Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thoughts on Kids & Christmas...

Yikes, I wouldn't have thought we'd be hearing about robot rights so soon! Does this mean we're entering... the Future?

So anyhow, speaking of the future - when I have kids* I'm going to do all sorts of weird experiments on them. Like, denying them TV and home schooling them (if I can afford to...) and having a weekly family study night (in a non-JW way, which should be interesting) and enrolling them in community service activities.

Along those lines, lately I've been thinking about how it was perhaps quite beneficial to my sister and I to be raised without so many (stupid?) forced holidays. When I think of the countless birthday presents I was saved from having to buy, I feel... relief! One part of me thinks that birthdays are a nice idea. Another part of me thinks that there's a fine line between celebrating the day of one's birth and excessive, obligatory present buying.

It all comes down to the fact that I feel present buying and even celebration should be motivated by desire rather then a feeling of compulsion. I really don't like the idea of my children feeling that they are entitled to gifts at certain times of year and feeling that they can gluttonously ask for (or demand) presents galore.

I also don't appreciate that everyone celebrates this present-giving festival all at once. As a result many of us don't associate Christmas with peace but rather with crazed shoppers.

So my plan is to skip presents at Christmas when I have kids. Okay, maybe one or two presents each, but that's it. Instead the focus is going to be on family and cultural activities - e.g. taking time to go sledding, having a stay at home cooking day, decorating the house, having a family & friends Christmas party, going out to hear a choir, taking a drive (or walk) out into the country.

Please note: I could also list off numerous "good works" that I'd like to do with my kids but those aren't going to be limited to the holiday time. (Ideally, I'd like to replace the JW service with a new version of service. More on what I associate with true service some other time; my quotes may give you some insight.) You see, last year, Karina and I called the Salvation Army at Christmas time to offer ourselves as willing workers in their soup kitchen. We were treated very rudely and flat out rejected and that's when it dawned on us that Christmas was the ONLY TIME OF YEAR that most people volunteer! We naively thought that everyone else in the world would be so busy with their families at Christmas that no one would be out helping! We figured since we had no family to spend the holidays with and most of our friends were busy with their own families that we would do some useful work instead.

I still feel rather peeved about the way the SA person brushed us off, but at least I get it now. Still, if they'd been a little friendlier and had suggested that we volunteer at a different time and mentioned a time when they really could use the help they would probably have acquired some new volunteers. Instead they just assumed that we only wanted to volunteer at Christmas so that we could feel we'd 'done our part.'

Ah, well. If anyone does know of any charities/organizations that could use some help around Christmas (just tell them we're Jewish, for Pete's sake), please let me know.

*A new era of non-fundamentalist Christian children will arise!


Elliot said...

Just as long as you know that the Salvation Army is a Christian denomination.

Why not call Winnipeg Harvest? I've volunteered there with the youth a few times. It's great. They usually need help in February, and in summer. I think.

Mazel Tov!

Anactoria said...

Of course I know! I've seen Guys & Dolls! I've read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit!


Winnipeg Harvest sounds quite friendly, maybe we will try them! :o)

Anactoria said...

(But out of curiosity, what does the fact that they're Christian have to do with anything I wrote?)

Elliot said...

Well, you were talking about charities/organizations. Most people think of the Salvation Army as a charity organization. But they're first and foremost a denomination, like Anglicanism or the United Church or whatever.