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!