Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Moderation: Kids & Holiday Lists

The holiday list. I know when I was a kid, my mom would plop the JCPenney catalog down in front of me with a pencil and a pad of paper and I would go to town. Nowadays, it’s different. Kids are inundated with commercials and demos at the mall. They know what they want months before the holidays.

And let me get ‘old lady, here’s-what’s-wrong-with-the-youngsters-of-today’ for a second,’ but don’t we all want to teach our children that it’s okay if they don’t get everything on their list? I think, as parents, we want to preempt the sense of entitlement that we (cough) see all too often these days. Okay, stepping down off soapbox...now.

One way to navigate this with young children and holiday lists is to remind them that the holiday list is just a suggestion for mom, dad, grandparents, and yes, even Santa. The conversation can go something like this:

You: “Oh I’m so glad you thought of so many ideas for what you want for Christmas/Hanukkah! Remember, though, you won’t get everything on your list, just some of the things.”

Child: “Why?”

You: “Well, Mom/dad/grandma/grandpa has other people to buy gifts for, too. So she’ll get you a few things, but not everything. Why don’t you put a star by the two things you want most, so she’ll know what to look for first?”

A good way to end this activity is to teach your child that the holidays are a time for giving to others, as well. When he gives his list to the respective aunts, uncles, and grandparents, have him ask what they have on their lists. 

How do you do Holiday lists with your kiddos?


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