First World Problems

Christmas is coming, and my kids don’t need anything.

I used to have great ideas about what to get the kids.  I had a list of a few items each to buy.  Now, the boys really don’t play with toys.  Elena likes lip gloss and lotions, which she can buy with her own money.  (Plus, she just had a birthday.)  Christina just wants to play with the cats.  They don’t need anything else.  They have so much stuff that they can’t even keep their room clean as it is.

It hasn’t always been this way. I remember the second year of running the business (2006).  We had NO money.  A contractor owed us money for a good sized job, and all of my resources went to pay the mortgage, utilities, etc.  I had $100 to spend on my three (at the time) kids.  Luckily they were young, but a lot of what they received was necessities.  Christina and Micah were young enough not to care too much.  Elena was still young enough to really appreciate used toys.  We survived.

Now we have been blessed.  We’ve made it through the hard times, but I don’t want business success to equal more stuff.  I kind of want to get each kid one gift and then give them an experience of some kind.  Maybe we could see a show or go somewhere.  If we lived on an island, this would be a lot easier to pull off.

You see, we live in the materialistic capital of Colorado: Douglas County.  We live a sea of well-to-do families.  The school district is fantastic.  The neighborhoods are clean and safe.  It all seems great, but the kids here get insane amounts of gifts for Christmas. The gifts are pretty awesome, too.  Then, the they tell each other what they got.   My kids will be totally excited about Christmas until they talk to their friends.

I really want Christmas to not be about “things.”  I want it to be first about Jesus’s birthday.  Then, it should be about family time.  Is it possible to unmaterialize Christmas in such a materialistic culture?

One thought on “First World Problems

  1. One of my dreams is that, in a few years, when the kids are old enough to understand, we’ll start a tradition of giving gifts to Jesus instead of to one another. Gathering around catalogs from Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, Compassion International, and deciding to give an impoverished family a goat, or provide clean water to a village in Africa, or contribute to a child’s getting brought to America for life-saving surgery. That kind of thing. To be honest, I’d love to start /now/, except my in-laws have enough trouble respecting our rules about the type and quantity of gifts (we often do not buy presents for our own children b/c the grandparents go so overboard) so there is no point in even suggesting a no-toy Christmas, and we’re spending it with them, so…

    Your kids are old enough to get the concept – the girls, anyway – if you talk about it beforehand and get them excited about the good they are able to do for others, which is something pretty cool to tell their friends when everyone else is bragging about their new ipads and xboxes. Watch a couple Advent Conspiracy or Operation Christmas Child vids on youtube together, and talk about how by sacrificing our desire for some item we really don’t need, we can apply that money elsewhere to literally save lives of people we don’t know, and how “a cup of cold water” in his name is counted.

    The words of Jesus on wealth and material goods are sobering. I look around our home and wonder what we are doing to our kids’ souls. It’s so hard to break out of the cultural mold, but Christmas in particular can be a great opportunity to be completely NOT “of the world”. I’m really looking forward to doing it that way.

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