Matthew 7:9: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
We are wired to give good gifts to our kids. Don’t you love the reaction your kids have when they open a gift they’ve been wanting on Christmas morning? It’s the best feeling ever!
But how much is too much? How do we ensure we’re not being too extravagant or spoiling our children?
It’s important to remember the difference between lavishness and materialism.
Materialism is an unhealthy desire of possessions. A preoccupation with material objects. It’s based on selfishness and causes someone to think they can’t be happy until they get what they want.
Some of the dangers of materialism are causing someone to be spoiled or selfish. They may learn to value the things of the world over the things of God. We don’t want to develop a spirit of entitlement or ungratefulness in our children.
Lavishness is extravagance, abundance, giving in great amounts or without limit. It’s based on selflessness, generosity, and a giving heart.
Lavishness is good because we want to give good gifts to our children just like our Father in heaven wants to give us good gifts. It makes our children feel special just like we feel special because of the lavishness of the Father.
Think of a time when someone bought you the perfect gift. It doesn’t matter if it was expensive or not, but something that spoke to your heart. How did it make you feel?
Giving gifts makes your child feel special. It builds relationship. It builds confidence. And it shows them you know them and are thinking about them.
How to switch from materialism to lavishness this Christmas.
Study and observe your child. Learn about what lights their fire and excites them the most. Know what they love to do or play with. Learn what they really WANT for Christmas.
Tell them the why behind the gift. Remind them that you gave them their gift because you love them and they’re important to you.
Something we did when our children were young was to encourage them to buy gifts for all their siblings. When they were little, we’d take them to a dollar store to pick out something they knew their sibling would enjoy having. Now that they’re older, they still love giving to each other! And they tell each other, “I gave you this because I love you.”
We constantly talk about the importance of looking for trends rather than instances. What are the activities they are pursuing? What do they like? Ask them questions. Look for the trends. Don’t buy them a gift just because they happened to see it on a commercial and asked for it one time.
Create a great culture during the Christmas season, and enjoy the experience of sharing gifts with each other.
God loves you, and He wants to lavish His love on you. Ask Him to pour His love into you so you can pour lavishness out to your children. Not materialism. Not selfishness. But lavishness.
Connect with your kids and build relationships with them. Give gifts that speak to their hearts and builds relationship.
Giving gifts creates a place of connection. It’s not about the stuff at all – it’s about the feelings surrounding the gifting. It’s about what’s communicated.
When generosity and gratefulness collide, lavishness will occur.
If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].