Thursday, December 6, 2012

* Using Christmas As An Opportunity To Teach That Less Is More

How many of us, as parents, try to buy every item on our kid's wish list
(to the best of our ability or within financial reason)? I know I am guilty of it. 
My girls live a very comfortable suburban existence. They have closets full of clothes, shoes that fit on their feet, food in their tummies, bookshelves full of books and a play room that is stocked with toys, games, and puzzles. Christmas and the winter holidays seem to have shifted, especially in 
our consumer driven American culture, into a feeding frenzy for stores telling us (and our kids) that more is more and we should buy every last toy on our children's wish lists no matter the financial or emotional cost.

I read a great article on The Power of No over at the Mom's Homeroom website, I think you should too. It's a great reminder that you are NOT a bad parent if you don't buy everything your child asks for.
In fact, you really shouldn't. What kind of life lesson are we teaching our children if they always get EVERYthing they want? Do you, as an adult, always get everything YOU want? No, of course not. 
Isn't it more fun to have some things you still wish or dream for?
Isn't it more fun for everyone if mom and dad aren't drowning in credit card debt because they blew their budget buying a bunch of plastic toys that kid's didn't even knew they wanted two months ago before the holiday commercial bombardment started? 

I'd like to suggest some other ideas this year.

1. Keep it Simple = Less is More.
How about, picking 2 or 3 things you know your child REALLY wants and will get a lot of pleasure from and leave the rest of their wish list for another time. Perhaps to carry over to a birthday or other special event? Are they still going to want it then? If so, great. If not, they probably didn't really need or want it.

2. How about the gift of time?
Time with you. Time with grandma and grandpa.That's what they really want. One-on-one time. 
Your complete attention - no computers, no cell phones -- just you.
Take a nature walk, visit a museum together, snuggle on the couch with a stack of books,play a game with your kid(s). Make some art or crafts together. Need some ideas? Check out my blog! (shameless plug) Play in the kitchen - cook something together or make play dough together, or do kitchen "science" experiments together. All of these activities are mostly free and they will build memories.
Your child will remember the afternoon you spent doing a puzzle together, painting watercolors together, or blowing up baking soda with vinegar and food coloring in the kitchen more than that piece of flashing plastic! I promise. 

3. Homemade Gifts
My girls love stuff I've made or picked up at a craft show or Etsy 10 times MORE than anything I buy at the toy store. Here's a link to my Homemade Christmas Gifts Ideas Pinterest Board - all kinds of fun kid-friendly gift ideas on here. Not crafty? That's okay, write a short story.  Make a "mix tape" CD. Record your voice reading a book out loud onto a CD and make your own "read aloud" book kit.
Put together a science experiments kit - checkout the Kitchen Pantry Scientist blog for all kinds of fun ideas!
Wishing you all a LESS stressful December
filled with MORE quality time and memories for your family!

Pink and Green Mama


Katie said...

Right On!

Art Mama said...

Nicely said! A few years ago I started getting the kids tickets to events and museums as holiday and birthday gifts - last Easter the bunny even brought a family pass to the Museum of Natural History.

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

I love that idea!! We're big Museum fans around here!!

~The Bargain Babe from *Zucchini Summer Blog* said...

I am on board! We do 4 gifts for our kids on Christmas, "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read."

It makes me really THINK about what I'm buying them and focuses more on quality than just buying junk so there is more under the tree. :)

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Love it, yes we do that to for each other and the girls. Santa still hasn't gotten the update so there will be a few extra goodies from him but we've still dialed it way back from the plastic toy bonanza that Christmas morning used to be!!

Phyl said...

My son is a young adult, working a first career job and living in Boston. He struggles to make ends meet financially, with the high rent and expenses and his not-so-high salary. He told me that he needs to buy new clothes, as what he owns is getting worn out. I suggested I could help him out with that for a holiday gift (give him $ to buy what he needs, since I am not there to go shopping with him). He was upset with me - said he already owes us so much, for helping with college and everything else, that he does not want us to spend any $$ on him. :( He doesn't understand that it isn't about spending $$, it's that I want to help him out since he is just starting out and everything costs so much. Sigh.

Raising a Happy Child said...

Great points. Every year I think that we will get more reasonable with Christmas gifts, and then my husband gets wild, because his family showered each other with Christmas gifts. So this is yet another overindulgent Christmas in our suburban family, I am afraid.

pink and green mama MaryLea said...

We're not there yet either, I am going back through the present "pile" to pull some out for their winter birthdays!

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