Christmas is only 21 days away, have your kids made their lists yet?
This part of the Christmas season terrifies me sometimes, why? Here are the top 8 questions that cause this anxiety.
Will they ask for something ridiculous?
Will they ask for way too many things?
Will they grow up to be super selfish?
Will list building give them unrealistic expectations?
Will they be disappointed on Christmas morning and ruin the day?
Will the number one item on the list be the most annoying toy ever?
Am I a bad parent by letting materialism enter into our Christmas celebrations?
Are you feeling the anxiety yet?
Anxiety should not be a part of our Christmas holiday.
So, let’s debunk these questions.
Will they ask for something ridiculous?
YES- every time, because in a child’s mind, Christmas is full of possibility. Christmas is the best and without limitation. As a child ‘what if’ questions 98% of the time end in a positive result, while as adults we’re good at finding the negative ‘what ifs’
What if they ask for way too many things?
Do you remember the JCPenny’s catalogs that would always come out around Christmas? They were phone book-sized magazines of anything and everything the store carried. Whenever those catalogs hit my grandmother’s doorstep, my sister and I would make our lists. My list was usually 2-3 pages because I would get bored and want to do something else. But my younger sister’s list usually rounded about 10 pages, every line filled with page number references.
But then, won’t they grow up to be super selfish if we allow that?
There is no 'yes or no' I can give you here because there is more involved in your child’s mental development than a long Christmas list. My younger sister is amazing and has such a generous heart despite her massive Christmas lists. So many other elements of your child’s life will filter into what type of person they will become. Don’t get hung up on a gift list once or twice a year (birthday lists).
Won’t list building give our kids unrealistic expectations?
Perhaps, or if shepherded correctly when they don’t get the 500-dollar Death Star Lego Set, and how we can build gratitude in our kids and add a little gospel in there too. God didn’t have to send Jesus, we didn’t deserve it, and he’s complete without any needs. But he did send Jesus to the manger and the cross because he loved us. The people of Jesus’ time even rejected the gift. So because Grandma loves you she got you a gift you didn’t know you wanted or needed because she loves you, and yes sometimes that means underwear and toothpaste.
Won’t they be disappointed on Christmas morning?
It is a possibility. I remember one Christmas back in the 90s when I received a set of Oliver and Company figurines, and my sister received a large Brontosaurs stuffie from the Land Before Time…Let’s just say a couple of years ago I finally asked for forgiveness for my behavior. It wasn’t pretty and I felt guilty about it for over 20 years. So sometimes disappointment is God training their heart and you have to be a part of the process. Yay Us! (EYE ROLL GIF)
What if they throw a temper tantrum because their sister has the same thing on their list?
Welcome to parenting, lesson 2339828485 entitled: Kids are crazy. Yeah, this is going to happen. And it's a good moment to heart-check your kiddo. Help them see the fun that could be had by the siblings. Or the joy of having a shared interest. Use it as a sibling-building exercise rather than the end of the world. Or think of ways to encourage your kiddo to give that gift to their sibling for Christmas.
Am I a bad Christian parent if I allow materialism into our Christmas celebrations?
Materialism is built into our culture, it’s one of those things we can’t avoid. So better to grab the bull by the horns and plow the field of your kid's heart. It’s not always what we want to be doing at Christmas time, but it is a great crucible for some big lessons. Don’t shy away from them but lean in, and you’ll all be better for it. And you are the best parent to teach the “Reason for the season” to your kiddos, or God wouldn’t have put them in your lives
Let kids be kids. Let them wonder and explore, hope and dream. Then ask these questions.
What makes this item on your list so exciting?
I didn’t know you liked XYZ, why did you put it on your list?
Share memories from your childhood.
Show them your list (You know you have one too)
Your kids are amazing. Remember they are still growing. It takes an apple tree 4-8 years to go from seed to producing fruit of its own. Don’t give up in the process. Fruit will come if we are faithful to prune and care for our little trees.