Thursday, December 10, 2009


Recently DEBBIE did a great post on giving and receiving and how she plans to have her daughter, Isabel, appreciate the things she is given and to have a heart of gratitude. I love her idea of filling a box with purged toys and giving it to children in need. I think this would work great for us. When Samuel gets older, I want us to volunteer at a soup kitchen too.

Appreciation, saying, "thank you," and manners in general, is definitely lacking in our culture these days. Even now, when Samuel hands me a toy, I say, "thank you," so that the words will, hopefully, become habit. Children do not appreciate the "things" they have, when in reality, we all know that, "things" will not make them happy anyway. They don't realize that there are so many people out there that just struggle to find the basics (food, clothing, shelter) and a PS3 isn't even on their radar.

When I was a little kid, my mother definitely went overboard with presents for Christmas. I think we just got used to having a lot, even though she always wished she could give us more. My parents were hard pressed for money (8 children) (though we never knew it then), she stressed herself out and didn't really enjoy the holidays. My mother couldn't even keep track of where she hid all the stuff she bought us. One year I got a sled, wrapped in Christmas paper, for my birthday, in February, because she only stumbled upon it again after Christmas was over. My favorite memories don't come from the gifts I received, but from the holidays where all my siblings came home and we played games all day, told jokes and ate wonderful food. I don't think I even played with my toys until a week later, after everyone left. Since Samuel's birthday is in December, I think we'll only give him one thing on his birthday and one thing for Christmas. The rest will be from Santa. We're going to ask Santa to limit his gift giving too. He'll also receive presents from his extremely, generous grandparents, aunts and uncles.

As a Christian, I understand that Christmas is not about the gifts, but should be focused on Our Lord and Savior, but (please don't send me angry comments....), just as a relationship with Christ matures over the years, I think a child's understanding does too. I want my child to understand that this was when our Savior was born, but I also want him to be excited about Santa coming, have fun decorating, seeing the winter parade and driving around on Christmas Eve to see everyone's lights. I think you can have both and not have to sacrifice one for the other. You can teach that just as Jesus thought of and helped all of us, it's our job to help and take care of others. As they get older and their understanding of Santa matures, I will have taught them along the way the "true meaning" of Christmas and that will then take them through their adulthood. I want to give Samuel a magical childhood and I think Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are part of what creates that.

Hard work, faith, a giving spirit, saving, humor, imagination, a love of books and learning, traditions and respect will take you farther and will last longer then any i-touch whatever, PS5000, or $500 pair of sunglasses. Samuel has already sent his first thank you cards for the gifts he's been given (I write with my left hand...ha, ha, ha.), he loves to laugh and reading time is fast becoming his favorite time of day, so we're on the right track.


Rebekah said...

This is great Tracey! I want to teach Ty all the same things. Starting with simple Thank yous is wonderful!

AJ said...

Thank you for the reminder! ;)
This is so true!

LL said...

I agree that a simple thank you is a great start. Just acknowledging the thought behind the gift.

I have family/friends that do not celebrate Halloween, or talk about Santa etc because of their Christian beliefs but like you, I think that is a part of childhood. And I think we are able to teach our children what is the "Truth" and what is not but fun to "believe" in at least for a little while. be a kid again. :)

Debbie B said...

Great post. My favorite memories from my childhood are all of using just sitting on my parents bed talking and listening to my dad sing Blue Velvet to make the dog go crazy. No stuff required.