We've never been a family to over-indulge our kids on Christmas. (We leave that to the grand-parents.) But, even so, we've had our fair share of Christmases where we've watched the kids rip open presents in a hypnotic daze, quickly moving from one gift to the next without ever taking a moment to really "see" what they actually received.
I'm not a kill-joy. I get the excitement of Christmas morning.
This year, however, when I asked my kids what they wanted for Christmas, they responded with, "We want to see our cousins."
Can't wrap that.
I'll admit, I was proud of them. There just wasn't anything that stood out to them as a "must have" this year. And yet, I do enjoy giving to them, so we adopted a new plan to help them organize their thoughts a bit - maybe help spark some ideas:
- Something they want
- Something they need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
Along with these four specific gifts, I'm planning outings and small activities for each day of December, starting on Sunday with a viewing of "A Christmas Story" at a nearby movie theater. These activities will keep us focused on Christmas daily, so that we are truly enjoying the entire season together, rather than just focusing on making it to the actual day.
We prepped for the season by doing a massive basement clean-out - all of us. Working together. We found plenty of toys that we have since given away, leaving our basement more useable for the kids to have their friends over to play or watch a movie.
Maybe this is what happens as they get older??? It becomes less about what they are going to get on Christmas morning and more about what we're going to do together as a family? For me, it's about creating an environment for the month, so that once Christmas Day arrives, we've already been seeped in the spirit of it all, rather than missing it.
This will be the first time we are limiting the number of gifts they receive, at least from us. We did talk with them about this new simplified approach, and the response, while a bit tentative, was accepted.
Does your family do anything similar for Christmas?
Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder of Daily Fast Fuel. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 12 and 8, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family.