I love a good Santa letter. I love to hear what my kids will ask for, and I love to read their attempts to butter up St. Nick and prove their supposed good behavior. Some years I print off pretty fun paper for their letters, and sometimes I take photos of them mailing their letters to the North Pole. What can I say? I just love the whole tradition!
What I don’t love?
“Mom, I want THAT!”
“Can I ask Santa for this, too?”
“I want to add THIS thing to my list!”
Ugh. I like the idea of the Santa list, but when the list keeps growing right up to Christmas day, I want to scrap the whole process!
My older girls are pretty awesome. They are pretty typical teens, but they really ask for very little. I actually have to dig to get them ask for things, and I am always so proud of their humble requests.
My five-year-old, on the other hand, isn’t quite there yet. She’s still very much mired in the see-it-on-TV-must-have-it-NOW phase. She simply hasn’t learned yet that you don’t get everything you want no matter how many times you ask mom over and over and over. She’s still very much into Santa, and we’re really trying to teach her about the spirit of giving. So this year to try and drive this point home, we’re trying something a little different.
The time for asking is over; the time for giving has begun.
A few days ago, after she asked for the newest must-have item one more time, this new rule just popped out of my mouth.
“The time for asking is over; the time for giving has begun.”
I explained that we would not be asking for any more gifts for Christmas. I told her that now is the time to focus on giving. I asked her to think of the gifts she wants to give her family. This seemed to make her think for a little while, and it kept her on target (for the most part) for the next several days.
Yesterday, though, when I once again reminded her of this new rule, she said, “But I already bought everybody presents!” So we took our giving rule a step further. We talked about giving our love in words and actions, and together we came up with a list of ways she can give to her family.
- Say I love you.
- Cheer for your sisters or parents during a game even if you’re aren’t winning.
- Feed the dog without being asked.
- Take the outside without being asked.
- Clean her room.
- Pick up toys in the family room and put them away.
- Try not to throw tantrums.
- Take turns.
- Draw pictures for family members.
- Help cook meals.
- Avoid fighting with your sisters.
Now of course these giving ideas are all on a five-year-old level, but I’ve decided to challenge the older girls (and myself) to spend the week giving to their family, too.
I’m not expecting perfection in this little project, but I am hoping to keep their minds (and mine) on giving instead of receiving.