A Bad Case of the Gimmies

By Kim Clark

Opening scene: It’s Christmas morning and presents are being opened by children who just can’t wait to find out is under the shiny wrapping paper sting beneath the funny bow. (If not all) of today’s children simply attack the presents, tearing off the wrapping paper and throwing it all the floor in a matter of seconds. This they are very good at- and then it’s on to the next one, same scenario… When all of exhausted, looking around with a question of disappointment in their eyes asking, “Is that all?”

Sound familiar? This article was written to share some ideas with you about how we, as Christian parents, can keep our wonderful children focused on the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of this cultural feeding frenzy. One thing we can certainly agree on is that we are called to teach our children to be thankful and to value our relationship with God more than money.

In our children’s defense, they do come by this “gimmies” mindset honestly. Our culture bombards us with advertisements ad infinitum. Why? It’s all about money; our children constantly have to deal with this on television, the Internet, stores, mail, and newspapers, et al. And they see their friends getting nice things and naturally, they want those things too. It’s not rocket science (this process), but God created us to serve and honor Him in all that we do.

Below are some practical tips to help guide our children’s hearts to think on what the true meaning of Christmas is throughout the year:

1. Sit down with them over a cup of hot cocoa and talk about what the birth of Christ really means. Remind your children of God’s love for us and get their feedback on what that means. Explain that Santa Claus was a mythological person who was said to give gifts to children, but the real story of Christmas is Jesus Christ, who gives us the greatest gift of all, eternal life.

2. Teach them to be thankful all year long. The best way to do this is to to model it by showing thankfulness for the daily blessings in our lives.

3. Give them the opportunity to meet other children who have very little materially. Take them on a short missions trip, sponsor a child in a third-world country or a poor family in your community. This helps them to have compassion for others.

4. Teach children to write thank you notes to everyone who gave them presents.

5. Set a limit on the number of gifts you buy them at Christmas. If they want something really expensive, help them to earn and save the money to buy it. This not only teaches the value of money, but they also feel a sense of accomplishment when the job is completed.

6. Don’t give them everything they want. Teach them the difference between a want and a need and that they don’t need to have material things to be happy.

7. Lastly, love them like there’s no tomorrow and always be thankful to our Heavenly Father for giving us the gift of our beautiful children. May God bless His Christmas, one and all.