November 28, 2007 - by Terri Johnson
Get Rid of the Gimmees!
9 Steps to a Meaningful Christmas for You and Your
Christmas can be a magical time for children. Yet this holiday
can also bring out whininess, disappointment and an ungrateful
"gimme, gimme" attitude in our normally sweet children. How can
we, as caring parents, counter-act this contagious and
disheartening attitude? Let's use the word CHRISTMAS as an
acrostic to remember some key thoughts and actions that can
help our children (and ourselves) gain a proper perspective and
appreciation for this most holy of holidays.
C - The letter "C" stands for two words - candles and carols.
Light your home with the glow of candlelight. The presence of
candlelight evokes a holy essence in your home - fitting for
the holy occasion that we celebrate. Fragrant candles are even
better! And remember to sing the carols of Christmas - together
as a family and to yourself as you go about your daily tasks.
Play them also on your stereo. The words of the traditional
carols will imprint themselves upon your heart and mind and
upon the hearts of your children as well.
H - The letter "H" stands for homemade. Christmas does not have
to empty your bank account. In fact, the most meaningful
Christmas gifts are usually the ones that are the least
expensive. Children naturally love to give the creations that
they make. Help them to find gifts that they can participate in
the making of - simple yet thoughtful gifts that show their
love and care for the receiver. (This year, my children are
making fleece scarves and pocket warmers for their cousins and
R - "R" stands for reading the Christmas story. Do not forget
to spend time in the Word of God, reading the account of our
Savior's birth. He is the reason we celebrate this time of
giving. We follow in the footsteps of the wise men who gave
their precious gifts to an infant King, the Savior of the
world. And do not just read it aloud together once, but several
times throughout the upcoming weeks. (Helpful hint - this
relates to letters "M" and "A" below.)
I - "I" stands for invite. Open up your home and invite your
friends and neighbors in for tea and cookies. Why keep all
those yummy cookies to ourselves when we can share them with
friends? Don't worry about having your home look like a picture
out of a magazine. We don't need to be perfect. Our homes do
not need to be perfect. But we do need to share the love of
Christ with our friends and neighbors.
S - "S" is for scoot out the unused toys. Like it or not, your
children will be receiving more stuff for Christmas. Prior to
Christmas is a perfect time for sorting through unused and
unwanted items and giving them away to charity. During this
cold and dark season, your unwanted blankets, coats and shoes
can be a very real blessing to those who have less than we
T - The letter "T" stands for toss. Toss out the toy catalogs!
This one is serious. One of the major causes of the "gimme"
attitude springs from the onslaught of toy catalogs that enter
our homes every autumn. If you would like to keep a few to
order from, then by all means do. But do not put them into the
hands of your children just to browse, or even to give you
ideas. Scanning through toy upon gadget upon toy will begin to
spoil the giving heart that you have instilled in your child
only to be replaced by envious thoughts.
M - This one relates to the letter "R" above. "M" stands for
memorize. Take a few moments every morning to memorize
scripture. Luke 2:1-20 or Isaiah 9:6-7 are both good choices
for this time of year. If you are reading this prior to
Thanksgiving, Psalm 100 is an excellent psalm to memorize and
it is only 5 verses long. Very doable!
A - Celebrate Advent. If you have never celebrated advent,
perhaps this is the year to begin. Basically, advent is a
purposeful celebration during the four weeks that count down to
Christmas, reminding us each day of the first coming of our
Lord and His imminent second coming. Here is a handy
downloadable book that you can have in time for the first
Sunday of Advent, which, by the way, is November 27th.
S - "S" is for Santa. I'm not knocking the fun that can had
with the idea of Santa, but don't be afraid to tell your kids
the truth. There is a good book that explains where the story
of "Santa" came from and it is called Santa, Are You For Real?
We let our older children help in the Santa fun. The younger
kids set out the plate of cookies and write Santa a nice note.
The older children get to stay up later and eat the cookies and
write a return note from "Santa". Another fun activity is to
play Secret Santa during the month of December. Each member of
the family draws the name of another member of the family. The
name of the person you draw is the one to whom you become the
"secret santa". This gives family members the opportunity to do
kind things for each other. These things can include giving
small gifts, writing notes of encouragement, or doing acts of
service. But be sure not to get caught! Reveal yourself to your
special someone on Christmas Eve.
Enjoy Christmas this year and if you feel yourself getting
weighed down by whininess or ungrateful attitudes within your
family, remember the acrostic CHRISTMAS and do one thing
different to make a change within your home. May God bless you
and keep you and give you peace.