Even into the best planned Christmases the Grinch of greed can tip toe in. Sometimes it seems that no matter how many presents children get at holiday time, they always seem to want more. Maybe when a child asks, "Is that all?" she is only articulating that bittersweet feeling we all get when something long anticipated is almost over.
To keep this "gimme more" attitude in check we need to keep an eye on our family expectations. Tangible gifts are the usual form of giving, however, "promises" in the form of coupons can also make fun presents to stretch the joy out over the months to come. Have everyone draw up gift certificates stating things like: "This changes any ordinary Saturday into I'll-read-you-any-story-you-want-day." Or an "all-the-ice cream-you-can-eat-day".
When gift exchanging time comes, try to slow down the pace. Rather than everyone tearing into their own gifts at the same time, stretch out the time together by taking turns opening one gift at a time. Savor the essence of the gift before moving on to the next surprise. And, remember, for many families there are no surprises on Christmas morning. It's a hard concept for children to grasp that many families are struggling through tough economic circumstances and this time of year makes the struggle even harder.
Perhaps this year your family would like to participate in Operation Angel Tree for the children of prisoners or help a family through an area organization where they organize holiday baskets for needy families. This year make sure everyone's list has something to give rather than to get.
Judy Warmington, Woman Time Management (owner) -- Busy wife, mother of three adult/married children, grandmother of 10 (5 boys and 5 girls!), former high school teacher (M.A. from W.M.U.), Speaker, Author, Radio Personality, and Trainer of Professional Organizers.