There’s an item that needs to be in every family member’s stocking this year. It’s rare that we would say “need,” but this is definitely a need.
Part of parenting needs to include teaching the lesson of gratitude. Gratitude begins by saying “Thank You.”
Purchase a box of Thank You notes for each member of the family and place it in their stockings. Find a way to track each gift when opened. Each family member can have their own pad or one family member (in our house it was Mom) can sit with a pad and keep track for everyone. Set aside a night before New Years to sit down as a family writing notes and drinking hot chocolate.
Taking the time to write a Thank You note is not only the right thing to do, it’s also a training thing to do. Nothing teaches gratitude like learning to say “Thank You.”
As busy as the Christmas schedule is for each of us we still need to make sure we are not missing the birthday celebration. One of the best ways to help your children get a proper Christmas attitude is to pick someone else to bless.
When the children were little we began making Christmas cookies in mid December. We made enough to wrap up five boxes of cookies. There are four in our family and we each got to pick a person we would deliver the cookies to. The fifth box was always for our pastor. We wanted to teach that a pastor held a position to be loved and respected.
When we chose the person, our family delivered the cookies and sang “We wish you a Merry Christmas” when they came to the door.
One year our youngest child selected a elderly Jewish lady. “Daddy, if we don’t give her Christmas cookies nobody will, she’s Jewish!”
I had great concerns about the delivery and the song…until we did it. We came, we sang, she cried and I learned.
Pick a person that will be overlooked this Christmas and find a way to get the children to be a blessing. That’s one of the best birthday gifts you can give to Jesus (Matthew 25:40).
Don’t just give Christmas gifts…use Christmas gifting to teach your children.
Each December my dad took my brother and I to New York City to do two things. We ate at a great hamburger restaurant called Choo Choo Burger. But before eating we went to Macy’s to purchase my mom a night gown.
It was horrible! Two boys and a man standing in the negligee section. Wow! We couldn’t even say the word negligee, let alone want to be there watching my dad laugh at us as he held up a night gown. I kept thinking, “What if someone I know sees me standing here?” My dad seemed to enjoy putting us through the humiliation.
Fast forward two decades. Rosemary and I were finishing up Christmas day, and cleaning up the wrapping paper. At that Christmas we had been married for six years. Sitting down I sensed I needed to say something.
“I didn’t really get you what you wanted this year did I” I asked. “I mean I thought I got you what you asked for.”
Then she replied, “Christmas was great, but if you were to get me one more thing I wish you would get me something that said I’m still sexy to you…a night gown or something like that.
I finally got it. Dad wasn’t trying to humiliate us, he was training us to be husbands.
Imagine that your child gets invited to a birthday celebration. As a parent you decide to find out about the guest list.
Hearing that the guest list is made up of friends and family members of yours, you decide to do something very different. You decide to help your child pick out a gift to give to each and every party guest.
In fact, you get so excited by this project that you forget one basic thing. You forget Whose birthday it is!
The Inn keeper in Bethlehem missed the opportunity to celebrate that birth. Don’t let your children miss it.
Find a way to bring the focus back to Christ and His birth this Christmas. Help your children celebrate His birthday.
How do you decide what to give your children for Christmas? Do you give them a gift simply because they ask for it or their friends are all getting one? Or do you wait until the last minute and “walk” through a web-site to see what catches your eye.
Good giving begins with good assessment. Who is this child and what are his/her personal gifts. In order to follow the mandate to “train them up in the way they should go…” Parents do need to begin assessing direction in the personality and aptitude of their child.
When my youngest child was a toddler we watched him gravitate toward playing with things that he could build, such as blocks and even cardboard boxes. Sensing a potential builder or architect we gave gifts that would encourage this talent. His other friends were getting video games and he was getting Lego sets or an architectural program.
Is he an architect today? No, he’s the lead pastor of a church, but we did watch him grow up developing a part of his thinking process that has given him patience and long-term goal setting…very much like designing a building.
This Christmas give gifts that feed their gifts. Instead of just giving gifts that cost, give a gift that counts … toward their future.