Guess what your kids really want for Christmas:
(hint: It’s not at Toys-R-Us)
Do your kids start behaving like greedy little Grinches with the approach of Christmas? Do they make long, impossible wish lists for gifts? Are you worried they’ll compare what you buy for them to what their friends or classmates are getting? Do you find yourself anxiously trying to balance the need for Christmas morning “Wow!” factor with your household budget?
You are not alone.
Kids are inundated with advertisements for toys and games featuring happy families playing together. The warm and carefree environment adds to the appeal of the product. Advertisements for products for adults do the same thing: the young, hip yoga mom who eats Chobani yogurt, or the guy in the 2017 Chevy Silverado who’s hauling ATV’s through the desert. We don’t want the product so much as its promises for a fulfilling life. It’s not hard to understand why kids want these toys and all the promises of joy and togetherness that come with them.
The real need
Your kids may think they want/ need the latest toy or gadget to have a merry Christmas, but the truth is, they need love. They need attention and positive affirmation. They need family time with plenty of silliness and warmth. They need a parent who is willing to put down their phone for more than a minute and be truly engaged in the things that matter to them. They need patience and they need kindness. They need your love.
The truth is, accumulating material “stuff” will not make your child any happier. Everyday observation of kids and adults alike reveal this to be true. In fact, children and adults who have loads of material goods but lacking personal relationships are pretty miserable folks.
So what do you do now?
Here are some ideas for meaningful “gifts” of love you can offer your children this holiday season:
- Explain to your child that Christmas is about “presence,” not “presents”. It’s not about the physical gifts we give each other, but about the Gift that God gave us, His Son.
- Celebrate the love in your family. Celebrate the love that is filled in your hearts for each other. Because of this, initiate activities (which may even become traditions) that validate your love for one another. For example: write and fold little “appreciation” cards to put on the tree for each other.
- Sit around the twinkly Christmas tree in the dark and tell Christmas stories from books or your own childhood memories. Or better yet, the Christmas story from the oldest book around.
- Snuggle up and enjoy Christmas movies together (no phones!)
- Go ice skating together
The list could go on and on, and all of these can bring the family together for that warm and fuzzy Hallmark Christmas feeling without breaking the bank. Give your kids what they really want this Christmas: unconditional love.