The Gimme Guy. That's what I call Santa Claus. At Christmas when the focus should be on giving and forgiving, the emphasis has shifted to what we want from The Gimme Guy. When asked what they want for Christmas, kids will usually reply that they want Santa to gimme a new game, or the new doll, or a fun craft. Here then, are ways to reinvent The Gimme Guy into a Giveya Guy so the holidays can return to their original meaning — to emulate the life of Christ who was born on this day.
- Encourage children to make a list. Not one that has dolls, trains, and games, but one that lists everyone they love and who loves them. When they see that list every day, they will remember, even on the inevitable bad day, they always have someone they can rely on for help.
- On that list, kids can add what they will give to those people for Christmas. It could be as simple as a homemade card, or as complex as a handcrafted item. Most kids don't have their own discretionary income that allows them to purchase gifts. So schedule some time before Christmas for a family workshop. Get out the scissors, yarn, construction paper, glue, and if you're particularly adventuresome, the glitter!
- If, however, you think your kids would enjoy buying, rather than making, gifts for people on their list, help them to see that hard work brings results. Give them a chore list that outlines the pay for each job. Cleaning the cat litter pan? 50ȼ Setting the table? 25ȼ That way, your children will realize the value of working toward a goal that benefits someone other than themselves. This attitude can also carry throughout the year. Let your children see that you have three options for your own income: spend it now, save it for later, and designate some portion for charity.
- When you take your kids to see Santa for the yearly picture, the big jolly Gimme Guy will invariably ask, "What do you want for Christmas?" Santa will be speechless when you have helped your kids to understand that the best response will benefit others. Something like this: "I would like to give all my friends a homemade Christmas present." Have your camera ready for Santa's reaction to that response! When did that tradition of asking what kid wants for Christmas begin, anyway? Really, parents, if you have to rely on a fat guy in a red suit to tell you what your kids would appreciate seeing under the tree, then you haven't been doing your parental job.
- Finally, in the spirit of the season, schedule one activity that will benefit those who don't have the time or money to buy or make their own Christmas presents. Make cookies for the troops (but plan early because most shipments go overseas the first week in December). Make soup for the homeless shelter. Find local charitable organizations and ask what you and your family can do to help. The rewards you reap will be much greater than any money can satisfy.
What are you going to do this year, and every year, to reinvent The Gimme Guy into a Giveya Guy so your children will understand the true meaning of Christmas, the true spirit of giving, and the wonderful feeling that comes from helping others?
More Parenting Advice from YourTango: