I wanted to share more with you from my conversations about Christmas consumerism with two smart moms. The surprising thing these two moms have in common is that neither one has Santa leave gifts on Christmas morning. Their diverse personal reasons for that had little to do, they said, with consumerism.
Assistant University Professor Shannon Wooden, with her PhD in English, is the mom who teaches her children all about cultural narratives without adhering to organized religion. In preparing for the Christmas season, Wooden says she and her husband rarely shop for children’s gifts, because they know extended family will want to shower the boys with presents anyway. They graciously spend various holiday times with grandparents, some holding more traditional Christian views. All in all, they appreciate the time spent with loved ones more than the gifts themselves. Experiences such as allowing the children to buy toys for charity are an effort to teach an altruistic value system during the Christmas season.
Senior Resource Manager Dawn Rundman at Augsburg Fortress Publishers
offers some planning suggestions for families trying to navigate the Christmas season without becoming overwhelmed. Her PhD is in developmental psychology. She says including children in setting priorities can be refreshing. Instead of assuming that a child will appreciate the splendor of a particular Christmas event or purchase, a parent might be surprised to find out that a child would rather enjoy something very simple. Someone’s favorite tradition might even include volunteering together. Then, there are budgets and guidelines to set for gifts. Finally, planning how the family will spend precious time can keep the season from feeling so busy. Rundman reminds adults that we need to give ourselves permission to say “no” to something that costs too much time or money. About keeping faith in perspective, she emphasizes, “We need to be really deliberate in what we do and what we’re teaching our kids.” As for maneuvering through the marketing that tells us we need to spend more on this and get the latest version of that, Rundman reminds us that there are still a few places not trying to sell us something. “Church is one of the last institutions that is still providing a range of supports for parents of young children,“ she notes. Most of those supports are absolutely free.
Ready, Set, Shop!
Labels: Christmas, conscious consumerism