Whenever somebody asked my child what she wanted for Christmas she answered ‘a surprise’. I felt all glowey about this – not least because this response was not coached in any way, it came totally from her.
But now she has us scratching our heads, wondering how we can preserve this open-heartedness in her. How do we keep it from turning into the greed, materialism and acquisitiveness that so often comes with Christmas? She is (nearly, nearly) 3 now.
We plan to continue to focus on family, good food and the feeling of love and connection rather than on ‘things’. Will that be enough, I wonder?…
I can’t help but think that cultivating the ‘Christmas spirit’ of giving, gratitude and gracefulness is not about what we do one day a year, what we give her or don’t give her on the 25th of December, what we say when she opens a gift or how we respond to her reactions as she discovers what ‘santa’ brought her… I suspect it is our attitude toward having rather than being all year round, that counts. That is what shapes who she is and how she feels about herself and whether or not she thinks she needs stuff.
A friend of mine said once that she likes to give her kids whatever they want so that they grow up feeling abundant and that whatever they want is within their reach. She comes from kind of new-agey stock :) (as do I, but we see this one differently…) I actually think it is the opposite. The more we cultivate contentedness and gratitude for what we already have the more ‘abundant’ we feel in our hearts and in our lives.
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How about you – what little or big things have you been doing to combat the ‘holidays = gifts’ and the ‘more, bigger, better’ mentality that surrounds our kids this time of year?