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  • Writer's pictureValerie

Protecting the Heart of the Holidays

The Christmas season is upon us, and the internal parenting dilemma begins.

How do we get the focus of the holiday to shift to Jesus and not all the STUFF?

It’s that internal battle between wanting to ‘provide’ all the things our kids want, and not wanting to direct them toward entitlement.

Around our house, we’ve toned down birthdays a good bit, and focused on family activities, but there is just something about Christmas. Something like Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol, that makes me want to buy all the things and throw YES around like confetti.

While that kind of attitude is fun and makes everyone ‘happy’, it has side effects… Entitlement…

We’ve all heard this catchy word, and like the good parents we are we want to avoid it.

But how do you fight the Entitlement beast in a season that culturally has a focus of, “I want” and “Give me that”.

Last year I shared a post on how our family tried to keep Jesus at the heart of our Christmas (Prepping for Christmas), and this year I want to share how we battle this trend.

When my kids were younger, I read a blog (that I can’t find any more) called the Christmas Conundrum. And no not the card game.

This blogger tried to take on the entitlement monster by only getting their kids five gifts.

Something they Need

Something to Wear

Something to Learn

Something to Read

Something they Want

Our family implemented this a few years back, and some years we do good of staying within the boundaries. But when one of your husband’s love languages is gift giving, things can get out of hand quickly.

Other tips and tricks I’ve used are:

To avoid listless shopping in the month of December

-I know <gasp> how do I do this? We’ll my birthday is in October, once that event rolls past, I start my Christmas shopping. My husband and I sit down and fill in the items on the ‘somethings’ list above. Then we decide who is going to take care of which item.

When get our shopping done and we’re done. If we have to go to a store for some reason during the holidays, we make are list and stick to it. At least I do, my gift giving husband is a wildcard.

I also limit TV and social media during this season, because the marketing monsters are out to get us.

Have kids make a “Something’s List” for anyone who would be getting them gifts that holiday.

This helps me deal with the kids repetitive ‘can I have that for Christmas’ statements. Because once we’ve passed on the lists there’s no adding to them. You’ve made you lists, and no matter what you get remember it was given in love.” I might need to make a boomerang with that statement.

Go gift shopping for siblings and cousins and charities

Every year I take each kid individually to go shopping for their siblings and cousins. Now this is a trip that could get very expensive, if we didn’t stay in the $5 and below aisles. True they may not be the best quality gifts, and they may not get used much by the recipient. My main goal in taking these trips is to challenge my kids to think of what someone else might want. Not just what they want or might want to negotiate away from said recipient. (It’s happened)

Last year, my in-law did the sweetest thing. They came over and gave each one of our kids a brochure of gift items to kids/communities in poverty. Then they told them the budget they had to work with and let them choose an item or two in the catalogs. My kids loved this process. And I loved watching my kids’ personalities shine in the way that they processed and chose their gifts to children they will never meet.

Other things we do, have done, or might do this year to remember the Heart of the Holidays

Toys for Tots

Angel Tree

Operation Christmas Child

The Giving Manger


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