All I want for Christmas…
October 31, 2008 § 10 Comments
On a forum I belong to, a mom recently posted the following:
I wanted to get some ideas what large families get their kids and also how you budget.
We have our 4 kids. They are 7 and under. We have gobs of toys and I am feeling like there is nothing left to buy them! For the two littlest one, I have all the toys left over from my two biggests ones, and they have plenty.
I know kids don’t want just clothes for Christmas (although they’ll be getting some for sure). I know I’m going to get some DVDs, maybe a few video games for their Click Start computer thing, or some computer games.
But what do you get when you have practically everything! UGH!!
Every single response that followed addressed the poster quite literally– advising about what kinds of toys etc. One even talked about getting a Wii! I was like, SRSLY?? Not that I have anything against Wii’s, but I mean, really?
So I responded:
I think the question we all should be asking ourselves is, “What do we want to instill in our children?” I love giving gifts but if our kids only get tons of presents at Christmas, and come to expect tons of presents at Christmas, are these really the kind of values we want to instill (or can afford?)
I think the best presents we can give our kids are amazing memories, and making the most of these teachable moments. For instance, you could have an old fashioned Christmas, where the weeks leading up are filled with making your own homemade gifts and decorations like it’s the turn of the 20th century. It’s far cheaper than a Wii, teaches history and simplicity, and the memories will last a lifetime. Every Christmas can be a different era/theme, with a tree to match. Even the younger ones will get into it. Creativity and simplicity are the key, and are great values to instill.
I will always remember the Christmas that as the oldest, I stayed up after my four younger siblings had gone to bed Christmas Eve, stuffing their stockings with Clementine oranges and nuts. Something so simple, yet so special!
Perhaps Christmas Day, your kids could wrap up some of their toys they have outgrown (that are in primo condition) and take them to a shelter for kids who have none. I know one mom who has her kids pick one of the gifts they received Christmas morning to give to the less fortunate. They have done this since they were very little, and it is part of their family tradition.
Kids don’t need the latest and greatest or even a ton of presents and toys. Nor should you feel guilty for not being able to give it to them. Simplicity is a valuable lesson– especially in today’s economical climate. If we focus on “things” at Christmas, our kids will be focused on “things” as well. But if we can turn our attention to what matters most; family, home, traditions, memories, faith and love, then we can give our kids some of the best gifts they will ever get, which will stay with them forever.
Creativity and simplicity trump quantity and volume any day. Give your kids memories and traditions. They’ll last much longer than that Wii or Tickle-Me-Elmo.