Does anyone remember our grandparents or parents asking for a $600 PlayStation game console or a $1,500 robot dog (yes, they are out there – Google it)? I most certainly do not! So, why are parents now a days going deeper into debt to satisfy their children’s materialistic lifestyles? Well, if I had to place the blame, it would be on society’s heavily loaded commercialization. In this era, we have TV, radio, internet, phone ads, etc. constantly feeding us what is on the hot list this year to maintain keeping up with the Jones’ status. Well, there is now a solution to turning off the Merry Greedmas that our children have been fed into and turning on the true meaning of having a Merry Christmas.
Dr. Caroline Presno, contributing writer for Parenting Your Preschooler,has listed six ways in her article “Help Your Child Avoid Christmas Greed Syndrome” (2013) that parents can help their children avoid greed and experience appreciation for the holiday season:
Eliminate Christmas Binging. Do not stock up everything that your family member wants or needs for that one specific day. Share the wealth by spreading gift giving throughout the year and maybe your bank account will not be spread so thinly.
Don’t Encourage Christmas Lists. UK charity, Mothers’ Union, conducted a study and discovered that 72% of parents bought gifts from their children’s Christmas list, that they could not afford. Eighty-four percent of parents bought gifts at the last-minute, because they believed the gift pile did not look “big enough”. Instead of splurging on money that you may not necessarily have, ask your children what they would like and let them know up front, that you are not making any promises. Talk about their list as a guide, not as a contract.
Don’t Tear Through Presents. Savor the Christmas moment by having one family member at a time open their gifts. Slowing down the process may bring more excitement towards opening the next gift.
Involve Your Child In Charity. Empathy is one of the most important gifts that a parent can show their children. Showing your children how they can be in the shoes of another for one day, helps them develop a non-judgmental understanding. Have your children select old toys to be given away to charity, in order to receive new gifts.
Play Store. Teach your children the value of money. Provide them with play money and take turns being the owner of a store and the customer. Through role-playing, children are taught that they may not always be able to afford what they want if they do not have enough to spend.
Explain Why Commercials Exist. Let your children know the purpose of commercials – spend money on what you want (not what you need). Inform them that they should think for themselves!
Tell us how you have found ways to turn Greedmas into Christmas!
When we think of Christmas, immediately things like Santa Clause and decorating a Christmas tree come to our mind. However, the true meaning of Christmas is about love and giving. There are many ways we can give to our loved ones, friends, and community. We give to show our love and affection for everyone in our lives through our words, actions and giving of gifts. We can also show love by giving back to our community by volunteering our time to feed the homeless, toys for tots, etc… There is a special meaning that each person and/or family has about the Christmas season. To me Christmas is about remembering how the Father loved me so much that He gave up His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to die for my sins (John 3:16). Jesus Christ showed His love for me by giving up his life for me on the cross so that I can have eternal life.
Traditions are longstanding beliefs and/or activities that are passed down from generation to generation. Now is the time of year that so many families are gathering to partake in some of their own holiday traditions. I remember as a kid gathering with my family at my grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve to spend time together before midnight mass. We would sing carols, have delicious food, and open one gift before we went to church as a family. My grandmother and grandfather instilled that tradition, to attend church together, because they knew how important it was for our family. They insisted everyone go – even the little ones who could barely stay awake! My earliest Christmas memories were of trying to stay awake so late at church! Those were magical moment for me and are still some of my favorite memories. My family still attends church at the same place for midnight mass.
Christmas is one of the most celebrated times of the year. It is a time where people travel from miles and miles to see their families and loved ones. Many will spend time with family and friends that they have not seen in quite some time. Let’s not forget, this is also a time where businesses benefit from consumers and shoppers. The American Research Group reports that shoppers will spend an average of $801for gifts this season. Is this the meaning of Christmas? It seems that we as a people, especially Christians, are sending mixed signals about Christmas. So what is Christmas? Christmas is a time for us all to celebrate the birthday of Christ Jesus. Although December 25th is not the actual birth date for Christ Jesus, it is still a time and season that has been established to recognize and celebrate the coming of the Messiah. The bible states in John 3:16; For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God gave us his best! He gave us the gift of life! All the money and gifts that are being exchanged during this season will never surpass the gift that God gave to us. Save yourself some money this Christmas and share with your family and friends a prepaid gift. You can help change their future. Give them the gift of life! Merry Christmas and may you allow God to bless you during this season.
Many people have different beliefs as to what is the “True Meaning of Christmas.” Some consider this holiday to be man-made and therefore do not participate in the merriment of the season. And then you have those who believe in absolutely nothing. Growing up in a Christian home, the meaning of Christmas for me has always been clear; God showing His abundant love for us. God loved us some much that he sent his only son to save us and we celebrate God’s love and Jesus’ birth during this time. Yes, historians have proven that Jesus was not born on December 25th. I say we celebrate that He was born, should the date really matter? Should this take away from the true meaning of Christmas? I realize because of all the commercialization of the season, the true meaning can get lost in the madness. I admit that I overindulged in the commercialization. My kids receive far too much. However; as parents we teach them that it is better to give than receive. Every year we give gifts to those less fortunate. We also teach them that God gave the world the best gift of all, our Savior!!! Christmas is not about Santa, presents, lights or parties; it is about acknowledging God’s amazing gift to us and helping spread joy to the world!
As a family we have many traditions that we do during the holiday season. My children make out their list for Santa (sometimes I do too!), we bake cookies for our neighbors and friends, we put up our tree and decorations as a family, we give gifts to needy children and naturally shopping, there has to be shopping. Although we do over indulge our kids during the holidays; as parents we try to explain/portray that it is better to give than to receive and that everyone’s life has purpose. As a child I can remember watching the movie It’s A Wonderful Life every Christmas. It is my all time favorite movie. My husband got me the collection one year. I have it in black and white and in color, vhs and dvd. It is the meaning of the movie that I find so fascinating; and that is that All Life Has Value!!! This movie shows you many things I find valuable in life. First, it shows small acts of kindness go a very long way. You could change someone’s entire day by merely opening a door for them. Secondly, you don’t have to be a person of great means to help someone else. Listening to someone might be all they need. Third, our choices impact people surrounding us daily without our knowing. Fourth, it is better to give than to receive. Lastly, God has a way of revealing things to us and can help with any situation; it’s never to late, don’t give up!!! Things happen in life that may get you down but remember these hiccups are temporary, trouble don’t last always!!! Everyday I wake, I am thankful. I have made this far by Grace, it truly is A Wonderful Life!!!