It wasn’t that long ago that my now teenage daughter’s only wish for under the Christmas tree was a beloved Princess Anneliese dress-up dress. It was decked out in pink and sparkles. What other color would it be?
Oh, how times have changed! If you live with a teenager, you know what I mean. A simple princess dress has been replaced with pricey electronics, name-brand shoes and clothes, and the latest tech gadgets.
Back then, I had no problem indulging in a $20 dress, but today, the price tag is much harder on my wallet.
I have been reading the soon to be released book “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World”, by blogger Kristen Welch. And, this time of the year really brings out the ingratitude and “I wants” in my kids; and to tell you the truth, it makes me sad.
Sad, because I know all too well we live in the most blessed country in the world and most of the time we don’t act like it. While children are dying of hunger, can’t go to school because they were born a girl, or don’t have clean water to drink, we fuss about red cups and the non-tree shape of a peanut butter chocolate coated candy bar.
Although we say, “Jesus is the reason for the season”, we don’t live it. We run around frantically buying gifts for everyone we can think of, saying things like, “I don’t know what to get ______________!”, or “______________ is so hard to buy for!”. And, why are we doing it all anyway?
From letters to Santa, Elf on the Shelf, Christmas wish lists, the over-commercialization of the season that we have bought into, we’ve trained our kids, from a very young age, what to expect during this season.
So, basically, it’s our fault. That truth hurts.
This year I am trying to be more intentional with my gift giving, especially the gifts I give to my kids.
Here are 3 gifts I am giving my kids this Christmas, and it’s not things.
- My undivided attention. Everyone really just wants to be heard. When we listen to someone we make them feel valued and important. I really think that is why social media is so popular. People are shouting, “Listen to me!” So, I am being very intentional when one of my daughter’s say, “Mom…” I am stopping what I am doing and listening. I am spending a little extra time snuggling at night after reading. Years from now they will not remember most of the gifts under the tree. They will remember the time spent (or not spent) with me. They will remember if I listened or brushed them off because I was busy with my to-do list.
- Letting go of the Christmas mama guilt. I will not do that Elf on a Shelf thing. Sorry, I just can’t get into it. Maybe I am lazy, or, I just don’t care that much. I didn’t even get the Advent calendar up and filled with chocolate until December 6th this year. And, I won’t be made to feel guilty about it. I will do 1 or 2 traditions that truly mean something to us, but the rest I will let go. Just let it go. Out goes the letter to Santa, in comes more Jesus. Out goes the all day cookie baking and in comes the holiday lights.
- Not buying everything on their wish list. We all want things but things don’t make us happy. Crazy right? I will not buy “fad” items on their list. Fad items get used once or twice then collect dust in the closet. I am talking to you Easy Bake Oven. So, this year they are only receiving items that I am certain will be used often. Of course, with kids, you never really know for sure. Also, giving them everything on their wish teaches them what exactly? Ingratitude.
So tell me, what are you letting go of this Christmas to make it more meaningful?
***Linking Up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your Heart. Go, check out the inspiring bloggers over there.
Hey Jeri, its so true! I recently read an article here in SA in a psychology mag, where they were saying todays kids are molly-coddled, lazy and are whiney! LoL, it came out that parents are bringing their kids up that way and I cannot help but see it. It’s pretty true – although not for all kids. I liked your post and hope you will be sharing in the new “mom book” venture I mailed you about. I think your journey with a teenager is something worth writing about. Blessings ALiyah
I see it with friends (and I am guilty too at times), they don’t want their kids to feel disappointed or failure. And then wonder why their kids go to college and can’t even do a load of laundry! How many times do I see the kids’ school project on a president or an ecosystem diagram that was obviously done by the parent and not the 3rd grader? My mom never helped me with projects…it wasn’t her work to do.