NWI Parent

The 12 days of Christmas, for real

December 23rd, 2010 - By Julia Huisman

The only time of year when I’m happy for Isabella for having two separate families is at Christmas time, which is followed closely by her birthday. The girl banks. She gets both Christmas and birthday presents from me and Justin, her dad, my parents and siblings, Justin’s parents and siblings, and her dad’s parents and siblings. When her dad gets married, there will be yet another family to buy her gifts! That’s just craziness.

Justin and I celebrated Christmas with Isabella this past Sunday, because she’ll be with her dad’s family on Christmas Day this year. She looked a little disappointed when she finished opening her gifts that morning. I know every kid feels sad when it’s all over. But we quickly reminded her that this was just the beginning and a slew of presents were still awaiting her. That made her perk up but also made her slightly greedy for the rest of the week. “I hope Santa brings me [insert every single thing she could ever want] at my dad’s,” she’d say. Whenever she saw a newly wrapped present under the tree, she’d run up to it and check the nametag, assuming it was for her. When she learned that it wasn’t for her, she’d slump away and pout.

Finally, I said something. I lectured her on how grateful she should be for getting so many gifts and that instead of sitting around ready to pounce on the next gift she sees, she should think about what she can give to other kids who aren’t as fortunate as her. “You have everything you could ever need,” I said.

“You have everything you need too,” she said quietly. That hit me like a ton of bricks.

Her comment reminded me that I am just as responsible for being grateful and for giving to others as Isabella is. While I know that I too have everything I could ever need, I’m not proactive about giving away the things I don’t need—unless it’s giving clothes to Goodwill, which is really more selfish than selfless. After all, my main motivation for that is to clean out the closets.

One of my goals for the New Year is to look for new ways to donate the things I don’t need, and to involve Isabella in that mission, so that she will not only do as I say but also do as I do.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

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