My guess is that even with Christmas less than a week away, many of us are still frantic trying to make sure we get those last minute gifts for our tweens and teens. If your kids are anything like mine, something seems to happen in our teens’ brains the week before Christmas. Those synapses that didn’t seem to be fully functioning as the semester came to a close suddenly switch into high gear. Without prompting, it’s as if a whole new Christmas list begins to emerge.
Just when I think my shopping is done, I sometimes find out that what I’ve already purchased is no longer on the Christmas list. Things that have never before been mentioned become all they want under the tree.
And we question our purchases and run back out to the store to get the “special” gift. After all, most of us don’t want our kids to be disappointed on Christmas day.
Last week my son and I were in the car together talking about what he might get his siblings for Christmas. Of course, the conversation turned to what he was hoping would be under the tree for him. I listened in disbelief as he told me that all he wanted was two items. The crazy part for me was that I had no idea those two things were even on his list even though he assured me he had mentioned them several times.
So I do what most parents do. I debate with myself. Do I take back an item and replace it with the new wish or do I just add to my Christmas budget rationalizing that Christmas only comes once a year?
And then a Christmas memory surfaces from when my kids were teens. The latest requested gift was not under the tree. Some of you might remember the video game Rock Band that was out several years ago. It came with electronic drums, a guitar, and a microphone. Yes, there was some disappointment that it wasn’t under the tree, but then something amazing happened.
I think for the first time in history all of my kids agreed on something. They agreed they needed Rock Band. Then they devised their own plan. They pooled their money (not equally, but as each one could afford), and they decided together to purchase the game. My husband and I had no part in the discussion. They worked it all out on their own and they had the most awesome Christmas break ever! They took turns playing guitar, drums, or doing vocals and they laughed like I’d never seen before.
It made me realize what we would have missed if we had put the game under the tree.
Almost a decade later, if we talk about Christmas memories, that one is the first to surface. They learned some valuable lessons that year.
- They learned that Mom and Dad are not always going to supply every want under the tree.
- They learned to deal with disappointment on Christmas day.
- They learned problem solving and negotiation skills.
And most of all–they created an awesome memory that will be remembered for a lifetime.
We all know that Christmas is not about the gifts–but is that how we parent? Are we more focused on giving our kids exactly what they want at that moment in time or are we focused on the memories that will remain even after the gift has lost its appeal?
Many of you have probably seen the IKEA video that went viral on Facebook. While the kids in the video are certainly younger than tweens and teens, I’m guessing that in reality if that experiment was done with our kids, we’d see similar results.
Dare you to contemplate what memories you want your kids to have on Christmas morning or throughout the holiday season and decide if the frantic trip to the mall might be sending the wrong message.
Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends!
“Let go…and let God”,
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