the hell would have though!

After gifts, Oma left and I was exhausted. We all took naps.

My sister, Aubri, Addi, Dave and my Dad came over around 3:30 and we opened gifts from Heather and my dad.

Here we go again…..

Hudson loved the gifts… he was thrilled with everything and anything.

Porter opened the LeapFrog DVD (which I’d picked up for him last week to survive the first week of Christmas Break) and he said “I already GOT this!” I tried to explain to him that that’s ok, we can exchange it at the store for another one but he was just so caught up in “UGh…. I already have this dvd, I don’t need another one…. blah blah”

Then he opens his second gift from Heather… the LeapFrog ClickStart (turns your tv into a kids’ computer). He kept on with the rude remarks… he didn’t ask for that… he didn’t want that… he got the Leapster from Grandma… blah blah. I finally screamed at him to go to his room. I told him I’d box up every gift he got today and take it to kids that would appreciate it.

I was done. Ryan and I were completely embarrassed at his behavior all day. We both thought we’d brought him up better than that….. we always stress to the boys (especially Porter as he’s old enough now to understand more) that they are SO lucky to have what the have. They are SO lucky to have a big house and a playroom full of toys and their own bedrooms. They are SO lucky to be able to get new toys and that there are kids out there that don’t have any toys to play with… that don’t have their own bedroom… that for God sake don’t even have their own bed!

He finally came downstairs and apologized and thanked Heather. Once we got his ClickStart opened he thought it was cool.

I hate that this whole day has been exhausting and stressful for me (and Ryan). It’s been such a disappointment. I’ve planned for weeks… took great care in selecting gifts I thought each of the boys would love. I wanted today to be so magical and exciting and I wanted them (Porter) to appreciate and be excited and amazed at their gifts. And it seemed like it all completely backfired.


Are my expectations too high? Am I overreacting? How do I make him realize? I plan, this weekend or next week, to take him to the Interfaith Shelter and drop off a bunch of their toys. I want him to SEE with his own eyes how some people have to live. I feel like taking him to downtown Detroit to see people on the streets begging for money and food.

His behavior is just so… foreign to me. For as long as I can remember I’ve always felt like I’ve had a big heart… an appreciative outlook on what I have. As a child I remember wanting to open a homeless shelter after seeing a homeless person digging in a dumpster outside a Pizza Hut. I just… I just don’t know how to instill that heart, that caring, into Porter. Is that possible in a 3 year old???

  1. Aw Nicole….I am sending you a big cyber hug….I don't have word that will make Porter's behavior ok or explainable. I don't know the answer to instilling joy and thanks. I will say though that I think he is probably fairly normal and to find God's way to guide, strengthen and rejoice…in anyway that you can either for yourself or for Porter. You and Ryan are good people, you are good parents and despite Porter's behavior today, try to remember that. I am so sorry today wasn't as joyful as you had hoped. Many hugs and vibes are being sent to you. Merry Christmas. -Rachael

  2. Oh Nic…you got a little stinker on your hands! I would be embarrassed too…however, kids are kids…they are unpredictable! And i think people understand better then we think they do. Emma can be really ungrateful at times and I do get pissed…but then I gotta take a step back and just hope that it gets better. And it will…after they are 18 and out of the house, have a job, pay bills, etc…LOL! But really, hang in there 🙂

  3. Awwww, that sucks, dude!Honestly though, some kids aren't at their best under pressure, chaos, being out of their routine etc. It was probably just that. No one's kids are perfect – or at least mine sure aren't. We just tend to notice the negative behavior more than when they are just happily playing.3 is a seriously awkward age. I like 4 ALOT better. I was quite thrilled when 3 ended as I'm enjoying 4 way more!Just sit down with him tomorrow and talk to him about what those words mean – that he doesn't want it etc and how that would make people feel. In his mind, he's probably just being honest, something else we tell them to be! Ask him how he would feel if you said you didn't like a gift he gave you etc. For the record, Morgan has been playing with Callie's gifts more than his too – the grass is always greener!

  4. I'm so sorry girl. I can't offer advice since Gavin isn't quite 3 yet, but I can tell you that he was a COMPLETELY different kid today with all the toys, sharing expectations, visitors, etc…I was totally embarassed by his behavior. That being said, I think it may have just been the over excitement or something. Just keep setting the example and he'll catch on one day. Hang in there – you are doing a wonderful job! ((HUGS))

  5. Don't beat yourself up. If you model the appropriate behaviors Porter will catch on. And, while I don't think that is ok behavior and you should give him some consequence, remember that Christmas is 100% chaos and our little ones just haven't got the skills yet to cope with all of that. We make it out to be fun and exciting, and those emotions combined with little sleep, rushing around everywhere and a lot of people can make for little snots. You are doing great with him but I think a little learning lesson is in order. Good luck!

  6. Dear NicolePlease allow me to express a bit of encouragement on your comment “As a child I remember wanting to open a homeless shelter after seeing a homeless person digging in a dumpster outside a Pizza Hut. I just… I just don't know how to instill that heart, that caring, into Porter. Is that possible in a 3 year old???”Yes, 3 year olds can learn how to help homeless people in an easy and fun way. Collect SocksMy non-profit organization, Comfort Socks, is a way you and your family can make a big difference in the lives of others.Comfort Socks is a 501(c)3 public charity that provides new socks to homeless shelters all across the United States. Aside from the obvious hygiene benefits of new socks for homeless people and families, our mission is one of Comfort. We believe that new socks simply feel good, and will help tend to the soul as well as the body of someone going through a difficult time.Comfort Socks welcomes volunteers. To learn how you can help or to learn creative ways you can do your own sock drive, please visit our website @ or contact us.After your sock drive is complete, we will send your family a Certificate of Recognition, and a small sock for each child in your family, that they can hold in their hands as they pray each night for those who do not have a home. This will encourage a stronger heart of gratefulness for the gifts of food, shelter and parents who care for them emerge.I have a feeling I will be hearing from you, so I thank you now in anticipation for acting on the compassion in your heart.SincerelyTheresa TeseFounderComfort Socks910-269-8577www.comfortsocksonline.orgPS – please spread the word about Comfort Socks so others may be touched and contribution to our mission of Comfort to homeless people and families.

  7. Nicole- Don't ever feel that you have made a mistake in raising your kids the way you have…they will catch on at some point everyone has made very valid points about this. Mine are not to that age yet but I am sure they will be someday 🙂

  8. I don't know if this will be a comfort or not, but I did this same thing up until I was in early elementary school. My mom has some awful stories and even 20+ years later, my family still jokes about it every Christmas.The good news is that I don't anymore. There's hope. :)There was an article in Family Fun magazine last month that talked about playing the “present game” with your kids. You all go around the house with gift bags and find one thing to give as a “present” to someone else. Then you sit down and open them. Everyone has to tell the giver how grateful they are and come up with one thing they really like about the item. After they do it enough times it becomes natural. It sounds great on paper, at least.

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