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Teaching Contentment at Christmas


If you’re not careful, you can focus so much on stuff during the Christmas season that you forget about why we celebrate this holiday in the first place.

Whether or not you’re a Christian, this time of year is a great opportunity to take a breath and be thankful for everything you have. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, you can stand out by simply being content—and teaching your kids about the power of contentment.

You know how it works.

They’re going to want stuff. Lots of stuff.  And they’re going to ask you for that stuff. They’re going to make lists for you and lists for Santa and lists for grandparents. The lists never end.

And don’t get me wrong—that’s okay! But just remember how quickly the fun of that new stuff wears off. And that’s why it’s important for you to help your kids keep Christmas in perspective.

How do you do that?

I always emphasize that more is caught than taught. So if your kids see you stressed throughout the holiday season—frantically buying lots of stuff without ever stopping to “smell the Christmas trees”—then guess what? That’s what they’re going to take away from Christmas.

But if you’re focusing on quality of giving over quantity, and if you’re spending time enjoying the holiday season instead of being stressed out because of it, then your kids will notice that too.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was the time our family bought gifts for a single mom with three kids. She couldn’t afford to buy presents, so Dad took all of us out and we found the perfect gifts for them. Of course, I was just a kid, so I wanted a Barbie doll, but Mom walked me through the importance of having a giving heart.

We knocked on their door about a week before Christmas. The mom didn’t know what was going on. So when Dad explained that we wanted to bless them that Christmas, she fell to her knees and cried.

The little kids saw all the gifts, and their mouths dropped to the floor. Dad simply told them to have a merry Christmas and we walked back to the car.

It was an experience that I’ll never forget—and it had nothing to do with a gift that was given to me. It was all about giving to someone else.

This Christmas, I hope you’ll teach your kids the power of contentment. While you’re thinking about all the gifts you want to give them, make sure you take some time to show them how giving to others matters too.

Contentment and gratitude truly are two of the best gifts you can give your kids this Christmas.




  • Hayley Prychun Rodgers

    Lovely article! So many people go all one way or another, this is wonderful advice for walking that middle line and in my opinion, having the best kind of Christmas!

  • Jeanette Boggs

    Giving truly is better than receiving. I’m grateful to watch our daughter’s heart grow more and more in this area. Thank you for the wonderful teachings you share with all of us Rachel! #weweredaveramseybeforedaveramseywascool

  • Thanks so much for this post. We have slowly began our list of things we’d like to buy our children. Just a great reminder to keep things in perspective. They are also never too young to teach them to have a giving heart. Would love to start that with our 4 year old this year.

  • VB

    Many years ago there was a family down the street from us who fell on hard times. I knew they would be having a sparse Christmas. We bought a large wicker laundry hamper and filled it with all sorts of goodies–toys, sparkly nail polishes, special treats, cocoa, candies, marshmallows, cookies–I can’t remember it all but we stuffed that basket full. Then very early Christmas morning, I drove down the street and left that basket on their porch without being seen. Best feeling I’ve ever had!

  • Amommy

    I am that single mom, this year. I am trying to come up with ideas to help my kids see Christmas differently, and not stress about the fact that I can’t swing presents this year. Would love more ideas on ways to share other aspects of the season, with young children. Thanks for the article.

  • Thank you for this post. This is a struggle that my wife and I go through with our girls everyday. We try to teach them that they are blessed and it seems that they miss the point so many times. Will now make sure we are modeling it too!