Family

Advent

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Garlands are hanging and the downstairs is littered with Christmas boxes full of decorations and ornaments.  I couldn’t get away with it any longer.  Not only is it the month of December, but Charlie would not let me live another day without some sort of Christmas decoration going up in our household.  He’s persistent; that boy.  He now walks within our home with a red Santa hat on; reciting lines from a “Charlie Brown Christmas” DVD; (which, by the way,Charles Schulz filled with a lot of Christian overtones).

Advent officially has arrived in our Catholic calendar and as I sat in the pews at church, this morning, my eyes gazed at the purple finery that marks the Advent season.  Advent means coming; the coming of Jesus.  When I see the purple sashes and tapestry I get excited.  The Advent season is here!!!

As a parent most of the Advent season revolves around the “perfect gift” for our little ones.  I know I’ve been waxing on about this but it’s something I need to work through because I’m so conflicted.  I felt validated this week when another girlfriend said aloud, “Parents give their kids the gifts they want to give; not always necessarily what the kid really wants.”  As a parent we want to give our children everything and anything if it is in our power.  But is it necessarily good for them and do they really need it?  We are indulgent parents.

Yesterday we helped some good friends move and, as we loaded and unloaded their things, Dave and I both realized that our household has many things that our boys no longer use.  As I brought Christmas decorating boxes down from shelves; my eyes were drawn to the motorized cars, scooters and paraphernalia from Christmases past.  Did our kids really need this stuff?  Or were these things given because we wanted to be indulgent parents?

Even now the urge pulls.  I’d LOVE to give my son a lap top, a new phone, the newest gaming console and the coolest, name brand clothes.  So I am now in training.  Just as an athlete practices every day at their sport or a musician rehearses his pieces; I am practicing on remembering the reason for the season.  Going to church for one hour, once a week, does not a great Catholic make.  And buying every little item my children want does not make me a better parent.

As I weed through my decor to keep it simple (another mantra I recite every year) I’m having a tough time.  Do I put out the knick knack that my 12 year old son made seven years ago?  Should I put out the $50 keepsake ornament with the cool noises and lights?  I think I’ll leave the garlands and greenery and that’s it!  Too many brain cells are being used when all I want is a festive but beautiful home reflecting the festive spirit of the season.  Mental training….

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