Holiday Wish Lists….
All kids have “wish lists”! Should Santa bring it all?
This will definitely date me, but when our 4 children were young, the favorite “book” in the house at this time of year was the J.C. Penney’s catalog. It was well used! The pages were tattered, and the kids had toys circled and starred on every page, sometimes everything on the page! It was definitely a “wish book”. Some of those toys were circled every single year, but Santa never brought them. Are my kids scarred because they didn’t get that snow cone maker or cotton candy maker that they wanted each year, or how about that mini red convertible that they could drive? No…I think they are just fine, and our Christmas mornings were full of joy and excitement every year.
How do we as parents keep the holidays not “all about the gifts”? So many of us want to make this time of year more stress free, happy, joyous, and centered on the meaning of the season, but gifts often take the center stage. Our children can enjoy the magic of the season, they can have a wish list, but we must help our children understand the difference between wishes and needs, and how to be grateful and appreciative of those gifts that they receive. We as parents need to be thoughtful when we buy our children their holiday gifts, and realize that our children don’t need everything on their wish list, and not getting everything on their wish list is actually better for our child! Families have been brainwashed for years now. In our minds, a lavish Christmas is a sign that we love our children more. We are bombarded with materialism from every side. We are told that the perfect Christmas only comes with money spent on decorations and many, many gifts. We know that Christmas is not about “buying love”, but sometimes it is difficult to remember this. As a parent, ask yourself…
“What is my most treasured holiday memory?” Most often it does not include a gift. The memories usually include activities, moments with family, and/or events. Sit down as a family and talk about traditions that you would like to establish in your home. Those moments of tradition will cement your family together.
When shopping for your children remember:
- A large number of new toys and gifts can be overwhelming. Receiving a few is still very exciting and when your child is not overwhelmed with too many toys, they will actually play with the toys more often.
- The newest is not always the best. More classic toys that can be played with in several ways are much more valuable. Children learn through play by using their imagination and creativity. Don’t invest in toys that are “one button wonders”; purchase toys that foster your child’s growth.
- Buy toys that are developmentally appropriate and safe. Even if you have a budding genius (don’t we all!) the age on the box is there for a reason. Usually the recommended age is there for safety purposes, like choking hazards. Remember too that toys that are not appropriate for your child’s developmental level will not advance him but frustrate him.
- Life lessens are learned when your child does not receive everything that is on his or her wish list! Remember, over indulging your child does not represent love and may actually set your child up for major disappointment later. In life, we simply don’t always get what we want, but we can learn to appreciate what we have!
So, am I advocating a gift free Christmas? Absolutely not. Will I be shopping for my children hoping that I find a few gifts that my children need and yes a few that they just simply want for Christmas…absolutely! But, I am reminding all of us that those gifts are not a definition of love…and that life will be just fine for all four of my children, even when that Ipad is not under the tree!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.