Should we cancel Christmas? One mom did in response to the rampant commercialism! Check out the video with Jeannie Cunnion on this link: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/12/05/do-really-need-to-cancel-christmas.html.
Christmas provokes many thoughts--positive and not-so-positive, warm and cold all at the same time. For many, Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. THe lights. The tree. The cookies. The caroelrs. The traditions. The time with family. For others, this may not be the best time of the year, in part because they feel burned by the incessant commercialism that rages in our country. For some, this commercialism has triggered the canceling of Christmas. If you have children, Christmas is pretty hard to avoid, though, so you may want to find a way to handle it and find balance, assuming you are of a religious faith or family tradition that does so. Granted, it's tough--you are bombarded for months before Christmas with ads enticing you to buy things you didn't even know you needed. As you watch the ads, you think about the pile of gifts in the corner of your house from last year that your child "needed" and know sit discarded and forgotten. On the other hand, you don't want to be a kill joy and ruin the fun or have them feel left out as their friends enjoy their cool new toys. I know often parents are unsure of how to instill an altrustic and grateful spirit in their kids and are afraid that the "gimme, gimme's" will overtake them! I have provided a few thoughts, however, on the subject. First, it can help to remember the true and historical meaning of Christmas--that Jesus, God's Son, came to earth as a baby born to Mary and Joseph. One tool to do this is by remembering Advent. Advent is all about the expectation of Christmas and in the process lighting candles each day that represent joy, peace, love, and hope. Children love the excitement of anticipation and are fascinated by this candlelight. There are often stories, Scripture verses, and candy that accompany this daily practice. Lots of resources online! I also like the book, The Family Book of Advent by Carol Garborg. It's filled with stories and activities to celebrate Advent. Second, remind children that the practice of gift-giving came in response to God sending his gift of Jesus to the world. Third, involve children in the process of buying for others. It may be a struggle (as we discovered with my three-year-old who had the "gimme's") but if you press on, they will quickly get into the spirit of bringing joy to others and being selfless. Children learn it's NOT ALL ABOUT THEM! Fourth, consider serving in a soup kitchen or finding other ways to help the community (food drives, donations, etc.). Last, perhaps you are thinking, "sure, I can do those things, but what do I do about my parents who buy out the store for my kids?" Valid concern. Consider having a tough conversation with them and asking them to respect your wishes of moderation. Hopefully they will listen. If not, remember that you as the parent have more influence over your children and that you can continue working to encourage gratefulness and instill an altruistic attitude!