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Enjoying the after-Christmas

by Traci Schumacher on Thu, 12/26/2013 - 2:45pm

T'was the day after Christmas and all through the house... the children were happily playing with their Christmas gifts. Making rubber band bracelets and bead creations, roller skating, playing tether ball, riding a stick horse... It makes a parent's heart glad to see their kids enjoying their gifts.

My 4-year-old had repeatedly asked for a stick horse for Christmas, and when he unwrapped it he exclaimed, “It's just what I wanted!” We nailed that one! Today he happily rode his horse down the street to Grandma's house.

There is a certain satisfaction and joy that comes from having chosen gifts well. This year we seem to have been especially successful at our house. I credit this happy outcome to a couple simple things.

The first is listening and perceiving what the kids really wanted. It sounds obvious, but it can be tricky to distinguish between a passing interest and a real desire. This year I didn't encourage my kids to browse the toy catalogs to make their lists. We did stroll through a few toy aisles, but I was hoping their true interests would guide them instead of slick ads.

Second, I really limited the number of gifts this year: two main gifts per child, plus a few smaller items (books, Matchbox cars, calendars). My kids also received a couple gifts from their grandparents and relatives. I believe that when we limit the number of gifts, my children are able to focus on what they did receive, and they enjoy it more.

I have been frustrated before when my kids have gotten a lot of wonderful presents, and then didn't even play with half of them although they were excited to receive them. And I used to feel bad for not getting them certain things they really wanted. But now I realize kids (like adults) will always want more. I can stop trying to get it all. Besides, sometimes less really is more.

Here's hoping you and your family have a wonderful after-Christmas, enjoying your time together and appreciating your new gifts. Wishing us all the gifts of joy and contentment...

 

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