Thursday, January 2, 2014

After the Holidays - What did I learn from not giving loads of gifts to my son?

This Christmas I knew I was doing something right.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. 
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” 
 Kahlil Gibran
When my son was two years old I had to ask help to get all the gifts wrapped. I kept bringing more things and saying, this is for Mikael also.

Finally I counted there was at least 18 packages for a two year old.

He didn't even open them all on Christmas because he got too bored.

And then he broke them, lost them, didn't want to play with them...

Finally I said to myself, this doesn't make sense. It's wasteful and only teaches him to not care and not appreciate what he has.

I noticed how he started to get temper tantrums demanding to have everything he wanted, right now!

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” 
 Mother Teresa
And when he got what he wanted he didn't even care enough to play with it and to take care of it.

I would find the toys later on, broken, forgotten, left wherever he was when he was playing, usually outside.

It has been many Christmases after that.

Many years of fighting and disappointments of not getting what he wanted, immediately!

This year I bought him a chihuahua puppy in November and told him, this is your Christmas gift. There won't be any other.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures and
presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

He had asked for the puppy, begged to have it. So he settled on not having any more gifts.

Whenever there was a toy commercial on TV and he asked me to watch it because it was what he wanted for Christmas, I told him he already had his gift and there would not be anything else.

He would think it over and say, I will ask my father. He still has to give me a gift.

At the beginning of December Mikael exchanged his tablet with his grandparents for a new mini IPad, and told him that it was his Christmas gift and there wouldn't be anything else.

He was a little sad but very happy to have the IPad he had been asking for more than a year.

Joy cannot be pursued. It comes from within.
It is a state of being. It does not depend on circumstances,
but triumphs over circumstances. It produces a gentleness
of spirit and a magnetic personality.
Billy Graham

After we had our Christmas dinner it was time to give the gifts. 

I asked Mikael to help with his grandfather gift and he places a traditional Amazonia feather crown on my father's head, hugged him and told him Merry Christmas.

Then he was ready to go to his room. I called him back and told him it was his turn.

I was a little worried because I remembered the mountains of wrapped gifts from earlier Christmasses. And now there was only four gifts. Two from me and two from his grandparents.

He looked at the gifts, his eyes were shining so bright. Then he looked at me, and his voice trembled.

"Mom! Are all those gifts just for me?"

That was when I knew I had done something right.

If you, then, though you are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:11
He went on to unwrap his Monopoly and Angry Birds board game. When he found his two Narnia books, he told me he was still missing two more.

I told him that he needed to get gifts on his birthday also, so he nodded in agreement.

But the last gift was the best. He found the cangaroobag his grandparents had bought for him.

It was amazing to see his happiness.

Then I gave him an extra gift that wasn't wrapped, a flashlight that didn't need any batteries.

He rapidly put the cangaroobag on and the flashlight in it.

He just couldn't wait to be able to show them to all of his friends.

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