As the days until Christmas get less and less, my kids’ lists get longer and longer
Every night they are adding another item they forgot about. I found myself getting irritated with them and myself thinking “Are they ungrateful? Am I raising entitled kids?”
After a lot of pondering, I came to some conclusions and I wanted to share them with you in case you are experiencing some conflict this holiday. First, I do not blame my kids at all. They are simply responding to the world they live in. On a daily basis, someone asks them “What are you asking for this Christmas?” It’s a hot topic at school and everywhere we go, we are reminded of how many days are left to get in on the sales for the holidays.
My children’s requests are pretty in line with what you would expect from kids their age – aside from the pineapple guitar my son wants. There are some items that will not make it under the tree but all in all I feel okay about our approach to Christmas gifts. Here are some tips that have helped me feel good about gifting at Christmas so I can enjoy the holidays and focus on what it’s about:
Do Holidays Your Way
Try not to ask others what they are getting their kids for Christmas. Avoiding this topic has really helped me do holidays that way my husband and I want. I have made this mistake many times and it always leads me to second guessing myself. I ask someone what he or she are getting their kids for ideas for mine and next thing you know I am comparing and feeling like I am not doing enough. No one knows your children better than you and if your kids make a list than they will tell you exactly what you want. Ask yourself what an ideal Christmas situation looks like and do it that way – for you and your family.
Set a Limit and Plan
This is a decision between you and your significant other – no one else. There are various ideas out there you could implement if you want to limit like this one: “Gift I want, a gift I need, a gift I wear, a gift I read”. Or you set a financial limit or number of gifts, etc. Whatever you decide it is YOUR decision and only you need to feel good about it. You do not need approval from friends or family. If you are looking for approval then you need to ask yourself “why?”
Yes, I said that. It’s not easy but we need to disappoint our kids. They need to learn that they cannot have everything. Unfortunately, my kids will not find a puppy or iPhone under the tree this year. Would I love to see their faces if a puppy jumped out of a box, yes? But, I can achieve this in other ways and I want my kids to learn that they already have all they need and a lot of that comes with the next tip.
Include Gifts of Time
One of the greatest ways you can teach a child about love is by gifting them time with you. If children are getting love and attention, you will see that they will ask for less and be content with what they have. In recent years, my husband and I have really focused on BEING with our kids and we found their toys were played with less. Consider coupons rewarding them a special day with mom or dad. This has been a big hit in our house and it will help teach your child to be grateful for who is in their life not what is in their life.
Practice and Role Model Gratitude
If you want your child to say “Thank you” and be appreciative, make sure you are modeling this behavior. I remember when my kids were young we would say to them, “What do you say?” and they would often get embarrassed and not want to say “Thank you”. I found this strange until I thought of myself. First, I do not like being told what to do. Second, parents often say this in a shaming way, which completely takes away from the act of being thankful.
A great way to step up the “thank yous” in your house is to up your game as well. Start showing your appreciation to be people. Tell them how much you love them. Thank them for being in your life, not just when they give you something. Say it in front of your kids. Write thank you cards and sit with your kids and teach them to write them too. Make gratitude journals or gratitude bulletin board in your home and write things you are grateful for. Here is a how we practice in our home.
Volunteer or Give Gifts to Others
In an attempt to get our kids to understand how lucky they are, my husband and I used to tell them how there are kids that don’t get a lot of Christmas. This didn’t seem to matter to them and it would upset me until I realized that it didn’t matter because they saw it. How can they relate to something they have never seen or experienced? Doing acts of service as a family is a great way to teach your children the meaning of the holidays. My kids get very excited about donating their toys and adopting families. They love picking out gifts and get a sense of responsibility and pride.
Have Them Give Gifts Too
Give your kids the task of giving gifts to loved ones as well. This is a great way to teach them to express their love their friends and family. I write a list of the family members and they go through the list and decide what they want to give each person. Sometimes they make something and other times they make cards with reasons why they love them