By Fredrica Syren:
I struggle with how to make my children happy with a lower key, fewer-presents sort of Christmas. I think a large part of our children’s problem is that their expectations are too high. And when that’s the case, giving more and more every year won’t fix the problem. Of course no child is born with an expectation of loads of gifts. My husband and I always tried not to give lots of expensive gifts; however, over the years I have noticed they have started to ask for more and to look at Christmas as a time when they receive gifts. I really don’t like it. This year we’re committed to have a low key Christmas, and focus on one larger gift and a couple of small ones. But at the back of my mind, I’m worried they will feel disappointed and, of course, I don’t believe in calling them out for having sad feelings about it.
I have talked to my oldest about how there won’t be too many gifts this year and how we can give money to someone who needs it. We also talked about how, instead of gifts, we can do something together for weekends to come, and everyone can pick some special activity. My oldest said she wants to eat at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant because she has watched his cooking shows. My middle one wants to go to a movie.
I think instead of making kids feel guilty about wanting lots for Christmas, I choose to set their expectations to fewer presents and commit to making Christmas all about being grateful and having a fun family time. Fingers crossed that it will work!