Our kids are selfish assholes. Sending wish lists to Santa seven miles long while children in Honduras scavenge for food in garbage dumps.

When I told Max we’d be stuffing a shoebox for a child in need, his eyes widened with worry that I’d fill it with his things, or blow the holiday budget on Javier instead of him. So I made him put down his Lego bricks and watch videos of children in India making actual bricks under the scorching hot sun.

It’s our stupid fault. We created the little assholes by overgiving, overspending, and underthinking. When my mom was a child growing up in Cape Freels, every year she asked Santa for a monkey. What she got was a pair of knitted socks or mitts, an apple and an orange, and if she was really lucky, a few grapes – a rare treat. She was happy with this humble haul because she expected nothing more (except maybe the monkey).

When I was a kid, I got significantly more: dolls, board games, and clothes. But it was nothing like nowadays. Today, Christmas trees are barely visible behind an Everest of presents. Beyond the fire hazard, something else is very wrong with this picture, yet we shamelessly post it on social media so the kids in the Congo can see it and die a little more. Oh wait, silly me, those kids don’t have computers. Unlike our kids who have computers, tablets, and gaming consoles before they’ve learned to stop using their pants as a toilet.

And it’s not just Christmastime when we get nutty as fruitcakes. It’s every occasion. 500-dollar birthday parties at the pool or bowling alley for four-year-olds who’d be just as thrilled to watch a movie and share a lopsided cake with a couple friends in the living room. And nothing says Easter quite like a new bicycle. Thanks for the rad wheels, zombie Jesus!

So why do we give them so damn much? Because we want them to have everything we didn’t. Because the worst thing in the world is the disappointed face of your own child on Christmas morning. Because we just gotta keep up with the Joneses. Because we just like to bloody shop. And because we have our heads firmly jammed up our asses. Pretty sure we’d spend a little less on holiday chocolate if we knew it was made with cocoa beans harvested by a six-year-old slave on Cote d’Ivoire. Or would we?

Boy, have we lost touch with simple. Whatever happened to the jolly elf bringing one gift per child? Where’d the humble birthday party go, with the ham and cheese sandwiches and pin the tail on the donkey? Our kids wouldn’t expect gifts galore and 3-tiered ice cream cakes if we created a different narrative. But we continue to give them the world and ruin everything, including our bank accounts. Since when were we all filthy rich anyway? Last time I checked, we were up to our tits in debt with the high cost of housing, daycare, gas, and milk. If we’re so determined to drop mad stacks at Christmas, how about we drop it into a college fund instead, so at least we can give our children something they’ll actually need in a few years – a break.

Suckiest of all, what are we teaching them? Overstimulation, excess, and greed. That they can have everything they desire by doing next to nothing, which is not how the world works at all. So ironically, while we’re giving them all the things they want, we’re also giving them the shaft by preparing them piss-poorly for the big, cruel world. And that, Moms and Dads, is not very nice. We should all be on the naughty list.

This article appeared in the December edition of The Overcast.