Friday, September 20, 2013

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

It always seems like as soon as fall is here people start thinking about Christmas. Forget Halloween or Thanksgiving, it's all about the shopping and gift-giving. In years past, my husband and I have done Christmas shopping in different ways. Sometimes (when the kids were too young to get it) there were just a few presents under the tree and we kept things simple. In more recent years we have wandered around the store trying to figure out what to put in the basket to make sure each kid was getting the same amount of stuff. Not a lot of thought went into the gifts and it was more about filling the space under the tree than anything else. But last year things changed. I read this blog post about how one family decided to change the way they did Christmas. I loved it. I wanted to do it. So Dave and I sat down and made a list, took some gifts back to the store and let the kids know that Christmas was going to be different. Instead of the pile of gifts under the tree everyone was going to get 4. Just 4 gifts. At first the kids were a little upset, but when we explained to them how we need to focus on what Christmas really was about and not so much on getting stuff they were okay. And they remember. Trevor keeps suggesting things he might want for his "read" gift this year or his "want" gift. The boys asked the other day if they needed to start making a list for their 4 gifts. Makes me happy that they are okay with getting just 4 things and that they don't mind when we keep it simple. I love that they don't expect to be showered with gifts or that they don't spend the whole year asking for things. We have made lots of mistakes as parents with our boys and have messed up a little here and there, but one of the things I think we did right was teaching our kids it's not all about them. They have never wanted for anything, but they also know they can't have whatever they want. So think about trying it this year. Before you start your shopping, maybe see if you can do the 4 gifts this year: something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. It might mean for a smaller pile of presents under the tree, but they might be more thoughtful gifts, more meaningful. And just think of all the money you'll save :)

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