Now that the holiday season is here, how do we keep our kids from getting the greedies and keep the focus on Christ?Now that the holiday season is here, how do we keep our kids from getting the greedies and keep the focus on Christ?

Ah, the age old question in a world of abundance. Never before have our children been marketed to so deliberately and relentlessly. Besides the print media, there is now non-stop children’s TV programming funded by commercials directed specifically at children and even their computer usage is peppered with suggestions of what they don’t yet have and can’t live happily without. So, what can we do to show them how to be content and grateful for what we give them and how to remember Who this holiday is about? Here are a few suggestions that have worked for our family:

  1. As you plan your Christmas shopping, set a budget for each child. When they know that funds are not unlimited, they will carefully consider and choose wisely a few items that they really would enjoy.
  2. In order to make room for the new gifts, have them choose the same amount of items that are in good condition to give to a charity.
  3. Make sure that you model an attitude of cheerful giving rather than lament the work and money involved to bless others.
  4. In order to let them experience the joy and responsibility of gift giving, have them do chores to earn enough money for a small but thoughtful gift for each member of their family. This may give them the opportunity to see what Jesus meant when He said it was more blessed to give than receive.
  5. Use the advent season as an occasion to celebrate the gifts that God has given to us. Spend time each evening talking about the way God has blessed you and culminate the season with several nights of emphasis on God’s greatest gift, Jesus.
  6. Use this time of year to teach and model to your children the joy of giving to others through opportunities to serve in your church (nursery, ushering, decorating), reaching out to your neighbors with handmade gifts and cards, reaching out to your community by gathering items for a food and clothing bank, visiting a nursing home or participating in the Angel Tree project.
  7. Keep the spirit of Christmas going by using these service opportunities as a spring board for what your family might do the rest of the year to help others.
  8. Our attitude will be the most important influence on their expectations and contentment with Christmas. When it comes to having a Christ-filled Christmas, lead with your grateful, generous, humble and others oriented attitude.