My six year old came bouncing through the house, jumping with excitement. We had just put up our Christmas tree and decorations, so he knew Christmas was coming. He ran right up to me and said, “I can’t wait to get my presents! I should get 23 this year, because last year I got 22.” WHAAT?!? I couldn’t believe my ears.
Am I hearing things?
Did my sweet four year old just say that?
Where did he learn this selfish attitude?
We had been so careful to make sure Christmas was about Jesus and His birth, not the presents.
Where had we gone wrong?
That night, my husband I talked. While we didn’t know where we had gone wrong, we did figure out what to do going forward. It wasn’t an easy decision as I am a gift giver. I love to give gifts to anyone and everyone. I love seeing their face as they open and find something they really wanted and the look they give when they receive something they didn’t even know they wanted. It brings me such joy. However, something had to change.
Our solution? A $5 Christmas.
We draw names in our immediate family and each person has $5 (plus tax) to buy whatever they want for that person. It has been a great way to reinforce that we need to think of others before ourselves and really help them think about the person for which they were buying. That was four years ago. The first few years weren’t easy because the kids were young and they often choose gifts that they would like rather than ones the person would enjoy. But the last few have been so special.
Last year, since the little ones were finally old enough to really convey their thoughts to us, we implemented Christmas letters. Each person is to write a letter of love to the person they drew. These were so sweet to listen to as they were read aloud before presents were open. My heart was full and the kids enjoyed hearing why they were loved by the other person.
Has this solved the “gimmie gimmie’s”?
Not completely. But it has significantly helped. In fact, last year the kids were so excited trying to brainstorm and figure out what to buy their “person” that it warmed my heart. Mister Mouse had my name last year and so my husband took him to the store to buy my gift. The minute they got out of the van he said, “I want to buy Mom a scarf! She loves scarves!” So that’s what I got. A beautiful scarf from my thoughtful and loving five-year-old (at the time).
However, we still have more work to do. We have been working on ways to help them more tangibly understand kids around the world have so little and that more toys aren’t the answer to being happy. Talking about people around the world and showing pictures of our sponsored child helped, but it still wasn’t what I wanted.
I was so excited when I saw the newest product from Kim at Not Consumed. Somehow she always knows just what my kids and I need. “A Content Heart” is a wonderful new study from her about helping our children (and possibly ourselves) find contentment in this me-first world. Combating the “gimmie gimmies” isn’t easy when everything in this world says be better, go after what you want and take no prisoners.
He wants us to be content where we are and with what we have. If we’re not content, we are saying “What you gave me, Lord, isn’t enough.” Do you want to answer for that? I sure don’t. And I don’t want my kids to either.
Although this study is geared toward kids, I’m fairly confident it’s going to kick my rear as we go through it together. I have read through it and was already convicted, so I’m sure once we start really digging in and getting in to what God’s Word says about being content.
If you’re ready to get rid of the selfish attitudes and cultivate a heart of contentment, check out “A Content Heart” by Kim at Not Consumed.