She taught us to dream, but she also taught us to be practical. She was an elementary school music teacher, so I remember some years only having two days to prepare for Christmas; and when I say “prepare”, I mean fully prepare everything — decorations, shopping, baking, everything. Mom didn’t have the time or energy to do any of that stuff before school was out. We always got this line about not having time and money for Christmas this year. We always told her it was OK because we knew it was Jesus’s birthday, not ours. And somehow, she always made us feel like we were having the biggest Christmas ever. It was frantic, last minute, pure, meager — even though we didn’t know it — musical, mystical and full of reminders of our Savior’s birth.
When I think about the general values and memories I want for my kids, my childhood Christmases are always my very first thought.
Now, let’s just be candid. It’s so easy to feel guilt when thinking about the gifts we can’t give to our kids or money we can’t spend on each other. Since we became parents, Michael and I have felt that guilt and we’ve thought and prayed about it and have decided that no matter how fat or slim times are, we will always have a “meager Christmas”. Not to eradicate our feelings of guilt, but to intentionally instill wholesome, Christ-centered values in our children.
It’s so easy to feel guilt when thinking about
the gifts we can’t give to our kids
or money we can’t spend on each other
Here are our four reasons…
1) We’re blessed to not have to have socks and underwear under the tree because, when we need socks and underwear, we can just go buy them immediately. When Christmas comes around, there aren’t many needs to fulfill and, because they’re young, the kids aren’t as aware of their wants as they will be one day.
2) We’re currently working to be debt free and don’t use any credit cards. This means that, we aren’t currently allocating lots of cash for Christmas spending. It also means that, while our kids are little, we can take advantage of their being unaware of their needs and wants beyond right here and now. This is where the guilt comes in. But we’ve decided to see this as our opportunity to teach our children that we are already so blessed with all we have and that it’s “more blessed to give than receive”.
3) In our experience, three new toys seems to be the max for the kids to actually enjoy it all and none of it go to waste. And frankly, they’re going to enjoy the packaging way more than they’ll enjoy the packages’ contents. It’s the blessing and curse of having über-imaginative children. 🙂
So while we currently capitalize on these first three reasons/situations in our life, we see ourselves setting a healthy precedent because…
4) our kids won’t remember the gifts they may or may not have received. They will, however, remember how they felt, the times we spent together, the decorations we hand-made, the food we cooked and ate, the songs we sang, the sacrifices they made to give to others… Those are the lasting, meaningful memories of Christmas.
They will … remember … the lasting,
meaningful memories of Christmas
And all of that meagerness and memory-creating is because we want them to remember to live the Reason for this season: Christ’s birth — the greatest gift ever given!!
A meager Christmas on purpose. For a purpose. For His purpose. To glorify God in all we do — and don’t do.