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I'm the mean mom who won't give her kids toys this Christmas

Aimee Ogden is a freelance writer, science nerd, comic book geek, and the mother of one-year-old twins. If she were a Harry Potter character, she'd be a Ravenclaw, and her patronus would be She-Hulk.

Mom confession: Why I refuse to give my kids toys for Christmas

I am a mean, mean mom.

On Christmas morning, my two-year-old twins are going to wake up to a pile of Christmas presents, and not a single one of those brightly-wrapped boxes or bags are going to contain any toys.

This is partly for their benefit, and partly for mine. I'm not sure that there are any age-appropriate toys that they don't already own, for one thing, and for another, they have a birthday just under a month before Christmas. Given the choice between the two celebrations, my husband and I decided to make their birthday the super-special-toy-time day, so that they do have a great treat this time of year, and so that Christmas has some breathing room to be about something other than the Toys 'R' Us catalog.

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There's a whole world of great gifts out there that don't involve cheap fluorescent plastic or annoying beep-beep noises, and I'd like my kids to experience some of that world. If that means no toys on Christmas morning (maybe there will be some small knickknacks in their stockings, but we save those for New Year's in any case). I don't think any children will suffer too badly under the burden of a mess of new art supplies, books to read, a wagon to cruise around in, some fun lessons at the local toddler learning center or some bounce time at the open gym. Or maybe they will!

I am a mean mom, after all. The meanest.

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And because I'm so mean, what I want is for my kids to grow up spending a little less time coveting, and a little more time enjoying the holidays in other ways. There's more to life than Things! Not that there isn't something delightful in the anticipation of a Christmas morning, and not that there won't be anticipation (and demands, most likely) even with a Christmas centered somewhere other than on the LEGO aisle at Target.

But it's a little breathing room in what would otherwise be a solid two months of living in Toyland for us, and I will take that breathing room and run with it. There are, after all, snowmen to build, sleds to ride, and cookies to bake and decorate and shove indecorously down our waiting mouth-holes.

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So now all that's left to do is all the wrapping (ugh), and we'll have to make sure there's cookies and beer on hand to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. (Santa is lactose intolerant at our house, you see.)

Of course, my kids are still 2 and would probably be ecstatic if what they find under the tree this year is a bag of toilet paper tubes, the whisks from the kitchen, and some twigs ripped off the tree in front of the garage. We'll see how things change as they get older, but I hope that leaving the focus off of what's happening in Santa's workshop is still going to be a good thing even then.

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