The Season of Joy is coming up….Christimas. “Joy to the world!” I’m supposed to feel Joy, right? Christmas is coming. A celebration is coming. Preparation is happening. JOY is expected.
Today December 6th, and I have YET to buy a single thing for anyone for Christmas. It’s not that I don’t like shopping, I actually really enjoy it. I love holding that most perfect gift in my hand, knowing that it’ll bring a smile to the person receiving it. It’s the thrill of the kill! The holding of item after item in my hands until I find the perfect thing.
But yet, I haven’t bought a single item yet this year.
I’ve tried to go shopping. I wander into an overcrowded store, jammed wall-to-wall with people elbowing, children screaming, the sounds of Christmas music blaring over the speakers….and not the kind you actually want to listen to. I hate to say it, but the kind that has the constant noise of a sleigh bells throughout the song. That really grates on my nerves!
Suddenly, any joy I was experiencing, has given into the “nails-on-the-chalk-board GET ME OUT OF HERE” kind-of feeling.
About 5 days ago, my husband and I pulled the kids into a family meeting. It was an impulsive decision, but we felt like it was the best one, in light of recent behavior problems and “entitlement”….um…issues that have reared their ugly heads among our “littles.” After reading a blog post about a family “Canceling Christmas,” we made the decision our family would do the same. The money we have saved up over the past 11 months for Christmas gifts would be spent on others.
Meeting will now come to order!
My husband, Shawn explained to our “littles”: “How would you guys feel about taking the money that we normally spend on you guys for gifts and use it to bless others around us?”
I was bracing for the “Why!??’s” and the “No, daddy and mommy!!! Don’t take away our ‘made in China’ toys!!!”
INSTEAD it was: “Buy present for other people instead of getting presents? Sounds like fun! Will we get to go shopping with you?”
Say what?? Our 11 and 9 year olds were completely on board! (The 5 year olds were a tad confused on the whole thing and were worried we would take the toys they already owned and give them away….) Very proud parent moment!!
They were instructed to make a list of people they would like to bless and buy presents for. No one would be turned down from the list. I guess, there is no “naughty list.” They could simply write down who was on their heart and if they had a gift idea.
They quickly went to work and each had a list of about 20 different people. The excitement about the Christmas shopping list, and the people on the list, is growing.
This Christmas will be a little different. Yes, my kids will still get gifts under the tree, but it’ll be from other family members or friends that want to bless them. My prayer is that they will remember the JOY of Christmas and the experience of GIVING not receiving.
Following the path,