This time of the year can bring out both the best and the worst in people. Teaching children the joy of giving can be a wonderful lesson during the holiday season. But, too often Christmas turns into a chance for the 'gimmies' to take over.
I had already been thinking about this topic when I read an excellent post about Stuff on Defying Gravity. My family can tell you that I am the kind of person that doesn't get carried away purchasing material goods, books being the one exception. My one weakness aside, I can usually resist the desire to have the latest gadget, clothing or thing for my house. I'm fairly content when it comes to my stuff. My boys seem to operate along the same lines. Is this an inherited trait? Learned from observation? Or is it the lack of exposure to the usual gimme triggers?
Because we do not have cable, satellite or even the most basic of television reception, my boys have had very little experience with commercialism. The only times they witness television advertising is when we watch television while visiting the homes of relatives. We also spend very little time at the malls. In fact, online purchases made up the majority of my Christmas shopping this year. JT and EM like to check out the toy aisles when we are in Target, just like any other kids, but once they leave the store and those things are out of sight, they really are out of mind for the boys. Plus, without that daily interaction with large groups of kids their own ages, they don't have the kind of comparisons to make about what they have and don't have. I keep our Christmas budget small and they never seem to notice that we aren't spending the kind of money that other families we know are spending on gifts. It appears I have found yet another benefit of homeschooling!
This week I will be taking each of the boys out to do their shopping for our family. They honestly seem to get more happiness out of the giving at Christmas than they do over the getting. I hope as the years pass they continue to appreciate the simple joy found in sharing what we have with others.