Despite still at the end of October, many (me included) start thinking about the Christmas presents. Now whether you are Christian or not, if you celebrate the holiday, you need to be mindful when it comes to children and gifts.
As a Christian, one needs to remember and keep the real festival in our minds – the birth of Christ! It is a festival which reminds us of how God was born among us, within a poor family for the simple reason that He loves us and wants to save us from our fallen nature. With these thoughts in mind therefore, we can not justify buying tons of presents to our children! the focus should remain the birth of Jesus and not of receiving gifts….but of giving gifts, of showing love and of feeling that love when we see someone enjoying the gift we gave them. Of showing appreciation and of being humble.
This we can do by keeping Jesus alive in our thoughts and actions throughout Advent and the 12 days of Christmas. By giving gifts to the needy and having the children be an active part of that. By giving one simple gift in Christmas to your children and save the big presents for their birthday. By encouraging home made gifts within the family – this I found makes the gift more personal, children will think long and hard what they can make to each other that they will like and feel the joy of giving more than receiving.
Now if you are not Christian but celebrate the holiday, one can still keep up the practice of keeping the festival as one of giving and showing love. So again I would encourage small single gifts for the holiday and big gifts for the birthdays. Make home made gifts to each other and ensure you focus more on giving to others than of receiving yourselves.
This also makes sense when we also look at it from a parenting aspect. Children will learn to be grateful for what they have, appreciate the gift, learn delayed gratification when their wish list is long and only 1 gift is received. They will not get overwhelmed with too many toys/gadgets etc -remember that children especially those in the under 8 year old bracket, get overwhelmed quickly and when they have a lot of gifts they will not appreciate them, enjoy them or know what to do with them. They will start learning about the joy of giving rather than that of receiving only. It will teach them money responsibility and using a budget by seeing you taking such a step.
On the other hand, if one gift only still doesn’t quite appeal to you, using the 4 gift rule here under can help with transitioning to simpler holiday gifts. The 4 gift rule is very simple, give:
- one present they wish
- one present to wear
- one to read
- one they need
Would love to hear your thoughts!