Did you ever have a child who had just hit his limit with Christmas parties? That was Max this year.
Poor kid. When we told him we were going to party #3, he said, “But I already have enough presents. I don’t need any more!”
Yet, being the ‘mean’ parents that we are, we dragged him away from all of his new treasures at 10:45 on Christmas morning, buckled him into his car seat, and drove to Grandma & Papa P’s house for Christmas party #3…where he CRIED because he didn’t want to open any more presents. Poor child.
Seriously, though, it’s wonderful that our children are loved by so many people in our family. How blessed we are to have so many people who care about us and desire to give good gifts to our children.
At the same time, it breaks my heart to see so many in the world who are living on less than $2 a day…while we OVERLOAD our children with STUFF. Stuff that often ends up in a garage sale 18 months later. Stuff that gets lost, broken, or shoved under a bed for months.
We tried to simplify this year. I spent less on our own children than the previous year. We made donations to Operation Christmas Child, Gospel For Asia, Show Hope, and a few other causes. We asked family to consider giving a donation to Show Hope or Gospel For Asia in our name rather than buying us gifts. (One person chose to do so for Keith this Christmas, and two people did this for me for my birthday in late November.)
I want to give more next year. I want to receive less. Yet I don’t want to take Christmas away from our own children. (Although Max apparently would prefer us to cut back!) It’s a tricky balancing act, isn’t it? I’d like to do some serious thinking and praying about what Christmas should look like in our family’s home next year.
I read the idea this year to GIVE to others as much as you SPEND on your own family and friends. So, if you’re budgeting $50 for each child’s gifts, then you should also budget $50 per child to a worthy cause. This idea really appeals to me, and it’s one that I would like to discuss as an option in our own home.
This year, I’ll be doing some serious praying and thinking and reading in an effort to rethink what Christmas could…and probably should…look like for our family.
What does your family do? How do you find balance? Do you have any suggested reading – books, blogs, articles? I’d love to see some good discussion on simplifying and prioritizing your spending during the Christmas season! Please feel free to comment!