Thursday, December 07, 2006

Want vs. Need

I haven't posted any pictures for a long time. Here's one of the munchkins just before they ran out the door Trick or Treating.

I'm still digging through the stash and deciding what to do with it all. It's amazing how much we acummulate and then promptly forget about. As I opened one storage box of yarn, I could not even remember where some of the yarn came from. I'm sure that when I bought it I was sure that I couldn't live without it and envisioned myself casting on as soon as I got home. Not so. Some of the balls/skeins were lucky to have even received the attention of a swatch.

It all comes down to our perception of what we need and what we really just want.

Steve and I decided this year, that our kids were becoming too materialistic and seemed to appear as though they were "entitled" to tons of toys, gifts, presents. It's easy to want to give your children so much more than they need and then we wonder when they turned into Veruca Salt (remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). We came to the decision to limit their gifts this Christmas to three. They will receive their Santa gift (generally, the gift that is too large or awkward to wrap) and gifts from friends and family, plus their stockings, but we will only be purchasing them three gifts. One will be a gift of love (this could mean a toy that is something they really wanted or for the younger ones, something cuddly), a gift of learning (a toy to learn with, maybe educational, computer or dexterity related), and a gift of fun. There may end up a few extra gifts here or there, and we usually do one family gift (this year we were thinking of either a vacation somewhere the week after christmas or new snow shoes for all the family - we're still not decided). It's not that we couldn't afford to get them more, actually it's quite the opposite - because we COULD buy them more we feel we shouldn't. They initially were not overly fond of this idea, but we reminded them of the story of the Christ child and that three was enough for Him.

We felt this would help them not feel so overwhelmed on Christmas; would help them feel the spirit of the holiday a little more; would help us not be so frustrated at toys strewn throughout the house; but most importantly, they would learn to be content with less. Once we had presented the plan, the kids took to revising their christmas lists with no encouragement. The lists went from 3-4+pages to 5-6 items, with one marked as the most desired gift. We also have had them find 3 toys that are in good condition to donate.

Because we want them to learn to plan for things and save their money for things they desire rather than buy what they can't afford, we have a family meeting scheduled for January 1 where the kids are to present a larger priced item that they are interested in acquiring. They will then work out a plan to earn the money for it and the jobs/chores they will complete to earn the cash to pay for it. The gift of controlling desires/wants, and managing budget will be one of the most valuable gifts we can give them this year.

Now, if I could just find someone to help teach me that I don't NEED to have that extra skein of yarn to go with the 200+ others lurking around the house. It seems so much easier to teach them a skill that I don't possess. Maybe they'll also be receiving the gift of Hypocrisy this year.


Marina said...

The kids are at the age that they know almost everything comes from mum & dad. 50% goes into the bank and the rest can be spent but they really do not need to spend all at once. They've been pretty good about it ... pooling together to get the extra, expensive toy like a game console, waiting for a game to come out later in the year or for a "sale", etc.

Nope, mum doesn't always wait to buy her Shetland yarn but they've seen that I've "deprived" myself of some things to be able to do that.

Carrie K said...

Sounds like a good plan!

Please don't let me start begging you to take stash off your hands. I know I will, all the while pretending to be "helpful" but it's really just YARN GREED!

Oh yeah. Hand it over.

Marji said...

you are being particularly hard on yourself (takes one to know one?),
you won't be giving your kids the gift of hypocricy, you will be starting to teach them lessons of discernment, and those are good lessons to learn, and along the way, you'll be learning something yourself mum. Stop beating all over yourself.