Monday, November 24, 2008

Happiness...Don't Buy into it.

So I'm sitting here, minding my own business, listening to internet radio while weaving tails into my (finally) finished scarves, (more about those later...maybe.) when I hear a commercial for Wal-Mart.
A woman's well modulated voice filters over the air waves... "Making them happy..." a young girl's voice pipes up saying, "oh, I love it!", and the woman finishes with "...that's what I want for Christmas."

I am disturbed by the innuendo that you can buy a child's happiness with a Christmas present.

Hold on a minute while I drag my soapbox over here. You might want to get comfortable...

Now before I go off on a tear here, may I interject that I am NOT anti-gift giving. By no means. I love Christmas. I love the anticipation of what special gifts Christmas may bring.

It just makes me so crazy that there are people out there who still think that giving kids (and not just kids) lots of presents for Christmas will make for a meaningful Christmas! They think that they need lots of stuff to open on Christmas and/or spend a boatload of money on one "big" gift.

And the incredible thing is, they set themselves up for it every year by beginning the season with the age old question..." What do you want for Christmas?" Which, in my mind, teaches our children to think: "how much can we milk our parents and grandparents for this year?"

It has occurred to me as I look at our present economic situation that in our attempt to create our own happiness, we have created our misery. Because that "gimme" attitude is not limited to Christmas. And it's not limited to children.

We are selfish, self-centered creatures. Funny how that's not a behavior that has to be taught.

I wonder what would happen if we spent one Christmas not thinking about what we would get, but what we would give?

There are several ways to practice the discipline of thinking of others by giving to others. There's Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree, and Toys for Tots to name a very few.

How about starting in your own home? Get children involved in picking out other family member's gifts. Have them make something of their own creation for grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins. (Not to mention mom and dad.)

Why not nurture your own creativity and resourcefulness? What could you make or do for someone that would be more meaningful than a mass produced gift that you're hoping they like?

Who knows?

You might actually find some happiness along the way...


honeybea said...

You are so much better at blogging than I. But, that's o.k. I'm better than you in some stuff to! Love you! :) Anyway, check out the pics of me on my blogpost
You really hit the nail on the head with the gift giving blog. I had to sign Kea up for Toys for Tots this year because we didn't have money to buy anything. I'm thinking about taking some of those gifts she may get and finding a family even worse off than us and having her give them to their children. The Lord Jesus knew what He was saying in Acts 20:35 when He said, "It is more blessed to give than receive." isn't it the truth?

LaundryBasketCase said...

So true! I really don't like the idea of telling family members what you want for Christmas either. I always just think 'make me some fudge and I'd be happy as pie'. Great post!
PS: I've been meaning to tell you that I love your new blog background!!!

InTheFastLane said...

We were just talking about this yesterday. Our kids' group at church has a christmas party and we usually do a gift exchange. We set it up as a small gift that the kids give each other. The plan was that they are learning giving and receiving graciously. However, I think they focus way more on what they are going to get. So this year I made the suggestion that instead we have the kids bring money to donate to a Kenyan orphan that we have "adopted" (we can't send gifts). The funny thing is that there were some parents that were upset by this and thought even if we gave money that we should still have an exchange. And my thought was that the kids need to be taught that there is joy in giving without the expectation of getting something in return. Now, of course I was not going to send the kids home empty handed and we were talking about ornaments and other goodies we might send home with the kids. But, I was still a bit shocked at the reaction.

Dapoppins said...

I had a plan to combat the dollar signs in my kids eyes this year: they would use some of their own money to buy gifts for each other and their parents; The Parental Units are only giving each kid one present each. It didn't work. Kids starting seachring for ideas of one huge thing, so we put a money limit on it...$25 but they still have dollar signs in their eyes. For several years we have picked out toys to give away to others with them, and they seem to forget all about that when it comes to their turn...oh. and On Christmas Morning we have a tradition of reading a chapter from Luke before opening can imagine the "Hurry up!" "Be quiet so he can read," "Go faster!" "Shhhhhh!" that goes on during that spiritual reading.

But i am trying.