Kicking out the ingratitude attitude this Christmas

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I find kids (mine included!) to become very “getting” focused this time of year. How can we, as parents, help them move from an ingratitude attitude to an attitude of gratitude?

Is it just me, or do kids get a little bit whiney this time of year? As they start dreaming about the toys they want for Christmas, making lists, eating treats every day, having parties in class, I think they (and their parents, *cough cough*) find it easy to get caught up in the gifts aspect of Christmas.

Maybe they start to feel a bit entitled. Or a bit deprived. Or a bit of both.

Either way, that is not something I care to live with for 1/12 of my year x 3 kids for the rest of my life. No, thank you!

Here’s a few ways I’ve discovered to help kick ungratefulness to the curb.

1. Can the commercials

This may be easier for us than for a lot of other families, but we only have Netflix (no cable), and I love it. No commercials means my kids aren’t being bombarded with messages about the cheap new junk they could have for three easy payments of just $19.99.

If you can’t can the commercials, make sure you’re around when they’re watching TV. Draw their attention to commercials. Back when my husband and I watched good ol’ cable tv together, we would try to analyze how they were manipulating us to want something. Even just saying to your kids, “oh, I hear a commercial! What are they trying to sell us this time?” will help draw your children’s attention to the fact that this is something that is intended to make us want something we don’t need.

2. Give gifts to others

Giving gifts to those in need is a fabulous way to help your children focus on the needs of others instead of their own wants.

3. Draw attention to what they already have

We’ve been using this “giving tree” this month to remind us of the gifts we already have. I’m trying to encourage everyone who comes in the door to add to it, so that by Christmas we have a visual list of all the incredible ways we have been blessed by God.
This is just a bulletin board kit from our local teacher supply store, and I chopped up some unrelated bulletin board trim to get the gifts. Cubbie is having a total blast writing down his own things, and even Dodger has gotten into the writing aspect of it, as he wrote an individual one with each brothers’ initials.

So far it’s just been something we talk about once every few days, but I plan to use it anytime they start asking for things/movies/candy this Christmas. I’m gonna whip out that sucker like it’s an anti-ungratefulness weapon and shoot the ingratitude attitude straight out of the house. (Well, that’s the hope anyway! The reality might be a little slower.)

I realize that in the end, it’s God that changes our hearts, not what we watch (or don’t watch), serving others, or even listing our gifts. But it’s these habits that help us tune into God’s heart for us, helping us draw closer to him so that he can change our attitudes.

That said, I would LOVE to hear what you’ve done to kick the ingratitude attitude out of your home, especially around Christmas!

Comment, send me an email, or write me a singing telegram, I am always looking for ways to move us from ingratitude attitude into an attitude of gratitude (sorry, too much “attitude”? I’m done now…)

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