Giving in a {Greedy} Society


In a world that is consumed with instagram selfies,  personal Facebook status updates, ‘I deserve a break’ mentality and a general North American spoiled lifestyle, how do we keep our children and our families from being sucked into this vicious vortex of selfishness and ungratefulness? Especially … during the holidays … when gifts are expected and wish lists are fine tuned …


From my {small} experience as a mom over the years, this is what we have done so far to keep the focus on giving to others during the Christmas season and to keep the greed at bay.

{Lovelyn, 4, packing a shoebox}

1. Don’t be so selfish. Seriously – look in the mirror and see if you see greed in your own face. If you are showing your children that you want, want, want, they will only learn by example. Start with a giving heart to others and turn the focus off yourself and your needs.

2. Stop asking your children write a wish list! I’m being honest here.  Sure, gently ask your child, if you so desire, what book they’d like to read next or maybe what interests them, but if you are a mom that spends time with your child, you probably already know these details and are already tuned in to what your child would love for a gift. Asking our children to start dreaming up a wish list that, in most cases, cannot be brought to fruition is only creating more ‘want’ and ‘give me’. Even if you can afford everything on your child’s beloved list, I can guarantee you, they do not need it.  In our family, we do not watch ‘television’ and my children haven’t seen a mall in about five years, so they are not inundated with ads and commercials that entice children to want, want, want. That does help, as well.


3. Focus on others. How can your family help bless another family at Christmas? Sign up for an adopt-a -family program, fill shoeboxes for children around the world, visit your neighbour  and bring home baked goodies, invite the widow from your church over for a nice Sunday lunch … the ideas are endless … but giving and blessings other is essential, not just at Christmas, but every month of the year (especially if you are Christians). Children can be the sweetest blessing and have the biggest hearts. Give your child a chance to be generous to others and turn their thoughts off themselves.

4. Limit the gifts to your children. It doesn’t matter if you can afford to buy them everything in the Sears Wish Book or the latest Apple gadget … think about it, did your parents give you $500 gifts when you were young? Probably not. If we are giving such elaborate toys and trinkets to our children now, what will they expect when they are adults? It seems, if are not careful, we are raising a generation of future selfish, self absorbed adults. Yes, bless your child with some sweet presents this Christmas – there is no harm in doing so! – but stop feeling guilty about not buying what you think is ‘enough’ … limit the gifts to a few precious, useful items – books, board games, audio books, Bibles, art sets, something  related to an activity where they learn to do with their parent (ie. fishing, hunting, wood working).


5. Spend less money, spend more time making traditions. Children love it when you spend time with them … instead of thinking that their holiday will be complete with the next purchase of a MiniGoPro video camera or the newest adorable American Girl goodies, notch out some dedicated family time in that busy schedule and spend time with the family – whether it is baking cookies {to give away and to keep to eat during family move night} or reading together by the fire, making gingerbread houses, go skating –  children love time spent with them. You don’t even have to wrap this sweet present.

6. Sponsor a child! This is a great way to show love to others! And it’s a year round way of showing love. Your children can write letters to your sponsor child and watch them grow up over time.

7. Focus on the perfect gift. Jesus. He really does sum up the Christmas season wonderfully. Every day, read Scripture leading up to Christmas. Prepare your hearts with Advent activities. If we are living as Christians, if we are reading the Word and trying to live Biblically, we should know that giving to others, spending less time on ourselves, discouraging selfishness and encouraging generosity and humbleness, loving others and sharing joy is a basic life principle. Christmas should not be about what we give our children, or what our children think they need. It needs to be about showing God’s love, whether it is to your closet family members or the strangers in the grocery store.



December 7, 2014 - 9:09 am

Brenda (Gigi’s Mom) So sweet! And so true!! I love that the girls do the Shoe Boxes. Good job, Gillian, of keeping the true spirit of Christmas!