Monday, December 03, 2007

Unplugging Christmas : What Children Really Want

At the suggestion of Mom Unplugged, I have been reading Unplug the Christmas Machine by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli.

A section in the book that really struck a chord with me is the one about what children really want for Christmas. It is a pretty simple list

1. A relaxed and loving time with their family

Children really love to spend time with their family and they love and thrive on the attention of their parents. I like the expression they use in the book - your children need your "relaxed attention."

2. Realistic expectations about gifts

Your kids will be disappointed if you allow them to set their own expectations based on commercials or other influences in their lives. If their expectations are set accurately, then they more likely to be excited about what they do get. I am lucky as my kids are young and they don't watch television commercials. My oldest is starting to ask for things he sees that his friends have though so I think we are moving into a time where we have to think about this more.

3. An evenly paced holiday season

Space out your special activities over one or two weeks. Basically don't start the build-up too soon and don't end it too abruptly.

4. Reliable family traditions

The book explains that traditions enrich the holiday memories and give kids lots of comfort. I'd add that once you find things that are fun for the family why not keep them up. Once I find something we like, I like to stick with it. It is more comfortable for me and less work too.

Children are not born wanting lots of expensive gizmos and loud toys. They don't want nonstop festivities and constant action. And they certainly don't want all the stress and tension and bitterness that they get far too much of when their parents get worked up by all the things they need to do to get "ready."
I think it really helps to simplify things if you think about these four goals and how to meet them.


An Ordinary Mom said...

This book sounds utterly fabulous! I can't wait to look into. It seems like it will fit me to a T!

Lisa@Take90West said...

I am going to look into this book...these are great reminders.
Just wanted to stop over and say Hi! and thanks for commenting on my blog!

Anonymous said...

I hope you are enjoying the book (it seems as though you are). I really found it inspirational and practical all at once. I think I will continue to refer to it yearly.

That chapter about what children really want for Christmas was my favorite too.

I really think what they say is true. Parents need to remember these things, and build this into their Holiday traditions.