Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The BEST gift you can give your child this Christmas!

I've mentioned before that since my kids don't watch television, they do not ask for things.  They are actually confused when people ask what they want for Christmas and say things like: a doll and candy canes.  We don't do the whole look in a catalog and circle what you want thing.  They play so nicely with what they already have (which is a lot...mostly hand me downs and birthday gifts) that they truly don't need another single toy! 

Now, I'm not so extreme that I don't buy my girls anything for Christmas, but instead we buy them one or two gifts.  This year they both got a doll and a book.  Sofia got the Little House on the Prairie paper doll book and Maya got the second Where's Waldo book.  Emmy, our little girl, got an inflatable toy she can throw around the house without breaking things! All their gifts cost less than $100. And they will be perfectly happy on Christmas.

To me, it seems out of control.  Parents spending hundreds per child on Christmas, ridiculously long Christmas gift lists, and the overall sense of entitlement we are teaching our children.  I'm pretty sure I won't be getting $500 worth of gifts for Christmas, so why would I teach my kids to start to expect that sort of gift flow?

I get it, that it feels good for parents to give children wonderful and bountiful gifts!  The problem is, that the satisfaction (for both parents and children) is fleeting.  In a couple months those hundreds of dollars of toys and games will end up in piles on your kids' floor and you'll be yelling at them to tidy them up!

Instead, I'm trying hard to give my kids the BEST gift this Christmas...the gift of a servants heart.

We have been focusing this season on how we can help others who are in need.  I think it has really helped the girls (and myself!) realize how MUCH we really have and how little we need compared to most people in the world!

The girls and I participated in Samaritans Purse through our MOPS group.  We packed two shoeboxes full of items for a child in need.  It was an eye-opening experience for the girls to go to Target and pick out things for our boxes.  Sofia thought that a Leapster would be a good gift and was shocked to find out that where these boxes were going there was no electricity or even batteries!  While we picked out things like toothbrushes and crayons, the girls learned how things they take for granted were treasures to other children!  With a small donation, you can track your boxes...ours ended up in Jordan and Honduras!

Our homeschooling group has been making scarves and hats for a mission that helps the poor in our area.  Using a loom, Sofia has been able to help me knit several scarves!  I will blog about how to do this in a later post because I'm so surprised that a 5 year old can learn it!  It is super easy and whips out a scarf in only a few hours.

Finally, the girls and I have been making "Get Well Soon" cards for a local boy who has cancer.  His Christmas wish was to receive 1000 cards!  If you are interested in sending Joey a card to help him achieve what is expected to be his last Christmas wish, please email me and I will send you the contact information.

Making our Get Well Soon Joey cards!

In these last few days before Christmas, forget about that last toy on their list, it's not too late to make this season what it really is meant to be...a celebration of the birth of Jesus!  Jesus can be found in many places this Christmas season....I'm just pretty sure it's not at Toys R' Us.


  1. Beautiful advice and so true! God bless you for teaching your children to have a servant's heart! So rare in today's society. Hope you are having a wonderful Advent.

    God bless,

  2. So true Nicole!! We also buy only 1-2 small gifts for the kids.....because like you said within a short time they forget all about these toys!

  3. I guess I just don't think it has to be either all. I don't think it is right to imply that to only have a spiritual Christmas you can't give your children very many presents. I think it is reasonable to spend money on gifts and also remember Christ in the season. You don't have to spend a fortune but I think it's also okay to buy more than a couple small things. I feel we have a very balanced Christmas season of almsgiving, church services, bible readings, advent wreath, baking and lots of presents. I don't have a set number for the kids each year it has to do with our budget and what sort of things they would like. We don't buy toys through out the year for the kids, just for Christmas and birthdays. If I bought them just two small things for Christmas and Birthdays they really wouldn't have much to play with through out the year. They play with all there stuff for many hours and many days/months and some toys last years. I find it a blessing to be able to give my children fun and creative toys to play with. Especially since we homeschool and they spend a great deal of time at home. I love creating an environment for them with lots of arts and crafts, books and toys to enjoy their days and childhood.

  4. Nicole - Faith in Small ThingsDecember 16, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Hi Nancy Ann! Thanks for responding! I totally agree with CAN have a spiritual Christmas with gifts. What I don't buy into, however, is the over abundance of gifts parents feel their children are entitled to. It sounds like your family is doing a wonderful job of keeping the true meaning of Christmas alive!