My daughter is playing with bottles of paint. Except she’s not painting with them. The pink one is Elsa, the purple one is Anna, and they are shimmying down the leg of the dining room table to rescue the green one, who happens to be Olaf today.
Kids are weird.
And also amazing.
Meanwhile, I’m on the couch perusing the toy section on Amazon, trying to finish off my Christmas shopping for the kids, and it’s not lost on me how much energy I’m spending trying to get the perfect gifts when my littlest is perfectly content with repurposing art supplies for imaginative play.
To be honest, we’re not a family that goes overboard at Christmas. At least we don’t think we do. We set a budget. We make a list. We stick to both. We put things like socks and toothpaste in their stockings.
But we also buy them things that will bring a smile to their little faces on Christmas morning. Because, of course. It’s Christmas.
Even though we want our kids to learn gratitude and that Christmas is about more than just getting things, we still buy them presents. Why? Because we want to do something that makes them happy, and because we want them to feel loved.
Sure, there are ways that we as parents can make our children feel happy and loved without giving gifts. But for the 2.7 million children in this country who have a parent in prison, Christmas gifts are the way they feel valued, remembered, and loved.
Their parent can’t take them out in the backyard to throw a ball. Can’t snuggle with them on the couch and read a book. Can’t show up at their class Christmas party and volunteer. Can’t even have a menial conversation over the dinner table.
While we have the luxury of teaching our children that we don’t need things to make us happy, we need to remember that for some kids, a Christmas present equals love.
You can help a child feel loved this Christmas. Children are the innocent victims of crime, and every child deserves to feel the love of a parent. Angel Tree helps provide gifts to children with a parent in prison, so when they wake up on Christmas morning they will know that they are remembered.
That they are valued.
That they are loved.