You hear the mantra all season long…”After all, Christmas is for the kids”. And its one that makes me cringe every time I hear it. I understand the sentiment. Children can experience the magical nature of Christmas in a way that adults sometimes can’t, because they don’t have budgets to manage and holiday baggage from years past. However, I can’t help but feel like the sentiment is ultimately unhelpful and unhealthy.
So let me give you three reasons why I think this mantra leads to bad thinking.
It’s bad for your marriage: I know many people who never exchange gifts or do anything special with their spouse at Christmas. I understand that things can be tight (we know the feeling all too well) and its easier to just skip a gift for the hubs. So if the reason is to be financially responsible or to be more generous to others, then great. However, most people will still lavish their kids with gifts, which tells me that funds can’t be all that limited. Also, if you never have traditions between you and your spouse and you only make it all about the kids, I think that will make your inevitable empty-nest emptier than ever come Christmas time. Once the kids leave home, every tradition you have will go with them.
It’s bad for your spiritual connection to the holiday: This is an obvious one. The incarnation is not just for little ones. And we know this. But if that mantra unknowingly invades your thinking, you will lose the entire meaning of the celebration. The nativity scene on your mantle is just for decoration and that’s it. Also, you will become obsessed with making Christmas magical and wonderful for the kids. You will make sure to participate in every possible Christmas festivity available, as you slowly fall apart inside because managing that kind of schedule is exhausting. Where is Jesus in all that?
It’s Bad for the kids: One word…entitlement. We know it’s a problem, but none of us know how to stop it. But what do you think will happen to your little ones if all they ever know about this holy holiday is that it is surrounded solely on them? They need to know the world doesn’t revolve around them…even at the most child-centric season of the year. Children are already prone to self-centeredness and if they hear over and over again that Christmas is all about them and their wildest desires, they will most certainly never understand the true reason we celebrate at all.
Kids are highly influenced by the way we adults manage life. Christmas time doesn’t change that truth. Children should have fun during the holidays, but so should everyone. We should all jointly rejoice in the truth that God put on flesh and came down to us. And young and old should also celebrate that he will return again!
It’s not enough to tell kids that Jesus is the reason for the season, when our actions tell a completely different story.