“I want this and this and oh this too!” Are you starting to hear this in your house as all those wonderful Christmas catalogues arrive in the mail and the bright signs and decorations are all over the shops? The joy!
Besides the fact that this time of the year can be very expensive and we don’t want to disappoint our little cherubs, it can be an extremely stressful time of the year trying to come up with gifts for our family, friends, little somethings for colleagues and even teachers! Where do you draw the line? Last year I asked my two to write a list under the headings of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. You can guess which list was the longest?
As a society I think we have lost the meaning of Christmas and other celebratory days which have become very commercialised. For our children it is all about the latest gadget, brand, toy etc and not about spending time with family and friends. Yes I know they are young and being spoilt on Christmas day is a right as a child, but they are never too young to be reminded about the true meaning.
Last year I gave my two teenage nieces something a little different other than their Mac make up and Coles Myer gift cards. Last Christmas one provided a goat for a family through World Vision and another some chickens. At first I had to explain to them what I had done and why but once they understood they thought it was fantastic. (One point for their favourite Aunty!) I explained to my daughter and son what I had done and why. I asked them to tell me what they thought was important to those children living in a third world country, what would be on their list if they could write one? It came down to them understanding that there are children around the world, in Australia and in their community that may not be getting almost everything on their wish list because they simply cannot afford it or don’t have the resources.
These children would like three meals a day, fresh water, a roof over their heads and most importantly, a future, something we can take for granted that our children will have and we as parents will do whatever it takes to make that happen.
This year, my two cherubs will be putting a line through one thing on their wish list and we will be placing it under the Kmart Wishing tree. They will be selecting, wrapping and placing a gift under the tree knowing they will be getting one less gift. Why? Because it is about giving, not receiving.
Remember, when you are standing there agonising over what to give someone, less is more. Over the years as a teacher I have been given some beautiful and thoughtful gifts. The one thing I treasure the most are the cards that parents take the time to sit and write. I still have many that have been written to me over the years and reflect on them when I doubt myself or I am having a bad day. Sometimes a simple “thank you” is all that is needed. Believe me, sometimes they are very few and far between given we spend so much time with their children and do the best that we can for them.
Happy shopping, may the force be with you!