I remember when my kids were small, my mom gave them big catalogs and newspaper ads for them to take a pen and circle what they wanted for Christmas.  The little kids circled everything, and the bigger ones were more selective.  However, I recall those memories and my kids do too, as being one of the favorite things to do once the holidays rolled around.  The kids were never disappointed at what they got or didn’t get; in fact, they didn’t even remember what all they circled.  The fact that they were asked what they wanted and got a chance to dream was fantastic!

There aren’t really big catalogs much anymore and most people don’t take the actual paper newspaper either.  But there are other ways to let the kiddos look and dream and circle and choose what they’d like to get for Christmas.  It’s not evil to want fun toys and play things.  I think it delights our Father when we ask him for things, and it’s his good pleasure to grant them if they bring us some good!  So why not sit down with our kiddos and explain that we want to know, so that we can give within our budget, something off their dream list this year…if we can. 

Here’s how it might work:

Actually buy a weekend newspaper full of ads.  Collect them for a couple of weeks and sit down one night as a family and pass them around, with markers in hand.  Circle and wish.  Place initials by items.  And names by things we might want to buy for others!

As a family, walk the aisles of Target or Walmart. Give each kid a notepad if they can write, or littles ones your phone camera to snap pics!  Walk each aisle as a family, wishing and dreaming and noting and snapping.

Collect all the junk mail from your box for a couple of weeks, with all the ads for toys and more.  Sit down for a family snack and pass them around, with scissors for each person.  Let them cut and paste their wishes onto a large piece of construction paper!  How fun would that be!

If kids are older and know their numbers and how to round them, etc.  Tell them what the Christmas budget is per kid.  Maybe it’s $100.  Let them sit with an ipad at night and come up with choices and wishes that fit within that budget.

One night, make it all about stocking gifts.  Make a list of categories, like gum, candy, toiletries, socks, etc. and let them place a check or description by each of what they like.  For example, by gum – Trident bubble gum, by candy – Snickers, etc.  That way you have a stocking wish list too!

Another night, you can plan as a family what you will give to others like grandparents and friends, or each other.  Talk about budget and being thankful and how giving is so rewarding.  Make a list of people and ideas, as you talk about those people and what you’ve observed about them.  Maybe the grandparent likes to read, so a kid might suggest a book.  Perhaps a cousin loves animals, so a cylinder of dinosaurs might be just the right thing!  Use a big white board with names, and let the kids draw what they’ll be giving each person.  Take a photo of it and keep it for shopping, later.

Let the kids dream.  You can dream, too.  If funds are tight, then dream together about family outings you can plan or fun experiences you can have at home over the holidays, and plan those.  But never squelch dreaming…even when it’s just wishing and wanting.  It’s okay and it’s fun and it’s something they’ll never forget…

The Wish List
by Marcy Lytle

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