Kids: Anthony (12), Dominic (11), Natalee (7), Nicolas (5)
Occupation: College Advisor
Think of others. My husband and I have our kids gather all the toys they don’t use anymore and put them in a box for children in need. They’re stunned when we discuss how some children don’t have toys. We also participate in a giving tree in our community. Each of my kids chooses a child in need and then we shop together for gifts. It teaches them that not only do many other people need help, but there are lots of ways that we can assist them.
Give to each other. The first time they got to buy gifts for the rest of the family, they were pumped. They get just as excited seeing others open what they picked out as they do about opening gifts themselves.
Let go of guilt. Sometimes I struggle with the fact that I can’t give my kids everything. We don’t have a vacation home or a million presents under the tree, but we do have a lot of time to spend with each other. That’s the most important gift. The other day at school one of my sons was asked his most valuable possession, and he said his parents ... so I guess we are doing something right.
Kids: Hannah (10), Rebekah (10), Ruth (7), David (5), and Sarah (1)
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
Lois says: It’s natural for kids to want everything. I explain to mine that some toys are just too expensive. Last year, for instance, they wanted a Wii game system. I said they could choose to combine their gifts and get that but, in the end, they opted not to. I also remind them that we are lucky to have a house, food, and a family.
Photo credit: Jim West/Zuma