When my daughter came home with a leaflet about the Christmas Shoebox appeal it brought back fond memories of doing them as a child. And now that I have my own children it brought even greater meaning to be able to offer such a gift to a child who, mostly likely, has nothing.
I bought a beautiful Christmas box and filled it with some lovely things that any little girl would love and when my 3 year old came home from nursery she asked for a look. After explaining what it was for and that she wasn’t able to keep anything from the box I took the lid off and she squealed with delight! She hugged the baby doll tightly to her chest “I love it” she said “my want one”. As she rummaged through the box oohing and ahhing I watched her little face, it was filled with sheer delight, at what I thought were such simple things. Things she has many of.
That night I thought about how happy she was with such a small box of gifts and the pressure most parents feel at Christmas to get ‘enough’ for their kids.
I don’t go mad on presents, I set a limit and stick to it, but I do find myself worrying that I have bought ‘enough’ and that it will look like ‘enough’ when they walk in the room on Christmas morning.
The truth is my daughter would be more than happy to have received that shoebox for Christmas and what my girls get is way more than the 700,000 street kids of Guatemala will get in a life time or what the Syrian refugee children will get this year.
Less really is more.
Enough is enough
I know by the time my girls get presents off ‘Santa’ and all their family and friends they have too much to play with and some of it, I’m sad to say, never gets touched. I really think a few well thought out gifts is better than a pile of ‘just because’ presents. I’m not saying we shouldn’t spoil our children, I’ve waited my whole life for mine and I’m sure as heck going to enjoy them, but I know that what children want more than a pile of presents for Christmas is our presence. And not just at Christmas, but every day. Imagine if we weren’t so crippled by consumerism, we’d spend less time working for the presents that the kids don’t really need, want or will ever play with, and we’d get more time to spend with our kids. This goes for mums and dads. I know we work for more than just Christmas presents but do we really need all of it?
I remember as a kid watching my mam and how hard she worked, she never stopped and no doubt got herself into a lot of debt to buy us all that she did. I know she sacrificed a lot for us and I’m extremely grateful (thank you mam, I love you x). I think part of my own expectation to buy lots stems from this, we always woke up to a huge pile of presents and I feel the need to do the same. But I also see it all over social media too, photos of presents literally piled high for children no older than 2 and mums posting ‘is this enough?’ photos. It doesn’t matter what anyone else gets for their child or how many presents they have to open; it’s the thought and love that went into choosing the gift that counts. We’re instilling habits and values that will last a lifetime, so choose wisely which ones you want their sponge like minds to absorb.
It seems we are suffering from an epidemic, which I will term ‘not enoughness’. We never have enough money or enough hours in the day, we don’t feel like we give enough to our children or spend enough time with them. There’s never enough of anything. We are never enough. We need to break this damaging ’not enoughness’ mentality and realise that we are enough, we have enough and we do enough. Enough is enough!
How do we end ‘not enoughness’
Personally I think the biggest culprit of this epidemic is comparison. We constantly compare ourselves to others and especially to those that have more than us. There will always be someone who has more and always someone who has less, a lot less, so I guess the level of your ‘not enoughness’ is based on which side of the scale you compare yourself too.
After seeing images today of refugee children sleeping on the streets, I know that my children have more than enough, that I give them more than enough and so next time I catch myself thinking thoughts of not enoughness, I’ll remember to turn my focus to the other end of the scale. Those images will haunt me for a long time, I prayed for them and asked god to show me ways in which I can help; that’s all I can do for now and it’ll have to be enough.
With love and enoughness