Sunday, 16 October 2011

How to ease Christmas nausea

At Costco last weekend there were two and a half aisles of Christmas stuff. I guess it’s just an unwritten rule that stores wait till Halloween is over before displaying it. And because it was a hot October day, not even Canadian Thanksgiving yet, I felt like I was in my still decorated living room on January first; nauseous at the sight of it.

The kids were with me and Deaglan asked for every single toy we passed. At first I tried silence but that didn’t fly. After saying no a few times, I finally told him he’d have to ask Santa for them.

Sheesh.

I’ve written before that this time of year always leaves me churning a little; I’m not sure how to embrace it because the commercial idea of Christmas makes me sick. With small kids though, it’s hard not to get sucked in.

But because I feel a responsibility to raise my kids’ awareness that we live a very cozy life, we don’t know the meaning of need, hunger or suffering, I’ve been chipping away at teaching Deaglan about the people who do. We bought a globe at the beginning of the summer at a garage sale. Many an afternoon we’ve laid together on his bed naming different countries.

I’ve told him about Bangladesh where I’m from, about the kids there, how they don’t have much to eat, that their parents can’t afford to buy toys. I’ve found myself breathing sighs of relief when his concerned little face came up with ways to help those kids.

Every so often I show him the picture of Sabina, our sponsored child, remind him that her life is very different from ours. I tell him that we are sharing some of our money so that we can help her and her family have a better life. And always during these brief talks, he thinks of ways we can share other things with her, mostly his toys.

And even though I know he doesn’t quite get it, I see that just bringing it up does us all good - gets us thinking about something outside of ourselves.

Last week I decided to accept the Visa my bank was offering and close my extra MasterCard. The exchange meant I’d have to contact World Vision to change my account information – put our monthly donation to Sabina’s family on the Visa now. It got me thinking about how we never ever notice that money being gone.

What’s $35 to us?

I called Shaune at work and asked him how he’d feel about adding another child to our account. I’m happy to say we are now helping three year old Keerthana and her family in Sri Lanka.

And just like that, I’m not dreading this Christmas season - as much.



16 comments:

Jen said...

You are doing wonderful things, Kim! And you are teaching your children wonderful things as well!! I'd like to be like you when I grow up :)

secret agent woman said...

Don't expect to make the kids fully understand. hey can't and that may even be for the best for now. But what you are doing is teaching empathy and compassion and broadening their view of the world. That's wonderful.

Kerri @OhMann! said...

I feel ya! It is hard to get them to understand - and not scare them to death. B would be asking me, "What if we don't have enough food, what will we do?" and so forth. They will get it one day, it is so hard though in such a materialistic world.

Barbara said...

That is truly such an amazing thing that you do. I hope to instill the same in child and we are always making toy donations and clothes donations (not only at Christmas). I hate getting sucked into the gifts and I hope my son realizes the true meaning behind the holiday.

Emmy said...

Good for you! And you are right- it is easy to get so caught up in Christmas for all the wrong reasons. I want my kids to know why we truly celebrate it and how lucky and blessed we are.
You are doing a great job

Tina said...

You are a beautiful human being, and your boys are blessed to have you as their mom!

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I love how your are taking back Christmas...go Kim!

blueviolet said...

You have a beautiful heart.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Good for you! I always just tell my boys we don't have the money to buy new toys when they see stuff in the store. And then give them the lecture about being careful with money. I'm sure they hate me every time, lol.

Valerie said...

It amazes me how very little it costs to sponsor our child-it's nothing to us too. we also need to sponsor another child.

Every year at Christmas we get the names of two needy local children and buy gifts for them. It's so much more fun than buying gifts for family members who don't need anything but expect something (only to be disappointed.)

You are doing such a great job with your boys, and I love your photographs Kim-you are really good!!

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

I can't stand the commercialism/materialism of the holidays either. We want to be very deliberate about what we teach our daughter and about people who don't have enough. I'm grateful that you're sponsoring children too. We have 2 kids we sponsor and I've had the privilege of seeing our boy grow over the past 11 years. He'll probably be out of the system soon and I'm so going to miss him.

septembermom said...

You are a gift to your children and this world, wonderful Kim! This is a beautiful post about true love in action. You are giving your children life lessons that are essential. I applaud you in every way.

And hey, you are one heck of a photographer too!! One talented gal you are for sure :) Hugs - Kel

Tina Lane said...

I love this post. What a wonderful education you are giving your boy.

The commercial side of holidays gives me a bit of the heebie jeebies also. I am sure things will change when we have kids, but the Hubs and I don't do much for Xmas gifts. We usual do a limit of $30 bucks each--the challenge being that you have to be creative. (Really our lives are already abundant with things.) Instead we focus on the holiday *activities* together.

Gerri said...

How COOL is that?! What a blessing that is for her family and yours!! Whoo Hoo. ;)

T Rex Mom said...

First on the gimmies - my cousin gave us a book when T Rex was born. It's the "Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies". We read it to T Rex all the time and any time he starts to say he wants "this, this, and this" we ask if he is getting the gimmies and he stops asking. Works pretty good. Of course, all kids are different so what works for mine, might not work for yours but I appreciated my cousin's foresightedness on gifting this to us.

Secondly, I love the photos of the kids. That top one of Naveen reminds me so much of little Deaglan.

Thirdly, I think it is wonderful you sponsor children. I am not surprised by it. It really is amazing how our "basic necessities" are actually quite luxurious (as I sit here with a laptop on the couch in my robe on break from studying).

Ameena said...

I want to take Maya to India, just so she can see how other children live. But in the meantime I just don't take her to Costco and when I take her to the toy store I tell her we can look but the second she asks me for anything we're out of there. But back to Costco - that store just bothers me. Everything about it seems...huge. Maybe cause we're just a family of 3?

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