In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.















Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Enough is enough

Since the holiday season is around the corner, with Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, and Christmas to follow a month later, I have been thinking about gift giving, greed, materialism and our abundance of “stuff”. I am thinking about all the people in need, in our world, and here we are with so much. I am battling this feeling inside of me, that is saying “enough is enough” and “what can we do to reach out to those in need?”

We are not rich by any means(at least not financially anyways) but we have done very well at accumulating “stuff”. Quite honestly, our income most likely falls in the government standard of being near poverty but in no way do we live in poverty. We eat very well and don’t go without. We live in a nice modest home. Granted it is nothing fancy and most of our furnishings were bought second hand, gifts, or things given to us. Although it would be nice to have “new” some day, it is a choice we have made, to live simple and within our means. If we do want or need something, we save for it, just as we saved for a year and a half to make the trip to Florida for my daughters wedding. I am deeply grateful for all that we have and thankful that we can both work to provide for our families needs. In many ways, I feel that we are rich and can not help but feel as though we can do more to give to those that have much less.

As I was directing my little people in cleaning up all their toys the other day, it dawned on me that with Christmas coming we need to do something about all these toys they already have….these perfectly good toys, that have nothing wrong with them and that they love to play with. But, you can only play with so many toys. They have enough or I should say too many toys already. Just thinking about them getting more toys sickens both of us. Not just because they already have enough but because of the message given to them in being given too many things. We don’t want them growing up with this attitude of “expecting” and always wanting something more.

We want to teach our little people about giving and not expecting “stuff” or always wanting something more or better…of having to have everything they see or want at the moment. We want them to be aware that we are very fortunate and that there are people out there, that are not so fortunate. With all of this in mind, we have decided to incorporate the idea of giving to those in need, into our Christmas celebration. We will be taking a portion of our Christmas gift fund and using it to give to those in need. I am just not sure where or how we should do that this year.

The thing is my little people’s “other” mommy, the one that gave birth to them, is very materialistic and goes overboard with gift giving, even though she can by no means afford it. Her mother and family are the same way. They go completely crazy for their birthday’s and Christmas. Let’s just say that they give so much that the kids don’t even want to open all of them. Because of this, we don’t always give them anything or if we do, it is something small. We have tried talking to them in the past about this, but they have refused to listen. We will once again talk to them and explain how we feel. We are going to ask them to join in our "giving to others" idea and ask them to contribute also.

When my older children were growing up, we played “secret Santa” to one family each year that we could. They each gave up one of the gifts they would normally get and then I would take them shopping with that money and they would each buy a gift for someone in that family. They looked forward to this every year, that we could do it. So this is one idea of something we could do. But, we would like to search out different options. D’Arcy from Abstraction recently wrote a great post about The Children of Shanti Bhavan and gives an opportunity for others to give. I am looking for something that my little people could possibly understand and get excited about. Please know that we are not trying to take the fun out of Christmas or be a scrooge, we just want to share some of the wealth that has been given to us.
Please share your idea's with me!

11 comments:

Claire Marie said...

What a great post! Our family too is entering into the Holiday Season saying to each other that "enough is enough". With our summer having been one of needed monetary bleeding, we are screeching to a halt with a meager Christmas ahead. This actually feels like a wonderful thing not a hardship as it may have felt in the past. My husband and I have agreed to forgo gifts to each other and our other children understand that this year is different. Going the extra step to make this a "giving" Christmas will only add to the spirit we find ourselves in. Your post reminds me that this is where we need to be. In a place of gratitude and giving hearts.

SciFi Dad said...

Something that would both teach them about giving and declutter would be to go through some less-frequently used toys and choose a few to donate to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. You could explain that the toys would be going to a little boy or girl who has no toys, so they would be happy to receive it, and the toy would be happy to be played with.

Just a thought.

Midlife Mama said...

Thank you for coming by and commenting on my blog. I loved this post.

SSG said...

hey great idea

thistle said...

I think it's surprising how much and how early even the little ones understand it's not just about receiving stuff at christmas time...

props to you for trying to instill that early...and aren't in-laws just the worst to deal with sometimes!....

i've left you something at my site...when you've got time, come on over and pick it up...

Cheers!

my name is gramma said...

Great idea, with us moving next year I hope to give a lot away to a local place that a lot of needy go to. Hopefully I can clean out a lot before christmas. Enjoyed your post, take care!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Very refreshing post. There aren't many people like YOU in Orange County. Sadly.

Midlife Slices said...

Every year we pick names off the "angel tree" and buy gifts for those names. Each child got to pick the gifts for their "angel" and we make our angels a priority. Check around and I'll bet you'll find something like that in your area. It's a great lesson for kids and adults alike.

D'Arcy said...

I LOVE that you are thinking about this and teaching this to your children. You should watch www.storyofstuff.com to make you feel even better about what you are fostering in them!

If each parent took this amount of concern to teach their little people then this world would not be in the situation it is in right now! I think you will find the right thing to do with them and their toys. My sister's kids make me sad. They have SO much and only demand more, I am at the point where I don't even want to buy them things anymore, just give them FREE HUGS!!! It's tough to do that to your kids so earlly, I think it teaches them to be dissatisfied with so much later on!

Bless you friend!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I loved this post. I also saw that post of d'arcy and thought what a great idea.

Heather said...

Last Christmas my mother went way overboard with gifts for my daughter. She's the only grandchild on my side of the family and gets spoiled rotten.

A little while after Christmas I had a talk with my mom about taking it easy from now on. No child needs a living room full of gifts to open (seriously, a living room FULL). I have a picture of the back of our car loaded with all her gifts because it was stuffed full.

It is a blessing to not have to go without, but I don't want her growing up thinking that's what the holidays are all about.