Friday, December 24, 2010

Gifts and toy management

In the past few years we have really been trying to tone down the "gifts" aspect of Christmas and instead trying to focus on Jesus and the wonderful gift he has given us. We also try to make the season fun and exciting with plenty of fun family activities. Our gift choices for our children are getting simpler and simpler. This year we are giving books---books our children will love and, for the older ones, books we hope will help them develop some useful skills that they are already interested in.
The kids have also drawn names for each other, and it has been so cute to see them think about what their assigned sibling likes and may enjoy as a gift!

We have found over the years that our children are much happier and more content with less stuff. Do they enjoy having new toys? They sure do! We try to guide their interests to toys and activities that will encourage them to think and use their imaginations. Most of all we try to help them develop skills and character that will be useful as they grow. While Miss J loves to play with dolls, the doll house, and dress-up etc., what she loves most is working along side me doing "real" work in the kitchen, caring for a baby or just sharing time together reading a book! It would be better for both of us to encourage this rather than shoo her off to play with a bunch of toys.

Something else we've noticed is that the more stuff/toys we have the more time we must spend caring for all of it. This means less time for each other. Our children are catching on to this concept and are becoming more thoughtful about the things they are wanting to bring into our home. This has been a process for all of us, an ongoing one that we are enjoying as we learn to be good stewards of what God has given us.

I've seen children that get nearly every toy they could ever want; they are given anything their little hearts think will make them happy. They are rarely happy and content, instead they just want more and think they NEED more to happy. This is a vicious cycle. Many of these toys are junk that do not encourage thought or the use of imagination, the kids are not using their brains. Worse yet, they are not learning contentment, joy, or selflessness (to name a few) instead the character traits they are practicing are greed, and selfishness; ones that children (and adults for that matter) do not need help developing in the first place. ;)

That being said we love for our children to have toys/gifts that they enjoy. We have been blessed with very generous parents that love to give our children wonderful gifts! We are very grateful for their generosity and thankful that they also consider the hearts of our children as they make their gift choices for our children.

1 comment:

  1. Super sweet, Gabe! I love this concept with Christmas gifts. You're such a great mom and a wonderful example to others!