A Quote and a Question

When we speak to someone about the holidays, especially to children, why do we ask what presents they’re excited about receiving rather than what presents they’re excited to be giving?

under the tree

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterson


10 thoughts on “A Quote and a Question

  1. Kim says:

    You know, that’s a question I don’t ask. In fact, when I think back on what I’ve ask the kids I know (my own and others), I seem to ask what they’re looking forward to about Christmas. My daughter is looking forward to seeing my mom. I’m glad that she is oblivious to the consumerism of Christmas so far.

    And what are you looking forward to, Poppins? Me, I can’t wait to see what my mom thinks of the soccer pants I’ve made for her…

  2. ChristineMM says:

    Hi, We mostly talk about what we are doing and sharing. A lot of time is spent creating, making, and baking, then sharing and giving it away. We also talk about the foods we’re making and will eat together.

    My children are young and don’t give much at all. Perhaps that should change? I am NOT going to start giving them money to buy factory gifts for people who need nothing and don’t want anything. Relatives (older) have expressed they don’t even want ME buying them stuff but instead put the money into my kids college savings. (My kids are 8 and 11 now.)

    The boys are excited to give whatever it is they bought for me.

    They do help bake and then we give away a lot of homebaked goods.

    I am happy that Christmas is more about family and everyone than being all centered around what THEY are getting for gifts.

  3. Paula says:

    I have been thinking I would like Christmas to be a time to focus on giving to one another–but mostly intangibles. Giving of ourselves in service to our family members and others. And thus giving a gift to our King as well!

  4. JoVE says:

    Ron over at Atypicalhomeschool.net has some good thoughts on this same issue. He seems to have successfully raised 4 kids who are more focused on the giving than the getting.

    And I think that your point about hte questions we ask is an excellent one. I have no idea if I ask that (don’t think I do) but I have certainly heard others ask it, as if the holiday really is all about what you are getting.

  5. Linds says:

    Wow, definitely gives me something to remember. I love it and I’ve honestly never thought about asking it. Sad.

    I often ask how it feels to give but I really like the change in perspective this questions brings.

  6. GailV says:

    Hmmm, our kids are way more excited about the presents they’re giving than what they might receive. It helps that we make a lot of presents, so they aren’t simply shopping for another person, they’re creating for the person.

  7. Kay says:

    Our family always chooses what we are giving first….this year we made caps for the Haitian newborns (thanks to information found while reading your blog), last year my girls donated their hair to Locks of Love. I think children naturally want to give…..but we as parents sometimes fail to allow them to space and time to make a contribution.

  8. Cheryl says:

    Actually, I like to know both.

    Often, the “what you’re hoping for” question can give pretty non-superficial results (sometimes along with the expected toy-grab kind of answer).

    And the “what you’re planning to give” question is always a curiosity to me – especially from young children, who come up with some very sweet & thoughtful gifts.

    When going through the list of gifting with my youngest (5), she got to her auntie & knew immediately what she was making her. An ice cream pail, decorated with pictures of her harvesting raspberries, precisely for that task. (Apparently the yogurt container she normally uses just doesn’t do the job justice).

    There were plenty of other moments like that, little windows into the thought processes of the kids. So ya, I like both questions.

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