Bring back the joy of Christmas with this Christmas Wish list! Read below to discover this 4 gift idea with a twist to help you and your loved ones stay focused on what is important this season.
All of the parents in the room had hoped in some way to share with their children the real meaning of Christmas that this time of the year is more than presents.
We sat around the living room and watched our little ones full of excitement and anticipation waiting to see what “Santa” had brought them.
The moment had come–the opening of gifts. We all have different ways and traditions for opening Christmas presents. Some of us parents had wished our kids opened them one gift at a time, other parents didn’t seem to care but before we knew it our kids had dived in and opened up ALL their gifts.
I sat there taking in all of their little faces filled with absolute joy as they opened their long awaited presents.
But then something happened.
Those smiles turned into frowns. I was confused. How did we get here so quickly?A few minutes had just past when they were flowing with excitement and now they were surrounded with toys. But not just any toy it’s the toys they wanted and wished for all year long and their faces displayed dissatisfaction.
How did we go from excited to entitled?
I was a new parent so I wanted to figure this out so I could guide my children.
There were very few “thank you’s” exchanged but the air wreaked with entitlement. In a matter of seconds, I began hearing, “Is that it?” from most of the kids. Some whispered as they knew better to say it out loud but most just blurted it out.
I sat there in shock as the words echoed in my ears,
“Is that it?” from children who were surrounded with toys.
As a child, I dreamed of a Christmas morning like this filled with piles of gifts and overflowing stockings but because of our financial strains most years we were lucky to receive something small.
Here were kids who could literally get lost under the pile of wrapping paper from all the gifts that had just been opened and all that was heard was–Is that it?.
I was speechless at what had just unfolded before my eyes and my children were as much a part of it as the others kids.
Something Has to Change Moment
That was “the” moment I decided we have to do things differently.
Months later, the words still echoed in my ears–
“Is that it?”
I wondered–What went wrong? All the adults had great intentions. We wanted our kids be filled with gratitude and joy as they opened up their gifts they said they really wanted. But we also had the desire for our children to see that Christmas is more than presents.
The “Gift Rush”
But how could we avoid “the gift rush” of Christmas?
Have you heard of a “sugar rush”?
I looked it up on wiktionary and it says, “A purported state of hyperactivity caused by excessive consumption of sugar, or other simple carbohydrates.”
That’s what happened to our kids that Christmas morning. It wasn’t sugar but it was gifts that caused not hyperactivity but insensitivity and well I’ll just call it was it is–entitlement. So I’ve come up with a word “Gift rush” it’s the only think I can come up with to describe what had that Christmas morning.
“Gift rush” – A purported state of hyperactivity caused by excessive consumption of gifts, stocking stuffers, “give-me’s” or other simple forms of entitlement.”
What we did to bring back the Joy of Christmas
Since that year when they were little ones we decided to be more intentional our Christmas activities. We want to focus on Christ, family and service.
So we enjoy our Christmas ADVENTures countdown with our kids that focuses on Christ and why He came. It’s filled with both spiritual insights and fun things like making cookies but also fun activities to connect them to the reason why Jesus came. Being intentional is not about being a Scrooge and taking all fun out but staying focused and keeping it simple.
Secondly, we changed was how many gifts our kids would get, not because I am against gift giving but because I wanted them to enjoy and value the gifts they were receiving. My hope is for them to think through what is it that they “need and want” and to know the difference.
I want them to realize that Christmas gifts are exactly that a “gift” not a “right”. Not something they are entitled to but a simple way that we express our sentiments for one another.
One thing I value now as an adult about my parents is they gave us what they could afford and never more. They were wise not to go into debt to provide us with a mound of gifts on Christmas morning. Many people walk around with credit cards maxed out and stress as they run around town or scour the internet to buy the perfect pile of gifts for their children but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Thirdly, our desire is to foster compassion, service and kindness so we think about what we can do to give to someone in need.
I don’t know what the Christmas season looks like for you but you can choose for it to look differently for your family even if you’ve been doing things a certain way for the sake of tradition. You can choose to become more intentional and focusing on what you do value your family, faith and serving others.
Bring Back the Joy of Christmas with This 4 Gift Challenge
Can I ask you to be brave enough to say, “I will not go with the flow today I’m removing the expectations I have followed for years that don’t necessarily align with our values.”?
Now you can focus on making memories! Memories that are intentional and filled with value–the gift of Jesus and quality time spent laughing and connecting with family and others.
This simple decision of simplifying Christmas gifts will affect how you view this season, and how your children view it.
It will help you remember to be present not just to give presents.”
It will help you focus on your family, faith and presence.
It will bring peace to your season as you remove the stress that fills our minds and not to mention your pockets.
The best presents are always the ones right in front of us waiting to be discovered.”
So, let’s help our kids discover the presents they already have! Their family, community and faith with this 4 Gift Challenge.
Most of all what I have enjoyed from this challenge how our focus has changed from “Presence not Presents.” Notice I didn’t say no presents because I’m not against presents I’m just changing our focus to things that we value and last.
—>The presence of Christ.
—>The presence of family and friends. The love and memories shared are priceless.
—>The presence of peace. As we slow our hearts and focus on not just receiving but giving.
How does the 4 Gift Challenge Work:
Whether it’s because you want to save money or you’re tired of giving into the commercialism that permeates this season, or simply don’t want more stuff to fill your house–regardless of your reason, fill your next few days answering this question,
“What do I really want to give my family this Christmas?”
You’ll probably come to realize it’s mostly things you can’t buy. The memories you hold on to now from your childhood are probably filled with things like: baking with grandma, watching the Charlie Brown Christmas with your siblings, acting out the Christmas story… Memories that are quality time spent laughing, connecting and serving others.
This Wish List is a great way for your kids to start thinking through the differences of what they need and what they want. Not to mention it will help them think through how they want to serve someone else this year with the last section.
- Share with your kids that this year you want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas-family faith and giving. Print the Wish List out from below.
- Explain that for each category they can write down a couple of suggestions but you’ll only give them one from each, for a total of 3 gifts. (This is not a hard and fast rule but we try to stay focused on 3 gifts.) If they aren’t into a book series I have bought my kids a devotional.
- The last section is where they will have the opportunity to write how they want to bless someone this year. It does NOT have to be something they buy but it can be an act of service. Like raking the leaves or plowing snow for a neighbor. Or baking something for the mailman to show them how we care for them and appreciate them. We all need to embrace giving a bit more in this season as we love and appreciation others.
One of the things we like to do is give a family gift that’s an experience we can enjoy together. Sometimes it’s a trip to the museum, a play, or a board game we all would love. It looks different each year as they enter into different stages of life.
One year it was a trip to Washington D.C. and we invited my in laws and each of our kids picked something they wanted to do with their grandparents. It was a great Christmas gift for the grandparents who have everything, a fun family gift and a treat for our children. We planned out questions they kids would ask their grandparents at meals to get to know them.
Download your free printable!
To download your free Christmas Wish Printable go HERE. Before we went to the 4 gift tradition I made this printable with only the typical 3 gifts, so here’s that version. It’s without the giving to someone in need part but I highly recommend to add that to your Christmas experience this year.
This may be challenging for your family especially if you’re used to mounds of gifts and stockings overflowing with gadgets.
But it’s so worth it! I promise it’s worth it.
Try it and reap the benefits of peace, simplicity and finding the true meaning of Christmas!