Christmas is coming! I’ve already forewarned my children that we’re going to have a simple Christmas this year and pare things down a bit as money is a bit tight. I tell them this every year.
I have an inbuilt fear of owning too much stuff, and with four children this takes management. We are already doing our Christmas clear-out, on the premise that if new stuff is coming in to the house some stuff has to go out, otherwise there won’t be enough room for it. Even for the meagre amount they’ll be getting.
It’s so tempting at Christmas to try and get the kids everything they want, especially when they all have rich friends who get really expensive stuff. I have to remind myself that less is more, and that too much devalues the worth of all of it.
At Christmas I remember to ask myself: When I give something to my child, what am I taking away?
And my answer is: if I give too much I take away gratitude and appreciation for the little things; the ability to enjoy Christmas based on anything other than the accumulation of consumer goods; the value of the really important stuff like having a good time together; the acceptance that you don’t always get what you want… and on and on…
There’s a book I really love (no, not ‘Scrooge’..) which has a great description of a Christmas Day which used to really excite me as a child, it sounded like the most perfect magical Christmas I could ever imagine. In ‘What Katy Did’ they were very poor, so all the children made things for each other, and wrote funny poems, and were thrilled to receive things like an ORANGE as a gift!! They certainly knew how to have a simple Christmas.
It’s Chapter 10 if you want to read it out to your children.