You shop for months, make lists after list and think of the best gifts to buy each of your children. You spend hours wrapping everything, decorating the house and baking delicious treats for weeks leading up to Christmas day.
It's finally Christmas morning and you're more excited for the kids to wake up than they are.
You simply cannot wait to see their faces when they open all of their presents. You're nearly tempted to wake them up yourself!
Finally, everyone wakes up. The whole family heads downstairs to see the glow of the Christmas tree and see all of the wonderful presents under the tree.
Your kids dive right in, ripping wrapping paper off each present as fast as they can while tossing their newly opened gift to the floor just to grab the next one. No thank you, no admiration for their gifts, just an all-about-me attitude.
Worse yet, maybe they grumble and complain about how their gift wasn't the right one or that they want what their sibling got instead. Instead of that happy, picturesque Christmas morning that you pictured in your head you have selfish attitudes in front of you.
Kids growing up in today's society battle entitlement more than any other generation. There is so much advertisement geared just for children alone. There are so many new gadgets on the market to covet. Kids see their friends with the latest and greatest and they can't help but drool for the next best thing. If we aren't intentionally fighting the entitlement syndrome that plagues children today we will lose the battle.
Happy Birthday, Jesus Party
More and more Christian families are incorporating this tradition into their Christmas. This is a concrete way to teach your children that their presents are not the reason for the season, that Jesus is the true reason. By putting the focus back on Him we are teaching our kids that no matter how many gifts they got or if they didn't get everything they wanted, that in the grand scheme of things it is okay.
Don't Buy a Ton of Gifts.
Shocker, right? If you're feeding into the problem than you're encouraging the behavior to continue.
According to an article released by MSN in December 2011, American parents planned to spend an average of $271 per child in Christmas gifts. One in 10 parents said the plan was to spend over $500 per child. Yikes! No wonder our children have entitlement issues!
A few months after Christmas we all want to toss out all the toys that are cluttering our houses, right? You can avoid both negatives by simply not buying them a ton of toys.
Some families chose to do just 3 gifts for their children because that is how many Jesus received. While others pick a few categories, like wants versus needs, to focus on and buy items from those categories alone. Choose whatever it is that works best for your family.
Find a Way for Your Children to Give to Others Before Christmas.
Teach them how to think of others by giving generously.
In everything I did, I have showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.' Acts 20:35
Bake a bunch of treats and deliver them to their friends, family, or elderly church members. I love letting my kids brainstorm a list of people to give to and then follow through with letting them hand the goodies out themselves.
Another great idea is to let them pick one person to buy a gift for using their own money. Let them pick out the gift themselves, wrap it, and give it to the person. This is a great way to get them thinking about others and not themselves.
While Opening Gifts, Have Only One Child Open a Gift at Time.
We do this every year. It is one of the best things we do, I believe!
This simple act teaches your kids to be happy for the person opening gifts and to think about them instead. At the same it teaches them patience as they wait for their turn. Both very important life lessons to learn.
I honestly love seeing my kids get excited for their siblings when they're opening their gifts!
Nothing zaps the joy out of Christmas than a selfish child. I'm sure we can all agree on that! I believe that if we are intentionally teaching our children to be thankful for everything that they have and how to think of others first than we can avoid this disastrous Christmas morning scene. Not just at Christmas time but all year round. If we are cultivating thankfulness all year round than it will be easier to focus on others during the holidays.
Your turn! How do you fight the selfishness battle with your children during the holidays?
Anastasia is the wife of her high school
sweetheart and mama to three little ones.
In between the craziness of laundry, meals,
and homeschooling she enjoys reading,
writing, sewing, crafting and anything pink!
She has the desire to inspire women to
pursue holiness in their everyday life and
you can find her doing just that over at
anawins.com! You can also find her on
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