Fellow blogger and Mum of two boys, Pam Lorimer recently posed a question on her blog about children’s attitudes towards Christmas. Like many parents, Pam worries that we may be raising a generation of “little emperors.”
Plenty of people complain that Christmas has become too commercial but that only becomes an issue if you buy into it! When I was a child, our Christmas stocking was just that – a fabric sock shaped holder with a limit to what could be physically placed in it.
These days stockings have been replaced with sacks (an American tradition?) which hold far more items so a lot of kids probably get a lot more stuff these days. But of course, it’s adults who control how much and what goes in the sack. Our boys have a sack which we use for practical things (towels, sunblock, surf bootees, art supplies). They get one larger item from us as well.
Another newish trend (not one I grew up with at least) is Christmas lists. Personally, I’m not into them. Sure ask your kids what they’d like and share ideas with relatives but the best presents our children have ever received have been original ideas from people who put some thought into what they gave.
In terms of trying to teach kids/teens some perspective, I get the boys to help me buy gifts for other people and we try to buy sensibly from shops and local artists who are ethically minded/original.
But remember, there are other ways to “spoil” children. I think Pam’s use of the word EXPECT is key . When kids/teens EXPECT everything on a list or have unrealistic expectations or are not involved in giving themselves, they become selfish. And it’s up to us to lead by example. A few years ago, we started a new tradition. I got each of the boys to put $10 of their own money together to buy gifts for the local Women’s Refuge. It’s a small gesture but I hope that as they grow older, they’ll undertstand what Christmas is really about – family, friends and a generosity of spirit.
Merry Christmas ♥