I'M IN PHOENIX visiting my Grandma; nothing gets me into the Christmas Spirit more than palm trees and sixty-degree weather. While I was talking to my Grandma this week it made me reminisce about years gone by (because that’s what Grandmas do), especially Christmases and the gifts I asked for. I realized that my list has changed over the years from impulse buys to things I would use for years to come.
I can remember when I was in elementary school, making my list by looking through the massive Toys-R-Us and model airplane catalogs that I would get just for that occasion. My list would sometimes top out above 30 things just because I would see something that I “wanted” on every page. I’m really glad my parents weren’t spineless and they realized that I would forget about two-thirds of my list by December 26th.
The first time I realized I was prone to impulse buying was in 5th or 6th grade when I wanted a video game in September or October. My parents, not being of the same tolerance as Veruca Salt's father, said "no" to me at the time. I forgot about it in typical kid fashion, until I unwrapped it under the Christmas tree. I was actually disappointed because I didn’t want it anymore. That was when I realized that my wants and needs didn’t necessarily always overlap, and that it might actually be a good idea to stop and think before I said I really wanted something.
Over time, repeated instances like that taught me to hold off on the impulse buys (for the most part) and go for more worthwhile purchases or gifts. From iPods to a phone (I’ve had the same one for 4 years), I’ve started to ask for things that I’d actually use everyday, instead of novelty toys. I think that’s the biggest change that comes with maturing - you can separate your wants from your needs, as well as the instant gratification from the delayed, but continuous gratification.