‘Tis the season again–the annual challenge of what to get our children for Christmas. Their basic needs are met and many “wants” satisfied by gracious grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends.
A few years ago, we came to realize how “individually centered” we have made Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, we love buying fun gifts for each child and watching their eyes light up with excitement on Christmas morning. What parent doesn’t!? But what parent doesn’t also reflect on their many purchases the next day or week, when that plastic thingy from China is now broken, or abandoned because the novelty has worn off, and is now just stuffed away in an already overflowing toy box?
Christmas morning may have been a fun moment, but we asked ourselves, “did any of those gifts actually provide a “family memory” that our kids would talk about for years to come?” To battle the frustration associated with more stuff, Rich and I started a new tradition, that being the “Family Christmas Gift”. What is a “Family Christmas Gift”? Well, it is more than another board game for family night. It can be an adventure, a trip to some place or doing some thing that we all enjoy: A gift that draws us together as a family and doesn’t add more “stuff” to our lives.
Although a Christmas Family Gift is often dependent on finances, we came to appreciate that we’re not buying something plastic and breakable, instead, we’re buying a memory. For some families it might be a weekend get-away from the cold to someplace warm and comfortable, even if it is the hotel in the next town that has a heated swimming pool. There are all kinds of post-Christmas family deals on-line. One year we found a discounted four-day cruise sailing out of Charleston, where we live. It can also be a few days away that connect our family with other likeminded friends.
When we heard the “Family Christmas Gift” idea the first time, our initial thought was “Can we afford something like that?” Since we do not believe in going into debt for Christmas, where would the money come from? What we came to realize, after adding up all that is spent on an assortment of individual toys, gadgets, gizmos and contraptions, that we could just as easily afford something far greater, more satisfying, and something that will not soon be forgotten.
We have such a “family gift” opportunity to share with you: The GFI National Family Camp/Conference, which will be an extended time together in August 2017 and an event that our kids are looking forward to. It is more than just a fun time for our family; it is also a time we share with, and are encouraged by likeminded friends. It is a “safe” place for our children to connect with some of their best friends—friends whose parents value the meaning of God’s family as much as we do. It is a place to grow together.
For our kids, the few personal gifts they receive are fun, but the “Christmas Family Gift” is their favorite because it involves making a memory together and also gives them something to look forward to beyond Christmas day. The GFI National Family Camp/Conference will be one of the great highlights of the year. Why not make it a “Family Gift” for your family this Christmas?
The years with our children are fleeting, and so are plastic thingies from China, but fun, loving family memories last a lifetime. The GFI Family Camp/Conference 2017 will be a Christmas gift to remember! Registration will open soon for the conference, visit www.growingfamiliesausa.com for more information!