I recently an article about a British woman who recalled that she had a spoiled childhood. She comes from a middle class family that had been enjoying the profits of a successful small enterprise.
Each Christmas, she and her sister received lots of gifts from her parents. But one Christmas on her 14th year, her mother just suddenly declared that there will be no Christmas presents for them because business had been tight and her father is sick. They had spent a lot that year on her father’s hospitalization and medication.
But instead of understanding the family’s financial situation, she and her sister demanded presents on Christmas Day. They equated the season with getting the things that they want. That was a learning experience for the girl and her sister.
And I think we need more of that realization in our present world. Even into their teenage years, many of our young people still believe in the existence of Santa Claus. Many parents do not think their children old enough to learn the truth about the mythical jolly fat man in a red suit that gives gifts to people on Christmas Day. Or maybe the children already know it but they are just letting their parents on, after all, they get the gifts. I think that in both cases, the parents and the children are in denial because they are trapped in the seeming “cuteness” and “harmlessness” of the gift-giving season.
While there is nothing wrong with giving presents, let us also teach our children that Christ is the reason for the season, and not the receiving of gifts. Instead of just receiving, let us teach them the value of sharing by giving more. Let us also teach them to have a thankful heart so that they will be able to appreciate what they have instead of clamoring for more. That way, we will produce more money wise adults who are contended, grateful, and also generous. Children don’t need a lot of gifts. But they need our presence and our constant guidance in their lives.