IMG_7249Have you seen this GIANT teddy bear at Costco?

I get such a kick out of seeing it while I’m shopping.  Only in America could there be such a GREAT, BIG TOY in a warehouse!  Who has space to bring Teddy home?

I guess there’s a shopper with a Mack Truck out there somewhere!

And once Teddy gets home…where in the world do we put him???

We can be extreme in our Christmas gift giving to our children.  More than toys this Christmas, your child needs your wisdom, your restraint, and your presence.

Your wisdom:  Before you get your child (or grandchild) a new phone, video game, tablet, or trendy sweatshirt, ask yourself if it is an appropriate gift for your child.  Even if your 4th grader is begging you for an iPhone so she can create funny photos, you must plan ahead.  Is your child mature enough to set limits for phone use?  (I believe if your child is in elementary school, the answer is definitely no).

Many parents I have talked with say things like, “I wish I had never given my son a tablet for Christmas.  I’m always battling with him now to come to dinner, do his homework, to put it down.”  But I never hear a parent say, “Sheesh!  This tablet is so good for my kids!  Ever since I got one, he is so polite and shares so easily.  I should have gotten one so much sooner!”

Your restraint:  It’s okay in this instant generation for your child to wait for a special toy.  Maybe a new bike is perfect for next year because this year, your child’s old bike is working just fine.  As I write in Growing Up Social with Dr. Gary Chapman:

“When a child is given unrestrained gratification of his own appetites and desires, he becomes spoiled and selfish.  Don’t try to make your child happy or rescue him by indulging his whims.  You don’t need to supply your children with every game and gadget you can afford.  The kind of happiness that comes from acquiring things is temporary at best.  We do children a great disservice when we give them everything they want.”

Never go into debt at Christmastime for gifts.  Your gift doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive.  It just has to come from the heart, with thought and consideration and love.  Restrain yourself from meeting your child’s every whim and over-spending.

Your presence:  More than brightly wrapped presents under the tree, your child (and spouse) need your PRESENCE.  For you to be fully there.  Phone off and away.  Work shut up tight for a period of time.  This Thanksgiving and Christmas, give the gift of your undivided attention.  You cannot communicate as intimately through texts, tweets and posts.  The deepest form of affection and communication is given face to face, eye to eye.  Take the daily golden opportunity to hug your child, clear dishes together, talk together, do life together.

Your presence means a lot to your child, not just your physical presence, but your emotional and mental presence too.  They can tell when you’re not really listening.  While you are with your child, be all there.

Give your children the gifts of your wisdom, your restraint, and your presence this holiday season.

The teddy bear probably isn’t necessary.




Arlene Pellicane