And parents are trying hard to get back to the heart of Christmas.
I’ve heard numerous stories this past week of parents cancelling Christmas. The reason, they say, is to help their children understand that Christmas is not about getting. One mother claimed that the threat and now follow through of canceling Christmas came because her children were behaving so poorly and that canceling Christmas has helped them experience the consequences of their behavior and focus on the giving rather than the getting.
I’m struggling with the idea of canceling Christmas and here’s why. While Christmas is a season of giving, it is also a season of getting. Hear me out on this. Now, I agree that it is easy to focus all of our attention on the getting of “stuff.” But how we receive is equally important to how we give.
We can receive something two ways. The first is with a heart of entitlement. We receive something with the attitude that says, “we deserve this and more.” I think this is the heart that many parents are trying to guide their children away from.
The second is to receive with a heart of thankfulness. When receiving with thankfulness, we recognize the giver and their heart for us, we appreciate not only the gift, but the time they took to recognize something that would give us delight and the action of giving it.
My heart for myself and for my family is that we would graciously give and receive this Christmas and that our focus would be on relationships and people and not just on “the stuff.”
So, how do we save the spirit of Christmas without canceling it?
For our family, I think a lot of it has to do with what we focus on. The more we focus on something, the bigger it becomes. As the parent, I set the course for my family. If I choose to focus us on how bad my children’s behavior is; their bad behavior is going to grow. And if I focus on giving my children every present on their list, that becomes the focus of our family.
It works the same for the positive stuff. If we focus on giving as a family, that grows. If we focus on the fun family activities we get to do this season; that grows in importance. If our focus is on recognizing and appreciating the people and the gifts we do receive, that grows as well.
So before you threaten to cancel Christmas in your home, take a moment to pause and consider where your focus is. How you can shift your focus and your family’s to gratitude in both giving and getting?