Holiday expectations

Toad has a good post about expectations this holiday season over at SpouseBUZZ. And he's right. People's expectations are so high. And we buy into it.

At Princess Trouble's school, the expectation exists that goody bags will be provided for every holiday. And I'm not just talking about the biggies - Christmas and Halloween. We're talking Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Columbus Day. Oh, yeah, and your kid's birthday.

Yes, you are expected to provide gifts for your child's classmates on your child's birthday. I do not understand that concept. Nor do I abide by it. My children are demanding enough - a trait we are working diligently to eliminate - and do not need to be encouraged to want more. As parents, we do our best to encourage a desire to give as opposed to receive.

After Thanksgiving and before Christmas, the kids and I go through their toys (of which they have too many, if you ask me) and determine which toys they no longer play with as well as which toys they have outgrown. From amongst that group, they select 3 toys each to donate to a local charity or to church. They seem to enjoy thinking about which toys other children will enjoy the most which is exactly the train of thought I'm looking for.

For Christmas, they each get 3 gifts from us. A friend of mine a few years ago explained how she and her family did gifting. Their theory was that Jesus was given three gifts on his birthday (Christmas) - gold, frankincense, and myrrh - therefore their children each receive three gifts. I love the idea. I also love the fact that my kids (for the most part) get as excited about selecting gifts for others as they do about getting gifts themselves. Part of that could be the fact that they are shopping with someone else's money...but I'll take it any way I can get it.

This year, for our "local" friends, we are making goody boxes. Nothing fancy but sweet, nonetheless. The kids are helping and having a blast. When we get done putting them all together, the kids will give them out to our friends. They are looking forward to donning their Santa hats and passing out yummies!

I love this time of year. I love the opportunity it affords - even forces - us to teach our children how to have a joyous heart when it comes to giving.


- hfs

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