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My husband and I discussed it, and the number one thing we would like to change about our kids’ holiday experience (which, of course, develops into tradition) is to take the focus OFF of the gifts. Our kids pour over the holiday flyers for months. They circle everything! I have, admittedly, been the one to traditionally feed into this “want, want” mentality the most. I want Christmas to be magical for them…BUT…I have two older teens whom I have raised, and who were spoiled beyond belief. There were Christmases during which they actually tired of opening gifts. They became teary and demanding and distracted…and in retrospect, my “over the top” gift giving not only stretched the seams on our wallet to the breaking point, but it diminished the experience of gift giving and getting for grandparents, friends, and other family.
So this year, we have decided to adopt a new policy…mom and dad give “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” That’s IT. They may ask us for a very special gift as “something they want.” But this will help make small gifts from brothers and sisters and others more valuable. We simply don’t want the giving and getting to be the shining focus any more. We plan to read the Christmas story, and have a holiday meal. We’ll attend church services and come home to open gifts…and instead of being overwhelmed and teary, surrounded in wasted paper, batteries, and screwdrivers, we’ll snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie.
Santa will come the next day, with a bit of magic under the tree. But we commit to start learning, as a family, to cherish one another and the gift of God’s salvation through a miraculous and precious baby. And THIS is the Christmas we wish to pass to our children.