Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Considering Christmas

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. It's really feeling like Christmas down here in the south! Or at least like I'm used to Christmas. It's cold and rainy, just like Oregon.

With the children, we really have tried to step away from over indulging them. They have very loving and wonderful grandparents who can do that!

The sheer volume of toys and gifts that would come in to the house when we had just three children was overwhelming. Around that time, my mom began giving our family a membership to the zoo. It was a fantastic gift. It didn't take up any space and it got us all out of the house.

This year, my mom isn't getting us a zoo membership. The biggest reason is that most of the kids won't use it and it's not fair to the big kids.

Still, I didn't particularly want the kids to get more toys they'd lose interest in. Our solution was magazine subscriptions! The kids love to get mail and getting a magazine suited to their individual interests is something that will make them happy (and get them reading) all year. When Kari turned 4, my mom gave her a subscription to zoo books. Two years later, she's still looking at those magazines and learning. This year, she's getting Highlights!

Another way we are curbing the present overload is getting one large gift for the family to play with. Last year, we got a Wii. Grandma and Grandpa S helped with that one. The kids all received some games, too. This year, the same grandparents contributed towards a new TV. That one was a bit hard to hide from the kids and it's already set up in the living room. We really needed one as the old one was built last century and had a green spot.

The idea of a family gift was one that we discussed with the kids. We asked them if they wanted a bunch of smaller gifts or one large gift for the family. Kari was the only dissenting vote as she wanted ice skating lessons, and let's face it...Kari aka danger girl on ice skates is either going to be very good or very very very bad, as in amputated finger or something bad.

An idea for Christmas I really fell in love with followed this little rhyme:

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read

How great is that? It makes shopping and idea finding very easy! Based on that little rhyme, my holiday shopping is just about over.

Christmas isn't about gift overload. It's about the birth of Jesus Christ. We've already been given the greatest gift from Him. And, it's our job as parents to show that Love to others and teach our children how to do the same. When Christmas becomes about the presents, it really loses it's meaning. I don't want that for my kids.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Every year, we scale back a little more (after mistakenly going crazy for a couple years). It feels like the fewer gifts under the tree, the more important what is there -- and the spirit in which those gifts were given.

  2. We are cutting way back this year. The funds are limite and when we stood back and looked, there is nothing my kids need and few things they want. We decided surgery on Riley Dog's knee would make all of us happy.


  3. In our house, WE are it. No grandparents, no plethora of aunts and/or uncles to shower them with gifts. So, we splurge at Christmas. I've seen others spend more but our budget seems to fall into a middle ground. We balance that by spending a lot of time talking throughout the season about Jesus and how awesome his Father was to send him to us. This year, as part of our Advent celebration, each night of Advent we read a special spiritual message with an associated scripture passage. We're all really getting something out of it and I'm happy to add it to our traditions.


Thanks and have a great day!