Christmas is one of the most joyful times of the year. People seem a little nicer, a little more generous than any other holiday. Even if your feet were stepped on during Black Friday's sales, it is worth seeing a smile on a child's face Christmas day.
Last week, I took my children to the mall for a playdate. I normally don't bring both of my children to the mall with me, but since my son was out of school, he came along. After we had our playdate, my son saw Toy Story 3 figurines in a display window and immediately got excited. He stood at the display window pointing and smiling. As I attempted to direct him to the food court for lunch, he became upset and so I decided to take him to the Disney Store where all the Toy Story 3 merchandise could be seen. I thought to myself what harm could it do to take my children into the Disney Store just to look at some toys. That was my first mistake of Parenting 101... Never Give In.
After we arrived at the Disney Store, he immediately pointed to the box that was in the display window. He went over to the Toy Story 3 merchandise and not only picked up a box for himself, but got one for his little sister as well. Then it dawned on me... they expect me to purchase these items. I had no intention of shopping that day. Be it that I have never taken them into a toy store, I forgot about the possible repercussions of this decision. I thought, "Am I one of those sucker parents who buys toys for their children even though Christmas is three weeks away?" The answer that day was yes. I bought those toys thinking I'll just deduct that from the Christmas budget.
Once we got back home, they immediately wanted to play with their toys. I opened the packages and let all ten of their figurines out of the box. After they were done playing with them, I directed them to clean up their toys and find a place for them. To my dismay, there was no room for these new toys. Their toy bins were full, their closet was full and even their activity table was full. We had officially reached our max for toys and had no space for new ones. So, I decided that this year I'm going to turn my children into givers. Which means that their old toys will have to be given to a local childcare facility, local shelter, family, friends, etc. in order to make room for the new toys.
Christmas is definitely a time to give abundantly to our children, but it's also a time to teach them how to be givers. If your children have an abundance of games, clothes, toys, books, gaming systems, it's time to give some of those items away. I hear stories from other parents describing the Christmas list their children wrote out this year and am just in awe of what they request. You would think money grows on trees. This is a perfect time to teach them about giving to others instead of solely receiving. Taking away old toys from my children and giving them away might cause my little ones to get upset, but teaching them how to be givers and not just receivers is well worth the tears. Have a Merry Christmas!