What am I teaching my children?!
Tonight we walk into the girls' room and find 15 stuffed animals on the floor with more being thrown. We asked what they were doing and they said those were the ones they wanted to sell.
What?! First of all I had just cleaned out their stuffed animal net a couple months ago and removed 60!! Now they were throwing more? Um... Ok. I guess. But then I was looking at the ones on the ground. I said, what? Your new rainbow build a bear? And your flashlight friends that you love? And then I picked up Kairi's purple teddy bear and asked, this one? You just asked Santa for this one this past year.
She lightly shrugged and said, "So, I'll get more next Christmas." I said, "Well, that's what you think." And she replied back, "Well, I haven't been naughty so I will."
OMG! I about lost it and blurted out something I may or may not have regretted later.
I've been letting it go through my mind over and over and I'm going to pray about this conversation and ask:
"What does God want Christmas to look like at my house, in my family?"
I had already talked with my husband last week about how I wanted Christmas to be so much simpler this year and how sad it was that all the toys they got last year were forgotten so quickly, many even that same day.
We are attempting to attack our debt (school loans) and I think a simple Christmas would be a great way to help do that. Plus, they have their grandparents that spoil them rotten.
But I have always loved the tradition of stockings and then there is that issue of the "magic of Santa Claus" and letting a child be a child as long as they can and "Believe."
I haven't really told the girls much about Santa, but have let them pick up here and there from movies, friends and books on who Santa is. (Which as I even say this I see how unwise that is! I need to define for my children who this "Santa" is not just by chance let them pick up what others believe.) This last Christmas was the first year for them to really get into the "believing" part.
I grew up believing in Santa. I remember being in 1st grade and all I wanted was a typewriter. (Yes, I realize how weird that is, and some of you may not know what a typewriter is.) My mom told me, "KC that is really expensive" and I with all of my 7 year old wisdom said "Huh uh!!! The elves make it."
Well that year I got my typewriter and the kind of funny part is that is the same typewriter I used to fill out college applications on!
But anyways, Santa did it big in my house growing up. My Santa rocked! And my sisters and I had so much fun staying up as long as we could anticipating hearing him and seeing what he had brought! We would run down stairs as early as we thought would be acceptable and begin the fun! What fun, wonderful memories of Christmases!
I remember believing. I remember telling my parents they had to leave the front door unlocked so Santa could get in since we didn't have a fireplace! (I'm guessing they didn't follow that advice, wow, leave your house unlocked on Christmas Eve?!) I remember the joy of the cookies being eaten and the milk drank! I remember writing him letters and asking about the reindeer and Mrs. Claus.
And here I am. Now the mother, having to make the tough decisions. I want my kids to have childhood memories like the ones that were created for my sisters and me, but how do I let my children believe in the make belief while also helping them have a heart of generosity - and not make comments like the one she made tonight. I do want them to have the wonder and magic of belief, but I more want them to believe giving is better than receiving. Figuring out how to let them know they are loved, but in ways that don't tell them it's all about you.
How does your family balance all of that? Does your family believe in Santa? Or do you have a birthday party for Jesus?
I feel like God is convicting me on my practices of Christmas, but I'm not sure in what all ways yet.
I know I want Christmas to be "simple" in the area of spending money - especially on my own kids. And big on giving to kids without anything and helping other parents who aren't able to provide a Christmas at all for their kids. And to fill some shoe boxes, and help our Compassion daughter's family with Christmas. We want to learn to show Jesus in a big way. And I think I have to get my kids involved in all of these areas.
I'm just not sure how to balance Santa in the mix of all of it. Maybe I need to look more into the story of St. Nicholas.
I'm going to start praying about this now. We have 4 months until Christmas and I want to pray for my kids' hearts. That they can be generous givers not greedy receivers. That I can stick to any convictions God places on my heart even when it is weird or not the way others want me to celebrate Christmas.
My Kairi is a loving, kind girl. But I have done her a disservice for her to think because she is a "good" girl and not naughty she gets presents from Santa.
Jesus does not care if we are good or naughty. He isn't checking his list to make sure we are nice. He is there wanting us to choose Him, to believe in Him and He is ready to give us the greatest gift of all. Our salvation by believing and receiving that He died on the cross for us! It's not by "not being naughty" that we get the ultimate gift of eternal life. No, no my friend. We must believe and accept the free gift Jesus gives us. And then we get to pay that gift forward and show his love and grace to others. And this is exactly what I want for my children.
Santa, you are a jolly ol' man, but I'm not sure of what your future looks like in my household.