Raising Grateful Kids {and parents} at Christmas

BY MEREDITH DONKIN

Kirsten Welch of We are THAT Family has written a new book called “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World”.  I am fortunate enough to be part of her launch team and have been given an early copy.

raisinggratefulkids

To read this book at this time of year is challenging in the extreme.  Not the least because it has me observing my own attitude of entitlement. Awkward!  Everywhere I turn I am inundated with “must have” items for this Christmas.  So whilst I’m re-examining my own expectations,  it’s also got me thinking about how to give to the kiddos  this Christmas in a way that is thoughtful yet fun.  Finding a balance can be tough.

I remember reading in a book years ago {can’t remember which one!} to try to remember the birthday and Christmas presents you were given as a child.  The author surmised that apart from a couple of stand-outs, we probably couldn’t remember them all that much.  He went further by asking the reader to think about holidays or experiences they had with their family when they were children.  I could think of so many!  Trips to Avoca Beach, farm holidays with our best family friends, pool parties, bush walks, picnics. In conclusion, he urged us to re-assess where and how we spend our money.

vacation-griswolds

{Nothing says fun like a family road trip, am I right??? Bahahaha!!}

With this in mind, I’ve come up with a quasi-formula for gift-giving within a very strict budget.

  1.  Something unexpected to use outdoors {boogie board, bocce set, basketball ring, scooter, bike etc}
  2. One thing that I know they’re DESPERATE for {within budget}
  3. A board game {family time}
  4. A book {alone time}
  5. A DVD {family time}
  6. An item needed for adventure {snorkels, goggles, swimmers, back pack, fishing rod}

I’m trying to be super-disciplined  that everything we given them makes their lives BIGGER.  Not smaller or more introverted.  Giving with purpose and joy.

We also always give to a charity.  This year, the charity is the one I’m on the board for, The Lisa Harnum Foundation.  The kids are giving their time, energy and muscles getting some houses ready for families who are fleeing domestic violence.  They love going to the “cottages” and when we’re at the shops have started to ask “Would this be good for the cottages?”.  I love that.   On the other hand, I asked a couple of the kiddos to set up a Christmas tree in one of the cottages.  It looked terrible and they fought pretty much the entire time, but that wasn’t the point. They’re learning to stretch their “giving muscles”.  And it hurts.  Welcome to life kids!

I would love to hear your suggestions on what things you’re thinking about giving your children this Christmas.  It’s so helpful to bounce ideas off each other!

Live Brave, sister,

Meredith xo

UPDATE:  This clip……ALL OF THE FEELINGS!!

 

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6 thoughts on “Raising Grateful Kids {and parents} at Christmas

  1. We’re rolling up our sleeves this Christmas, helping with charity events like clothing distribution (physically sorting clothes and helping less fortunate find clothing is humbling), buying gifts for orphans/hospitals, packing shoe boxes…once kids have done that and seen how little others have, their wish list changes and becomes less self-centred. Wefly back to Australia for Christmas so my kids know that gifts of toys will be few but love of family and friends will be abundant. And most importantly, we can wake up together Christmas morning and say ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’!

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  2. As our kids get older and they need and use less and less ‘STUFF’, we are also trying to focus on gifts that can be ‘experienced’ or that we can make memories from. It’s not always easy, as they still love the thrill of the wrapped gift under the tree. We are trying to keep that balance too. Love your ideas, so helpful xx

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    1. Ah…balance. It’s a bit of a unicorn isn’t it? Some years work better than others. You should see the kids faces when their Grandmother gives them a card saying that she’s gifted a goat to a village in Africa in their name. They try to hide their disappointment and be enthusiastic. It cracks me up.

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  3. Funny, we are actually buying a real goat and going to a village in Africa to eat it with them this year!! Yes balance is hard, and even here in Tanzania, with poverty all around us, it is still nice to open gifts on Christmas day with our kids. We are trying to also give love and time to those around us. Gifts are not so important to local people here. Thank you for your thoughts and ideas on this one…

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