Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Friday, December 17, 2010

Appreciating Christmas and Contest Results

Good Friday to all of you!  Today, I want to share with you a topic a new business associate sent to me.  She is hoping to help me gain some media publicity and I am very thankful.  There are certain people (and you know who you are) who I haven't met but would really like to see me succeed with this blog/book.  But something funny happened along the  way.  The more I wrote on this topic, the stronger I felt about the my answer to the question.  For all the parents who worry about their kids receiving the true meaning of Christmas, this blog is for you.  Also, the end of the blog includes the contest results along with the winner. First, here's the question I was asked to answer.     

 Santa Claus with a little girlImage via Wikipedi 
PARENTING: Teaching Kids to Appreciate What They Have during the Holidays --
I'm writing a post about how the nature of Christmas has turned into "buy, buy, get, get." This is not a religious piece, but more about how we can teach our children to appreciate what they do get. As parents, we often feel our children will be upset if they don't get the newest, most expensive toy. How can we teach them to appreciate what they do get? How, as parents, can we give our children a holiday without the stress of feeling as though we need to break the bank?

The following was my reply:

I was forwarded an inquiry by you from a business associate concerning Christmas.  Specifically, what can we do at Christmas so....

1. Kids feel appreciative for what they get.
2. We, as parents, don't feel as though we need to break the bank.
3. We, as parents, don't feel upset if our children don't get the latest greatest toy.

First, this is a situation mistaken as a Christmas problem.  The truth is, for many of us, it is a year long problem.  It is only in this nature that I can adequately answer the questions.

First, kids should be taught to show appreciation with the words "please and thank you" consistently.  These are basic manners that should not be set aside at Christmas.  As parents, we have to understand there is such promotion/excitement over this one day that kids are overloaded with emotion as it is.  It is our responsibility to remind them of such basic courtesies. 

Appreciation can not be instilled on this one day alone.  Therefore, if a parent hasn't taught lessons on being appreciative all year; this would be a hard day to get the message across. Regardless, a parent should still try their best.  The goal may be to start now in order for their children to gain a better appreciation towards Christmas next year.

As far as parents feeling as though we need to break the bank, this is only true if WE don't remember the meaning of Christmas.  Granted, it's a season of giving- but not a season for going bankrupt or paying a Visa card interest bill until April 2011.  We should give gifts within our means.  If the child has been taught how to appreciate what they get and we remember the meaning of Christmas, there won't be a problem.  If, as parents, we aren't happy with finances at Christmas and our ability to give, that is a separate money problem; not a Christmas problem. 

Therefore, there's no need to feel upset if our children do not have the latest greatest toy.  Not to be too religious; but there is a reason for Christmas. We celebrate in different ways around the world; but focusing on the reason for Christmas is the best anecdote for one's misgivings about not having a $300 Xbox with a $50 game. 

All the best,

Clayton Thomas

I've always said one of the basic tenants of this blog is to make parents merely think.  Whether you agree/disagree with this blog is not too important to me.  What is important though is once you think about the tenants of today's blog, you have an even better understanding of your own decisions concerning your family.  When that happens, you would have to be considered (in my eyes at least) a better parent even if you think I am full of it.  On that note, let's get to the contest. If you are not familiar with the contest, my previous blog explains everything.

I have some good news and a touch of bad news.  Which do you want to hear first?  I knew it!  You want the bad news first so we can end the blog on a positive note.  Great minds think alike!!!

The bad news is we didn't reach 200 hits.  Trust me when I say I was pulling for you and I worked/promoted hard to help you.  200 hits would have been a big jump from my previous high admittedly.  There is a saying that goes something like "sometimes when you reach for the stars, you may only hit the moon."  We did achieve 159 hits (as of this writing) which was the most thus far for one blog.  This represents over a 20% increase versus the previous high.   Remember when I said my original goal was 100 hits in one month?  We have far exceeded original expectations.  Also, barely halfway into the month of December, this blog has been "hit" more than either of the previous two months.  (The blog was started in October 2010)   

On to the good news: The winner of the contest is (drum roll please) me.  This means I am donating $50 to St. Joseph Children's Home in Louisville, KY.  If you are not familiar with this organization, they take in children who have been removed from their natural families due to severe abuse/neglect.  The job of the organization is to place the kids in position to be adopted or transition into foster care.  This takes a lot of time/ work based on where the child is mentally and the emotional scarring involved.  This is where I learned most of my skills with children.  Subsequently working in a classroom for seven years, raising two great children, and writing this blog are easy because of the opportunity St. Joseph's gave to me.  

One of my bucket list goals is to repay every dime St. Joseph's ever compensated me.  The knowledge I received concerning how to work with kids was more than enough payment.  I am not rich and I have a family to feed/college to pay for/ retirement/ etc... but the money they will receive based on this contest is a very small step towards the goal.  

I want to thank everyone for reading this blog and participating in the contest.  There will be lots more fun in the blogs ahead.  Please pass this blog along to others you feel would enjoy the message and I will check in again Monday.   


  1. great post. would love to have you as a guest host for the daily groove hop. here is a link to one of them. I publish them when I can due to my many life happenings but they will be way more frequent starting in january. this is just one of them.

  2. I agree totally with your post. Yes, Children do need to learn to appreciate what they get. But, they also learn by example and what they see, are parents only being happy when they buy, buy, buy, get, get, get!
    In our society we've been inundated with this concept. It takes a very strong parent to instill other riches in their child!
    Wonderful post! I really think that you have started parents thinking.

  3. I also concur. Teaching children to appreciate what they have is very important, now and for later on in life. Thanks. Diplo_Daddy--London, England

  4. Thanks for this reminder that as parents, we do not fail when we cannot or do not break the bank to get all the latest and greatest for our children!

    I found your blog near mine in the blog clan list (I forget the official name of the website ~ blogolina or something similar).


  5. Great blog post! I feel the same way. I know that I'm not a bad parent, and I try my hardest to teach my children right from wrong and good from bad. But I still can't help but feel that I haven't fully got them to understand Christmas is about giving, not what you get. Then I think about what excited me when I was young.....then I understand.

    Again, great blog post. Visit sometime, look around and read some stories from dads there.

  6. Great blog post! Look forward to following you.