Cancelling Christmas :: Extreme or Necessary?

Over the weekend I did something I haven’t been able to do in a long time… I pulled out the ‘ol trusty iPad and caught up on blog reading. I love when I can click on one blog and it leads me to several new ones that I have never discovered before. In my reading journey, I happened upon a blog post titled “Why My Husband and I Cancelled Christmas”. I was intrigued and immediately began to read the post. You’re welcome to check out the post in it’s entirety, or who knows – you may have already read it yourself.  But the general idea is that because the writer and her husband had tried for many many months to get their kids to appreciate receiving gifts all to no avail, they were going to cancel the gift-portion of Christmas. No Santa, no gifts, no stockings. They would still proceed with the decorations and spirituality of the holiday, but there would be no gift giving for the kids whatsoever.

Once I completed the post, I tried to put myself in these parents’ shoes, and I just could not imagine doing what they will be doing this year…cancelling Christmas. Although I see where she was coming from when she wrote the post, and I can relate with the emotions that must come with being in that situation – I still had a million-and-one questions. How can anyone cancel Christmas? What about the memories of opening gifts? What will their kids think of this in years to come? How are they going to explain to their children that Santa is skipping their house this year because they don’t know how to appreciate anything but heading straight to little Billy’s who acts the exact same way?

To me, kids are kids. They are going to go through phases where it doesn’t seem like they appreciate anything. And they are also going to go through phases where they misbehave. But should we be using the threat of Christmas to get them to understand? Will this cause other types of issues in the long run? Is Christmas really making our kids feel entitled or is it the way that we are raising them? Is cancelling Christmas a necessary venture or is it radical and extreme?

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The post states, “I really think we as parents need to take a step back and look at our motivation for giving gifts to our kids.” While I agree with the statement completely, my answer is going to be much different than how she answered…

Seeing my child’s face light up opening a gift that Santa brought to them is absolutely priceless. My motivation to give lies in the fact that this is the one time throughout the year where my son can be full of excitement and wonder and open gifts that my husband and I {and Santa!} have worked so hard on and have meticulously picked out just for him. We don’t give many gifts to him throughout the year {maybe just a new ball every now and again} because we want him to appreciate what he receives during the holidays.

And while I delight in watching his little hands rip into gifts and take it all in, I am all about giving to others too. My parents raised me to have a grateful heart and always reminded me that there are others who are not as fortunate. They didn’t shelter my siblings or myself when it came to the necessities of others, and we were very lucky to be able to volunteer and do charity work throughout the entire year – not just the holiday season. We were raised saying “thank you” and “please”, and they truly, as parents, led by example. They taught my sister and I what being grateful was all about, and this is something that I hope I am doing as I raise my own children. After all, kids won’t wake up one day and just be grateful for everything, but by living every day as an example of the behavior you want, it will begin to come easy for them.

Although I do not know the day-to-day routines of the family, nor do I know the direct extent of their plans to cancel Christmas –  I do know that I respect all mothers and their decisions even if I do not agree 100%. I wish this family well on their journey and look forward to seeing an update post on her blog soon.  And until then, my family and I will cherish every moment that this holiday season brings.  Gifts included.

What about you? Would you be willing to cancel Christmas?

1 COMMENT

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you brought up developing a charitable personality in a child, the entire year, not just Christmas. I think punishing the kids for not having a giving spirit is a little misguided, when its up to the parents to cultivate that in their children to begin with. Taking away presents doesn’t automatically teach a child to appreciate what they have and be more giving. It may make them resentful, like forcing a kid to clean his plate may make him a “vegetable hater” later.

    Scaling back on the “fancy” items or not giving the kids *everything* they want, and then introducing the kids to gifts that are less self-focused (I hate using the word selfish haha) might be the best approach. Making it fun and family-involved would positively reinforce the activity and the meaning behind it.

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