/> Raising Angels: Making a List

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Making a List

Remember when I said this? I'm happy to report that I do and even happier to report I have (basically) stuck to my guns this year.

It started with a discussion Nelson and I had about making a concerted effort to try to take the materialist elements out of our celebration this year. I have always been a bargain shopper consequently; the kids have always had lots of gifts under the tree. Most years, they've had very nice gifts that I got for free or very inexpensively. Regardless of what I paid, what they got was stuff...lots of it.

This year I wanted to avoid the stuff. We don't need more stuff.

A month ago, I remembered something a friend of mine told me she did with her kids for Christmas. It was going to be a startling difference but, I figured we’ve got to start sometime. So around Thanksgiving I told the kids to make their Christmas lists. "You can ask for something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read," I floated, expecting a barrage of protests.

Instead there was a silence. "So we can only ask for four things?" one child finally noted.

"You can put more than one thing in each column because other people will be getting you gifts, but we are going to stick to four,” I said with feigned resolve. And that was it.

The lists were made with much thought and little greed. I saw these young children really mulling over what qualifies as a need and what qualifies as want. It was beautiful. The lists were simple and easy; therefore, so was shopping.

That’s how it started and we’ll see how it all pans out. Whatever the case, I definitely think we’re headed in the right direction.


Blogger the holly said...

love. it.

we've started planning for next year with a similar strategy, adding:
1. something to give: each child will receive a certain amount of money and a few ideas of how to use it to bless, encourage or help someone in need.
2. something active: each child will receive something that encourages movement - a ball, a bike/pogo stick, etc.
3. something musical: each child will receive something to encourage their musical talents.

keep us posted! we all need to encourage each other as we take a different tactic here.

as a friend of mine said to me: my grandma got a pencil for christmas. and she was happy about it.

a sobering and reorienting thought.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is great to avoid the excess during Christmas. The focus should be on the birth of Christ. I have a friend who gives her children 3 presents for christmas just as Jesus received from the wise men. The "gold" gift is the big item they have being longing for, the "myrrh" gift is something for their bodies such as clothing, shoes, etc. and the "frankincense" gift is something that will encourage spiritual growth.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Great ideas ladies. As the shopping finished so peacefully a week or two before Christmas, I found that it was more me that I needed to tame rather than the kids. I had to tell myself everytime I walked into a store, "You're done. Stick to your guns. It's enough." The end result was happy kiddos and happy parents.

4:03 PM  

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