Heard of Dave Ramsey? I’m sure you have. He has been blessed with so much wisdom for finances. I love to read his little images on facebook. They’re encouraging and helpful.
The half year mark just passed. Only 5 months ’til Christmas. This marks the point where I would usually start shopping around for the best deals on gifts for the tots. But for the past couple of years, I have been contemplating the amount of stuff we buy, give away, and eventually throw away in our life.
It’s a lot.
Christmas, Easter, Birthdays–everything times infinity, it feels like. What happens to those “I just have to have this!” things after they get them? They sit in the Easter basket, under the tree, end up broken because they left it lay around. We are overflowing with STUFF!
I don’t want to keep using dollars to purchase these items to just not get used or broken. What about the children’s hearts here. I once heard at work a couple say they do not buy Christmas gifts for their children. I was sad for the kids at the time. Who doesn’t buy Christmas gifts for their children? But all of these thoughts are coming together for me now and I think I get it. I mean, it’s never been about the gifts, it’s been about the love you have for the child you are buying that gift for. They desperately want it, you desperately love them and want to see them happy!
But what if all these gifts given are adding to the strain of “we need more stuff!” What happens when we have everything and still can’t seem to find happiness? What a disappointing place to end up!
I don’t want to take away the joy of Christmas from my tots, just shift our focus. I see a vicious pattern developing and I don’t want them to grow up thinking the more for me the merrier. I want them to have memories that they can keep forever, not just broken or dusty things laying all over.
Every year (at least we try to every year) do the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes from Samaritan’s Purse. The kids choose a child in their age range and are given a budget and a list of ideas/stuff they can choose from. They pick out the items they want to put in, they hand over their budgeted amount to the cashier and we go home to pack them. We enclosed a letter and picture this past year. Everyone thought this would be delightful for whomever received it!
So, we give to others, but last year there were still tons of gifts purchased, broken, and barely used (despite knowing in advance that it would mostly be stuff to take on our Disney vacation.) I think we have decided that in lieu of many gifts, that we would rather spend less money and go somewhere together we wouldn’t normally and make many memories there. Still some stocking stuffer gifts. But that’s all! We are overflowing here–and not in a good way. Hopefully the lesson we’ll all learn here is to have overflowing memories and time together be where our joy is, not overflowing presents. There is room for the frivolous gifts, there are necessary, helpful gifts. I just think we should learn to be happier with less. To focus on things that aren’t about here on earth.
I have been thinking this for a few years now, fewer gifts. It’s not about the presents. It’s not really about the money, either, though our budget is bleeding right now. But have just been reluctant to go ahead and jump. (Okay. Afraid!) I guess, if you never jump then you’re always just stuck doing the same thing. Hopefully, this will take some of the tension off the budget (and me), and the focus off of what we can get for ourselves. So this year, we’re all jumping. Together! Now seems like the perfect time. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. 😀
I’m curious. What do you think about this? Where do you stand on the gifts matter? Do you have a goal for your Christmas time giving?