I already feel it–the pressure.
Just a peek on social media and I feel like I’m chasing the holidays and I’m falling behind and it’s not even December 1. Maybe you feel it, too?
It’s not just all the busyness and festivities of the pending season, it’s the understanding that it’s up to parents to make Christmas perfect for our kids.
We are supposed to make it magical. The best Christmas ever.
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing perfect about my life. It’s messy. There are unexpected bills and difficult decisions and challenging relationships, crockpot dinners and there is a lot of hard work. Christmas is for the broken, the needy, the hopeless. It’s for people like me and you. And the message we give our children about this holy season isn’t found under a tree, it’s discovered on it.
It’s easy to hear what our culture is telling us our kids need–but let’s talk about what they don’t need wrapped up this holiday season:
10 Things Our Kids Don’t Need This Holiday Season:
1. A Free Pass | It’s okay to expect our kids to contribute this Christmas–to help cook and clean, bake and wrap and to work extra jobs around the house or the neighborhood to help buy gifts for family members and friends. If they aren’t old enough to rake leaves or babysit, create a job jar with suggested ideas. They will feel good about what they give if we don’t give them a free pass.
2. An Elaborate Advent |.If you haven’t thought twice about Advent activities with your kids, you’re in good company. It’s overwhelming getting dinner on the table, much less planning 24 kid-friendly moments that are worthy of preparing little hearts for the coming of Jesus. Talk about pressure. My Advent Rule: Try something. Anything. Read one Scripture. Light one candle. Pray one prayer. Direct one heart to Him.
3. A Pin-worthy Holiday Season | I try not to even look at Pinterest this time of year. Oh, I love it, but sometimes, all the perfection makes me feel pretty pathetic. Our kids don’t need perfect cookies, they just need us to bake with them. They don’t need us to make their holidays look like someone else’s, they just need us.
4. Everything They Ask For | A couple of years ago, a friend told me she just didn’t know how she was going to get everything on her child’s Christmas wish list. When I said, “You don’t have to,” she looked shocked and little relieved. Kids will usually take everything we give them. But that doesn’t mean we should give them everything they want.
5. Our Guilt | There’s a lot of guilt (and depression) this time of year. Our kids have been fed the lie they can have and deserve everything they ask for and when we can’t or won’t give it, we might feel guilty. There’s no room for guilt this time of year. Giving your best and doing your best has very little to do with things.
6. Stuff They Don’t Need | Fun stocking stuffers never hurt anyone, but filling our home with the latest fads and trends only sets a precedence for more fads and trends. Years ago, we missed the beauty of Christmas Eve trying to hunt down that hard-to-find toy that ended up going unappreciated. It only ends when we let it
7. Stuff We Can’t Afford | 1 in 3 people will go into debt this Christmas. Paying off presents that have been long discarded months after the holidays isn’t fun for anyone. Let’s give our kids more than this.
8. For Christmas to Be All About Them | There’s nothing like Christmas with kids–their wonder and joy. But we can’t make it all about them. Some of our favorite memories involve giving Christmas away– sneaking gifts on a single mom’s porch, shopping for children who won’t have much, giving gifts that cost us something….these are the best moments.
9. A Glossed Over Christmas Story | The frenzy of December–the tree and lights and gifts, the parties and food and celebration overshadow the true Christmas story..the one that started in a smelly stable, with an exhausted girl and a dirty birth. One that would change the world and our our lives. This humble, imperfect place is the heart of Christmas and it’s a story our kids need to hear.
10. Christmas Wrapped Up in a Tidy Bow | Let’s embrace the imperfections of the season this year–the unfulfilled wish lists, the unwanted gifts, the unhappy moments. These are the opportunities to point our kids to the truth of the season and to the One who will make all things perfect.
Read more about beating entitlement with gratitude in Raising Grateful Kids in An Entitled World.