Having kids in your life at Christmas time is magical.
We love spending time with your grandkids and sharing their excitement as Christmas approaches.
I love all things Xmas regardless but adding grandkids to the mix has raised the bar! Really fun. The Joy of Childhood on Christmas Morning is not to be missed.
We do holiday baking, craft day, deliver gifts to neighbors, decorate the tree, all on different days so December is a fun filled month! The eldest loves to look for ideas on Pinterest and we have had a lot of fun brainstorming.
Last year we did a spaghetti dinner “fundraiser”. They earned money from that and used it to buy XMas gifts. More on that here.
The gift buying for kids is tricky.
First off, our grandkids have FOUR grandmothers who buy them gifts. Then their parents are divorced so they get two Christmases. See where I am going here? They get PLENTY of gifts. No shortage. Since they have been little, we have tried to the grandparents who are less-is-more for Xmas and focus on gifts with meaning and depth:
- bookshelves for their room
We would spend the majority of our budget on these higher quality gifts and then I would hit The Dollar Store and buy some little things to wrap so “they would have things to open from under the tree”.
DH kept asking, “why are we buying them “pre-landfill”?
Because they want LOTS to Open on Christmas Morning!
Of course they do. They are kids. But investing $20 in crap from the Dollar Store on “pre-landfill” just so they have more to open in a frenzy is not doing them (or you or the planet) any favors.
Christmas time is magical.
The end of Xmas is a let down. So is the end of their birthday. Vacation.
We all have experienced it. Coming to terms with it at an early age means you are dealing with one of life’s disappointments and getting through it.
That helps you grow.
Avoiding those feelings and protecting the kids in your life from this isn’t helpful.
The story of the school kids with the aquarium housing a cocoon comes to mind. The kids watch every day to see the little caterpillar build his coccoon. They know he will break out of his cocoon and they will see what he has become. When the day comes, they watch as he struggles to get out. One child waits until no one is looking and reaches in and helps the caterpillar break open the cocoon to get out. What the child didn’t realize was that the very act of breaking out was what strengthened the caterpillar to enable him to emerge as a fully formed butterfly and to fly. As a result, the released butterfly was never able to fly and sadly died.
The child was trying to be kind and help.
As we help kids grow up to be responsible adults who succeed, we must let them learn and grow. We want to be kind and helpful when a child is sad or disappointed. Some lessons are hard and painful. So much better to understand at 7 than at 37. If you haven’t learned about the end of an exciting time and that all good things come to an end by the time you are an adult, you are poised for some deep disappointment and unrealistic expectations. This can carry over into the ability to be successful in a job, marriage, adult relationships, etc.
Coming to terms for us all about realistic expectations for the holidays and our own role and how we model to children in our lives is worth considering and reflecting upon. I know I was party to this and need to let the reality of the day set in. Talking about the meaning of Christmas for your family is a perfect transition for your kids. Spending time being thankful and content is a skill that needs practice.
Movies like “Its a Wonderful life”, “The Grinch who stole Xmas”, and “A Christmas Carol” offer good teaching points.
Don’t forget to talk to your kids about what they learned from these. If you skip that part, you miss a valuable teaching moment that helps them pull it all together in their forming minds.
When the inevitable holiday blues descend, share your feelings. Then share your goal, successes, and what you love about your life right now. Contentment is a muscle that must be exercised.
Let’s model how we work through these feelings and experiences. The “blues” is often short lived if we just address it. If someone gets stuck there, often doing something for others gets one out of that funk. See “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for that message.
What are your experiences with Holiday spending and the feelings vs values at this time of year?