Balancing Gratitude and the Holidays

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This time of year is full of wonder, delight and anticipation for millions of children around the world whose families celebrate Christmas. The brightly colored lights, sugary treats and uplifting music all work together to bring smiles to little faces along with wishes for that special something they have been hoping for all year. However, along with the joy that this season seems to bring, there is also that darker side when many children seem to have higher expectations than some parents either cannot or do not wish to fulfill.

How do parents tread that fine line between wanting to ensure their child’s happiness without encouraging a raging case of the ‘gimmes’? It is not an easy question, and the answer may be even harder to settle upon. Every parent wants to please their child, but there is a often a fine line between indulging a child’s wishes and instilling the great virtue of gratitude and compassion.

There are families who seemingly set no rules or limits to what children may demand. In these homes, while on the surface, children seem to be happy with no unmet needs, but beneath the surface there may be an undercurrent of discontent and even hostility at times. These families may not interact in a pleasant manner as there is a tendency to replace relationships with things. Children who never hear no or who are provided with their every wish may truly never come to appreciate their possessions in the proper manner while learning to equate love with possessions.

One of the hardest lessons some of these children may have to re-learn at some point in life is that possessions are to be used and people are to be loved rather than the opposite viewpoint that so many in the world tend to subscribe to. While the temptation to provide our children with all that they desire is a difficult one to resist, in the grand scheme of life, learning that wants do not rule their world is a valuable lesson to learn.

On the other hand, even the less privileged children can become materialist at this time of year. It is so easy to be swept up into the idea that Christmas is the season of getting, rather than the season of giving. Parents may become jaded with the coming of the holiday season as the pressure to provide the perfect gifts in the perfect amount increases from year to year.

Christmas began as a Christianized pagan celebrated that sought to mark the Winter Solstice and celebrants used the time to exchange simply presents that symbolized their love and friendship for others. Christians later took that idea and incorporated the peace and love that marks the worship of God and Jesus. It is a celebration of love and the idea that love is self-giving and brings peace into the world. It would be the best gift to give our children for them to learn and live the beauty that comes from gratitude and simply enjoying the gift of others.

Writer Bio:  Angela Mose

I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years.  I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia.  A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.


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