When the I Wants Hit at Christmas

I love Christmas, really I do, but you know what I can’t stand?   The massive case of the “I wants” that we all seem to have.  I want cute winter clothes to wear to all the parties.  I want to have time to make a gingerbread house with my kids.  I want the picture perfect home, tree, and Christmas cards.  And if I struggle with this heart attitude, then you can bet that my children do too.


My daughter is finally old enough to be aware of sale papers, commercials, and all the stuff in the world that she sees on every trip to the grocery store.

And she wants it all.

At 4-almost-5, she loves everything.  Dolls, clothes, games. You name it, she wants it. And to make matters worse, her birthday just so happens to be a few days before Christmas, so her case of the “I wants” is on steroids right now.

Two weeks ago, I finally decided to wage war against the “I wants” in both my heart and hers.  As she rattled off all the things she wanted for her birthday again, I handed her the World Vision catalog.


Worldvision Catalog Shepherds Pouch MamaGab


As I cooked dinner that evening, I could hear her oohing and aahing at all the things she saw–the bicycles, the cows, the goats, all for children in developing nations.  And she asked questions about why some children need these things instead of toys.   We had good conversations.  And suddenly, instead of wanting a Unicorn DreamLite and princess everything, for 30 minutes, she was absorbed in things that we could buy for others.

And you know what?

Now she wants to buy them everything.

Chickens, goats, medicine, and a bike.  These are the things she’s talking about buying.

In the past, my husband and I have discussed the idea of starting a tradition of the Shepherd’s Pouch with our children, though we thought they were too young for it.  I first read about this concept in Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in Our Traditions.  Essentially, the children earn money by doing chores during Advent and then present their gifts to the Lord on His birthday.  The money they have earned will buy gifts for Him–for others.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  -Matthew 25:40

I love it.  But at 4, 2, and 1, aren’t my kids too young for it?

No way.

The best way to combat selfishness in our hearts is by encouraging selflessness.  <–Tweet this!

I’ve decided that if we’re old enough for a case of the “I wants,” then we’re old enough for the Shepherd’s Pouch.  It starts this year.

Ruining Christmas
Focusing on the Nativity: C is for Christ(mas) Series


  1. Such a creative idea, giving her that catalog to remember what some people really need not only at Christmas, but year round. Great post, Gabby!
    Jelli recently posted…Be a Friend on Pinterest and Grow Your BlogMy Profile

    • Thank you! It lead to a good discussion of needs versus wants too. At 4, she thinks she needs toy unicorns and dessert…she has no idea how the rest of the world lives.

  2. My 3.5 year old twins are SO the same way, looking through all the catalogs, ads, and magazines, telling me everything they think they want… I love this! It is so important not to just teach my kids not to be materialistic, but to think about others needs! Thank you!

    I wanted to let you know about a new parenting link up from How do you do it? – http://hdydi.com/2013/12/09/parenting-link-up-2/ Would love you to link up!
    Katelyn F recently posted…M is for Music: Preschool Lesson PlanMy Profile

  3. In our home we do the giving tree at church each Christmas, and I love that my kindergartener was assigned to help earn money from chores to buy pjs for kids who don’t have them.

    By the way I do have a giveaway from the World Vision catalog this week: http://going-green-mama.blogspot.com/2013/11/gifts-that-give-twice-and-giveaway.html (sorry for the plug!)
    robbie @ GOING GREEN MAMA recently posted…5 baby products you can make from homeMy Profile

  4. This is a GREAT idea!!!! I’ve never heard of a Shepherd’s Pouch, but you can bet I’m sharing this with Mr. U tonight!!!! Our girls have really started noticing all the stuff they want, too. Doesn’t help that I have the same sin problem- selfishness. Looks like I need to look more into the World Vision catalog, huh?

    Thank you for this great idea!!

    Mrs. U

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