As I sit here thinking about the remnants of presents under the tree, I wonder what I did wrong. The kids got what they asked for, at least most of it. Yet, there seemed to be some disappointment on their faces after the unwrapping was done. “Why,” I questioned, but no one could give me an answer.
I think that I have that answer, though, based on an event that occurred two or three weeks before Christmas. On that day, we (all four of us) went to our local Walmart. Sitting at the entrance was a Salvation Army worker and a tree with angel ornaments on it. Each ornament contained a child’s name and age with his/her Christmas wishes. We stopped and looked at the ornaments, and then we let our children pick out an ornament corresponding to a child similar in age. The Salvation Army worker told us that they had plenty of clothing donations and to concentrate on toys. After we explained to DD11 and DS7 that this was likely to be the only things under the tree for the children that they picked, one toy was not enough. DD11 picked a girl who was ten and wanted an art kit. DD11 picked out a Tinker Bell beading kit and an art set with markers, paints, and crayons. The six year old boy whom my son picked wanted Cars characters. DD7 picked out as many cars as he could with the price limit that we gave him. Soon, they were adding Christmas candy and lip gloss. Our kids had so much fun picking out things for others who have less they do. They got enjoyment from giving to others.
After Christmas dinner, we discussed the disappointing faces that we had seen, but they still could not verbalize why they were disappointed. I reminded them of buying gifts for the two children in need and how happy they were to be able to give. As a family, we decided that next Christmas will be different. We have what we need and much more. We don’t really need more “stuff” at Christmas time. That’s not what Christmas is really all about. We have decided that next year, we want to pick an entire family to give Christmas presents and dinner fixings to. We want to feel the joy of giving and not the disappointment of not getting the exact thing that we might have wanted.