When I was younger, I loved Christmas….it was by far my favorite holiday of the year. While I enjoyed getting presents, I was honestly more excited about the Christmas story, how everyone seemed nicer to each other for a month, and all the bling that comes with the celebrations.
I still love Christmas, but it brings more stress each year than I care to deal with. It began with the time that I was financially capable of buying presents for loved ones. Is it just me or are some of the people in your lives SO VERY HARD to shop for? I usually hated the process so much that I would put shopping off to the very last minute. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving people gifts, I just hate alot of the expectations and drama that can come with it.
Now that I have children, the stress is worse. TV and advertisers do NOTHING to help us parents out. By the time Halloween is over, our kids have a running list in their heads of the top 200 items they want Santa to bring, and we don’t hear the end of it until Christmas morning.
(I confess…I finally broke down and explained to my almost 6 year old that Santa isn’t real. He assumes Santa will bring him everything on his list, and I have a conscience issue with telling him that Santa will bring him presents, but there are millions of children around the world that barely have food or clothing, which is why we participate in Operation Christmas Child. Obvious disconnect there in what areas of the world Santa travels to. Fortunately, X took the news pretty well, and actually seemed happy that Mommy and Daddy got his presents. He also seemed contented that it was still OK and fun to pretend about Santa.)
In the past couple of years, we have been experimenting on how to deal with the gift giving issue for our kids. Last year, we implemented the 3 gift rule….rather arbitrary, but we used the reason that when Jesus was born he received three gifts from the wise men. That seemed to satisfy our boys.
Recently in our church, another method was presented that seems pretty logical to me. Each kid gets four presents: Something they want, something they need, something they wear, and something they read. That may just be the way we go next year.
How about you? How do you approach the Christmas season with your kids, wanting to give them gifts they want yet also teaching them that they can’t have all that they want?
Seeking to fully live,