Every parent loves waking up on Christmas morning, anxious to see the excitement, joy and wonder on their children’s faces when they see presents nestled under the tree. Some parents, like me, might even be more excited than their kids when the wrapping paper starts getting ripped off. Watching their faces light up brighter than the tree is an amazing feeling.
The only thing that could spoil this beautiful moment for me is when they’ve finally unwrapped all their gifts and are disappointed to see that the $80, $100, $200 toys that they REALLY wanted are not there. The making of Christmas lists are so deeply ingrained in our Christmas traditions that it may seem like blasphemy or cruelty to not participate. To me, it seems like we’re setting our kids up for this disappointment by showing them glossy toy catalogs or strolling down toy store aisles, looking at hundreds of beautiful things that they’ll never have and don’t really need. Young children have no concept of how money works or what sacrifices their parents may be making to get them those gifts under the tree. It’s unfair to all of us and yet we do this year after year without a second thought.
We’re all looking for ways to teach our children gratitude and minimize their materialism. Why not start by banishing Christmas lists? Or trips to the toy store? True story: I go to Target nearly every day and my kids have no idea that the toy aisles exist. As far as my kids are concerned that section is a gaping black hole because I avoid it like it’s aging mystery meat at a Chinese buffet. As a result, there are no impulse toy buys cluttering up my home. No toy-related crying or screaming in the aisles. No begging for toys they’ll never have. At my house I have a zero tolerance policy for toy catalogs; they go straight from our mailbox into the recycle bin. All toy shopping is done online after they go to bed or while they’re at school.
I don’t need a wish list to know what my kids would love. Honestly, my 4 year old would be perfectly happy with any gifts that I put under the tree because it’s not really about the gift itself for her. She’s excited by the idea that Santa and his reindeer came to our house. She’s excited by the idea that Christmas magic exists. And I’m excited that I can give her that special gift. It’s a gift you won’t find in any store or catalog. Why spoil it with unnecessary disappointment?
Do your kids make Christmas lists? I’d love to hear your thoughts on banning Christmas lists in the comments section below.
Photo credit: choreograph / 123RF Stock Photography