We have a rule that has been passed down from my husband. No thinking about Christmas until Thanksgiving is done. No putting up the tree early, no talking about Christmas lists, no Christmas music. He's not the Grinch, quite the opposite, but he does love to celebrate each season. But even under "strict" rules of wait until December 1st, I caught my 10-year-old making his Christmas list at the table a WEEK before Thanksgiving!
I thought, "Have you lost your mind kid? Put that list away…
Wait, you want WHAT?"
A few things we have done to keep the ‘gimme’ attitude at bay and the gratitude in the forefront is do lists a little differently.
We write down these:
1. Want. 2. Need. 3. Experience 4. Give
I wish those were a bit more rhyming, but we do what we can. (I am just trying to keep kids alive over here, so catchy rhyming phrases are not in the cards.)
The last one give - this one is the magic one. This is the one that changes our perspective. This is the secret sauce to getting rid of the "I deserve this," attitude. I ask my kids who they would like to GIVE to this year. It's different than giving a gift to a family member or friend. This is something we carefully research. We ask the kids what stirs their heart or what they are passionate about giving too.
Maybe they don't know yet, and this is a perfect time to find out.
We have started a December GIVING calendar, to intentionally set their hearts and minds on giving. Do we do what is listed on the calendar every day? HECK NO, but we get as many as we can in. We try (key word: try) to make sure our entire family is living December especially on behalf of others instead of ourselves. The Christmas presents are awesome, but mean so much more when we have gratitude for what we get. A little perspective change when we see others needs goes a long way. Try it with us this year. Add your own and get the kids involved - they have the best ideas!