Parents, Do You Give Your Kids Christmas Magic Through Toys Or Love?

Parents, Do You Give Your Kids Christmas Magic Through Toys Or Love?

From a child's perspective, that toy is going to bring temporary happiness, what really matters, in the long run, is how you love them and treat them.

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I recently read an article that talked about the love the Bush family had, and the importance of loving your spouse and children, and it got me thinking. The things I will always cherish and remember most about my childhood isn't the toys or the vegetables my parents bribed us to eat, it's the way my parents hold hands in the car or the "I Love yous" that so many children don't hear. With the holidays coming around, I want to give a little reminder that this time isn't about materialistic things, it's about love and family. From a child's perspective, that toy is going to bring temporary happiness, what really matters, in the long run, is how you love them and treat them.

I didn't even realize how blessed I am until I got older and was able to really see all the brokenness in the world. I am blessed to have parents that love me, and each other. Some children will never even know their parents, they will never feel loved, and that is the most heartbreaking thing to me. Some people never have the opportunity to be parents. Even when we're broken and hurting we can still show love. Even when we're poor, we still have love.

Holidays are stressful. Moms and dads are running around trying to find the perfect gift for their children. Trying to figure out how to make ends meet and if they'll even have anything to give this year. Sometimes with all of this stress comes arguments and heartache. We forget the real meaning of Christmas. We are so focused on making Christmas what society says it should be, that we don't even realize we aren't even taking time to enjoy it.

You may not realize it, but your kids see you. They can see that you're tired, stressed, overworked. As a child, they won't understand, but as an adult, they will. I know a lot of people don't want to hear this, but teach your children how to be thankful. Whether it's a simple card or giant doll house, children need to learn how to be grateful. They won't know the work and love that goes into those gifts, but they can learn early on the importance of manners, humility, and being thankful.

If it's in your heart to do so, you can also show them the importance of giving to others. I've known families that have started a tradition before Christmas where they donate toys or make up their own 25 days of Christmas. Each child has to give up some of their current toys to give to other boys and girls to enjoy. Or they will make a good deed calendar and do something nice for others each day leading up to Christmas. You can come up with many ways to spread love and joy during the holiday season.

I have had 20 Christmases so far, and what I look forward to is times when I make cider with my grandma, singing Happy birthday to Jesus, having to fight over who has to sit at the kids' table and sitting around the table playing games with my cousins. It's the time spent making memories and learning lessons that will really shape you.

Christmas is celebrated in different ways for different cultures. Whatever your reason behind celebrating Christmas, embrace it. Remember why you first started your traditions. Share your family memories with your children. Help them enjoy Christmas on a deeper level so they can one day pass that on to their children.

I know gift giving is the way many people show their love, but let's try to reevaluate where our heart is at when we give those gifts. Give with love, not with obligation. This holiday season, take time to play with your children. Give them hugs. Set all the hustle and bustle aside for a few hours and really enjoy your family. Let your kids know you love them.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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I'm The College Girl Who Is Old Enough To Know She Doesn't Want Kids, Please Respect That

Yes, I am a real woman, and yes, I have a heart.

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"I don't think I'm going to have kids." This was the sentence that sent my family into a frenzy. But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish? Was the first of the remarks, followed by: you don't know what your missing, is your boyfriend okay with it, you're robbing the world of great kids, you'll never be happy, you'll change your mind; each came hurtling at me, one after the next. But me not wanting kids is something that I've given a lot of thought to, for the past decade, so am I really just "saying it for a reaction"?

"But you love kids, your so good with them, don't you think that's a bit selfish?" Yes. I do love kids. I think children are amazing. But that is the thing. I'm not being selfish. While it may be a bit selfish of me to not want to have to sew my body back up while sitting in an ice bath for a month afterward. Is it really so selfish to not want to raise a child in this messed up world? There is a school shooting almost every week in this country. Also, there's this thing called "rape culture" and it permeates every aspect of our society. Many of the children of today will likely be its victims or perpetrators in the not-so-distant future.

"You don't know what you're missing." According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs $241,080 for a middle-income family to raise a kid to 18 years of age — and that's before you toss in college, grad school, helping them get on their feet after graduation, bailing them out of jail after a wild weekend in Cabo, and all the rest of the unexpected expenses that come along with being a parent. I know what I am missing out on: temper tantrums and more college loans.

"Is your boyfriend okay with it?" This one always puzzles me. I'm not saying that we haven't talked about it. Of course he knows. But I am confused by the idea that if he wanted kids, I would change my mind to appease him. I was always taught that I am the sovereign of my own body. But then my aunt tells me that I have to give the decision of whether or not pushing a melon out of my uterus is best for me to any person I plan on dating?

"You're robbing the world of great kids." I'm actually not robbing the world of anything. I'm thinking about how having kids would impact the environment, over-consumption, over-population, and whether it would be fair to bring a child into this world. By not having kids, I'm allowing for the world to have one less person slowly ripping it apart. Mother Jones stated that one American child produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as 106 kids in Haiti. So, if you're concerned about bringing your the world's carbon footprint down, you could just skip having a kid.

"You'll never be happy." I fervently disagree with that statement. An international 2014 Gallup study found that overall, people with children had a "lower life evaluation," meaning they feel less happy with their lives in general. I know so many older women who do not have children and are incredibly happy. They felt fulfilled by other things; careers, spouses, volunteering, hobbies, pets, literally anything else. I understand that many people feel that they need children in order to feel happy, but some of us are not in the majority. But more women are child-free in the U.S. now that at any other time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Almost half, 47.6 percent, of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have children in 2014. So how small is the minority I'm in?

"You'll change your mind." And I know that. A lot of people do. My dad didn't want kids, and yet here I am. Some people change their minds, but some people don't. If my mind changes I'm okay with that, but don't TELL me that my mind will definitely change. It hasn't changed for the past 10 years and it doesn't look like it will anytime soon.

As a young woman in an age that tells me I can be anything, I can do anything, that I am in charge of my own destiny; I am often surprised by the number of people who tell me what to think and how I should be living my life. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I'm past the age of someone trying to shape mine. If you want a moldable mind, go have your own child Susan.

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