Rethinking Christmas

It’s everywhere now that Halloween is over. Retailers pounce on the first of November ready to suck you into the “season of giving” and I have to physically restrain myself from joining in early. A few years ago Chuck made this crazy family rule about not putting up the Christmas tree until after Thanksgiving and because I choose my battles wisely I’ve not contested it. (Even though I totally disagree, Scrooge.)

Anyway, it’s been on my mind in recent years that my kids are getting too many gifts for Christmas. I know that sounds weird, and in comparison to other families and folks I know the amount of loot my boys get is noticeably less. Still, as they get older they ask for more things and Christmas becomes more about getting than giving. Thanks to the people of Target, who sent their Holiday Toy Catalogue to my house somehow, the boys are now obsessed over what might come their way on Christmas morning. I hear about it every day. They even flip through the catalogue while sitting on the toilet. No lie.

And then I saw this on Pinterest:

It’s almost like a challenge. How brilliant! When the boys were toddlers I attempted a three-gift rule (Jesus got three gifts so you get three gifts) but I failed miserably. I kept finding great deals or little things I knew they’d love to have, and that problem is no different today. Shopping for them is a blast! I’ve already found three or four things for both of them and tucked them away in my closet for Christmas. But now with this Four Gift Rule in mind, I’m reconsidering. Perhaps I’ll keep things tucked away for birthdays or special treats throughout the year, or maybe I’ll give these things away to other children on behalf of the boys. I’m not sure how it will play out but I’m trying hard to listen to the voice in my head telling me to scale it back.

Last year was the first year I made a bigger deal about Advent, which totally debunks Chuck’s argument that Christmas is a day and not a season, which is the foundation of his argument about no Christmas trees before Thanksgiving… But I digress. (I love you, babe!) Christmas is absolutely a season. It’s all about the preparation of our hearts and minds for the birth of Christ, but I’m afraid we’ve conditioned the boys to instead prepare their hearts and minds for the receiving of toys and video games. They might be disappointed this year when all of their hopes and dreams don’t come true under the Christmas tree, but I’m thinking this shift to a less-is-more holiday is necessary.

Remind me of this when I find a massive Lego sale or all the Avengers toys are half off.

11 Comments

  1. It’s because you LOVE them that you want them yo have all the cool things that will make them happy. I love the
    four gift rule! Think as Mom-Mom, I could abide by it?

  2. I love the *idea* of it, its sweet, uncomplicated, something I often yearn for.
    personally I love the gift buying and finding the little bits and bobs to make them smile. If I was to bring this list in at all at Christmas it would be to suggest the kids scale down their asking. maybe I would get them to ask for something they want, something they need etc. and then its up to you to scale back as much as you feel you can/ want to. If money was tight this would certainly be a lovely tool.

  3. I’m thinking there would be some loopholes, particularly in the area of stocking stuffers. Perhaps that’s a place for the smaller tidbits that we all find throughout the month. Maybe there’s another small gift on Christmas Eve or an addition gift swap between siblings. I’m just trying to avoid that excessively tall tower of gifts, you know? When they have too many things, they don’t even relish them one at a time. It becomes a race to unwrap everything in a hurry because there are so many to get through. But maybe if there are fewer – four from the parents, one from each brother, another couple of SMALL things in the stocking, PLUS whatever comes in from grandparents and other extended family – then maybe they’ll be more deeply enjoyed and treasured. It is definitely a challenge!

  4. Note to you’re husband: Your wife is correct. Christmas is a season — it lasts 12 days. Fun fact for ya, the song the 12 Days of Christmas can be used in the Christian church to teach about the faith: http://www.cresourcei.org/cy12days.html

    Note to you: great post — it is hard when it comes to buying gifts and keeping the season all about Christ. Maybe what you could do is use the list also for them to learn about giving (maybe to a shelter or something). Have them give a gently used toy, piece of clothing, a book. Not sure about how to give something you want — you could get creative with that one 😀

    1. We are actually very good about donated toys and clothes throughout the entire year, but we could probably go the extra mile at Christmas and give a little more.

    1. Ha! You’re funny, Danh. Just so you know, Jeremy doesn’t believe in Santa. He’s far too mature for that nonsense. Jack refers to Santa sometimes, but I’m not really sure what he believes… Of course, he believes he’ll grow up to be Tony Stark, so there’s no telling.

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