So most of us have probably spent the month of November talking to our kids about being thankful. But, how do we then enter into a holiday season that hovers so dangerously close to greed and entitlement??
Sometimes kids so wrapped up in the “what I want for Christmas” lists that they just can’t help but become the demanding, whiny, monsters we can’t stand. But, circle back to the beginning – who started it?? Yep that’s right – we did, by asking them what they wanted in the first place. 🙂 So, let’s look at ways we can keep giving and getting in perspective, and stretch out that attitude of gratitude that we worked so hard to foster during November.
The first advice I would offer is minimize the gift list. I have seen list ideas like this one floating around Pinterest the last couple of years and I think it’s great.
We starting limiting the number of gifts are kids received from us years ago when we were absolutely embarrassed by the amount of things that we were trying to find space for the day after Christmas. Granted we may not be able to control the amount of stuff coming from grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but at least we can keep what comes from us down to a reasonable amount.
While we are talking about where to put all the stuff that they receive, let me share this thought with you – now is a great time to clean out their rooms. Donate anything they no longer play with. Get them involved in the process. Explain that you are donating toys to kids that don’t have as much. These conversations alone will breed a heart of gratitude and giving in your child. Now, mom and dad, this is where it gets hard sometimes. Some kids don’t want to let go of anything. If this is your child – set some limits – tell them they must choose 3 things to donate to charity. Maybe more if they have way too much. I know it’s tempting to do it when they are gone, but really, getting them involved in the process will help them begin to understand that they can let some things go. Some kids have bleeding hearts and they get caught up in the giving away, and they want to get rid of a lot. It’s okay. Just think how much easier it will be to clean their room. Also keep in mind the insane amount of new stuff coming in a few weeks. If you think it is something they will really miss. Put it in a box in the attic and bring it back out in a few months when they are bored with the new stuff. It will be like new again!!
Another way to help foster the attitude of gratitude is to find a way to keep the focus on giving rather than getting. Our church offers many opportunities to help provide for those in need at Christmas – food pantry donations, Angel Tree, Operation Shoe Box, used coat drives, and more. If you don’t have access to these, look around. Often times you will find angel trees set up at the local mall, toys for tots is always taking donations somewhere, check with your local food bank, or check out these resources for giving to needy children all over the world. I actually requested the paper catalog this year, and my kids have loved looking through them, reading the stories, and choosing what they want to give!!
All these things could easily be done, and not add too much work to your already busy calendar :). Remember Christmas is a gift. A gift to us in the form of a Savior, Jesus Christ, sent to earth in the form of a baby. We celebrate this gift that God gave to us on this day by giving to others.