The Challenge of Christmas

We took the boys Christmas shopping on Saturday and they weren’t the only ones who were like, “I want all the toys!”

It seemed like just about everything had their names written all over it. I would have loved to wrap them all and see the boys’ faces light up on Christmas morning as they opened perfect gift after perfect gift after perfect gift.

But then, who wants to find a place for all that stuff? Who wants to foot the bill? Who wants to clean up 78 toys every day? (And would their faces really light up after three hours of present-opening? What about all those things that get lost in the mountain of wrapping paper?)

And also, who has time to play with so much stuff? Who can really grow to love and appreciate the special thing they have when they have everything? Who can explore and delve deep into their gifts when they have so many to choose from?

The challenge of Christmas, I think, is to carefully curate from all the possibilities out there the one(s) that would be most meaningful. The experiences we choose to engage in, the gifts we choose to give, the things we focus on throughout the season.

This is the season of giving. And giving is so much fun. Being able to give generously is a gift in itself. But I hope I am also able to give carefully, thoughtfully, specifically.

At our house, we have some guidelines for Christmas gifting: Something to read, something to wear, something to play with, something handmade. This has made it easy for us to reign in the desire to throw the whole toy store under the tree. It’s also assured us that we’re fair and square. And it’s encouraged us to really evaluate what it is we’re giving and why.

I’d love to hear how you handle gifting to your children. Do you have specific rules? A budget for each child? Do you worry about not being generous enough? About being too generous?

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  1. I’m heard about families deciding to tell their kids a gift or two is from santa and the rest is from mom or dad– so they have an appreciation for their parent’s sacra fixes, and less of a give me attitude for what santa brings… I’m also thinking about doing this so my little guys don’t run around telling everyone santa isn’t real….


  2. This is a constant concern for me. (and the husband). We have decided, 4 things. Something they want, something they need, something to play with and something to read. We also do sibling gifts (a la and this has actually been the kids’ favorite things! They are so young, we try to keep things small so they know that GIVING is important at Christmas time, and always.


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