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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

As it turns out, they ARE listening...

So, I'm not quite sure what I've done.  I make a big effort to teach my kids to be grateful for what they have.  They know not to ask for things in the store and are generally happy with what they've got.  Well...

They seriously think they're not getting anything for Christmas.

Not like 'You were bad, you're not getting anything', but a very matter-of-fact 'We have everything we need.  We don't need anything for Christmas.'  I know because Girlie's teacher at church asked J if the kids really aren't getting any presents for Christmas?   

We had a conversation a couple weeks ago.

Girlie:  I am sooooo excited for Christmas!!!
Me:  You are?
Girlie:  YES!!!  I mean, but not for presents or anything, just because I love Christmas and I want to do a service project where we donate newborn kits--
Sammy (looking very surprised and a little skeptical):  People really donate newborn kids?
Girlie:  No, like onesies and diapers for babies.  KITS.
Sammy:  Yeah, I'm excited for Christmas too.  Not for presents, either. 
Girlie:  Yeah, we have everything we need.
Me:  Yes, we're very lucky, aren't we?
(a pause)
Girlie:  Are we really not getting any presents for Christmas?
Me: Have you ever not gotten any presents for Christmas?
Girlie:  No.
I just smile.

Fast forward to the conversation where Girlie proclaims to all her friends at church that there are no presents in our household this year.  And, while we're doing a more-experiences-instead-of-tons-of-gifts year, of course my kids are getting presents.

But I'm having a bit of a dilemma.  Am I Scroogy if I just let my kids believe they're not getting gifts?  There's no "I want this", no wish lists, no circling things in catalogs, really...no thought of ...self.  And isn't that what I want for my kids?  Except...is it?  It's weird, because I didn't think that kids would actually be like this.  Are they missing some of the excitement of Christmas?  We certainly want our kids to focus more on the birth of the Savior, and they're thrilled with the service things we've got planned, and they certainly are getting wonderful gifts and experiences for Christmas.  I'm just wondering if they've listened ...too well.  We are taking them to see Santa (even though we're not big promoters of Santa), but I'm pretty sure they'll have a blank look when he asks them what they want, since "a farm with horses" is off the table for now.  What do you think?  Are they missing part of childhood?  Or are they exactly the kind of people I have been trying to raise? 

Thoughts?

6 love notes:

Bryner Family said...

The magic of Christmas is the birth of our Savior and the giving spirit. You have done a fabulous job! They will appreciate what they get but not be pining for everything in the stores. Go Elvidge kids! :)

melmich said...

You are doing a great job. Don't change it. We have told our kids it three gifts only. Christ only got three so why should you get more than that. And to cut down the "i wants". They have told all thier friends so I get to tell parents why. I love the missionary moments.

jamie said...

i think it's great. if it wasn't so imbedded in society, i'd get rid of the whole santa silliness. you don't need santa and truck-loads of gifts in order for Christmas to be magical!

kim said...

I think that is pretty awesome. Neat that they genuinely are okay with no presents. I would love to know what your service ideas are. I have been thinking for months about some kind of neat service we could do as a family with small kids. Good job!!

Aubrey said...

I have to give a dissenting opinion. I think you can focus on the true meaning of Christmas, while also enjoying the excitement of Santa and presents. If I were a kid, and I thought I wasn't going to get any presents for Christmas, I would probably try to put on a brave face but I would be pretty devastated inside. That's not a very fun way to spend the season. For me, giving and receiving gifts is a way to show your love (it's my strongest love language, so I may be biased on this whole thing). Your kids might be fine thinking they're not getting anything, but it might be good to clear up the misunderstanding (because it sounds like that's what it was).
I hope you have a wonderful season!

Happy Mom said...

I love good parenting! I happen to really like Santa and feel like he's a great type of Christ.

However, I hate that Christmas has become all about buying more and spending more and getting more.

Good for you guys!