Christmas Blahs

I’ve got a case of the Christmas Blahs.

It’s more than that really. I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a totally ungrateful brat but, my kids have too much. We aren’t rich by this country’s standards. My husband has a good job and my freelance gigs are enough to put gas in my car… every once in awhile, but still my kids have so much stuff. Their drawers are stuffed full of clothes and their closets are bursting forth. I am equal parts humbled, overwhelmed by God’s blessing and simultaneously disgusted by the excess.

We don’t do a whole lot for Christmas. My kids know that Santa isn’t real and their gifts are reasonable. But once they get gifts from us, from my parents, from the in-laws…it’s just so much. I’m thankful that they have so much but like my friend Whitney said in her blog post on the same subject, was writing if we have to get rid of toys to make room for more stuff is that a good thing? What are we doing to our kids?

I tell my kids ‘No’ on a regular basis, they don’t get every new thing that comes along. I’m trying desperately to teach them about giving, tithing, and serving others. But where do we draw the line? As Whitney said, what do we do with this conviction?

My husband and I spent time traveling doing humanitarian/mission work when we first married, and I’ve seen first hand how cruel this world can be. I’ve been to orphanages where children are dying of AIDS, I’ve seen four-year-olds begging in the streets with infants strapped to their backs screaming. And my heart breaks for those children and people all over the world who have nothing. People who are hungry, broken and abused.
My kids give their toys away. I give my “old” clothes away, but I wonder what would happen if I got radical about things and started giving more and consuming less.

The problem here is that I am torn absolutely in two. I’m disgusted by all we have and blessed because things haven’t always been this way for us. God has provided time and time again for my husband and I in very tangible, financial ways. But I would never, EVER say that God’s love and favor comes with dollar signs attached.

What would that mean for the faithful missionaries who serve all over this world? People who are risking their very lives to preach the Gospel. People who are hoping that on Sunday morning between putting on our makeup, complaining about getting our kids to church, and heading off to stuff ourselves at our favorite restaurant, that we will remember to write them a check. A check that will probably not be a sacrifice. A check that will probably be about the same amount we spend on entertainment or eating out in a week.

I’m not sure exactly how God will ask me to respond to the stirrings of my heart, but I know I want my kids to realize they live in a world where people serve and love God even when they have nothing. I want to raise my children to be radical givers, and I guess to do that, I’m going to have to be a radical example. I pray that God will show me how.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21

Copyright © Robin O’ Bryant, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved


  1. cressy harper on January 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    robin, i love this article. there is so much stuff in our kids lives, that i fear that enough will never be enough for them. they have so much, but, still want more. we tell ours no on a regular basis too, but, they seem to think that since we say no alot, that when birthdays or christmas or any other holiday comes around that means that they are supposed to get something bigger! i do make my older teenage boys work for what they have: video games, cell phone minutes, etc. but, i am still afraid we are raising a generation of kids who thinks we and everyone else owes them a living and everything else they want.

  2. Lara Taylor on January 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Robin, I totally agree. I have been thinking a lot lately about service and how I do what I can, by donating goods mostly and sometimes my time, if I have it! I have 3 kids, ages 6, 4 and 1, so they are still pretty small and take a lot of my time/attention plus I do a lot of writing at home. I am wondering when is a good age to start doing things like volunteering at a soup kitchen? I think in order for kids to understand, it needs to be more than “no,” in my experience. I tell them that we don’t need what they are begging for and point out a similar or same toy we have at home already. I tell them they don’t need a ton of toys and if they want something new, they need to clean out because I have a certain amount of toys they are allowed to have at any given time. I tell them we have enough, we have what we need, we don’t need more. But I also think that of course, it has to do with their level of maturity and their experiences in this world. If they don’t see it (like at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter) then they don’t make the connection of “too much” in their little brains! :)
    thanks for the great article!!

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