The Free Motion Quilting Project: Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I do hope you're having a wonderful, relaxing holiday! We've had a wonderful day together, though we began with a bit of a rocky start.

You see... my sweet, sweet eight year old has been having some gratitude problems this year. James really couldn't wrap his head around the fact that in our family Christmas is about showing your appreciation and love for the people in your life. He seemed to think it was all about presents and after not one, but SEVERAL behavior issues over the last few days Josh and I decided we needed to take drastic action.

In horribly Grinch fashion, we stole all the presents from under the tree and moved them to our bedroom closet. Then we picked out a big box and filled it with packing material and a bag of smooth, heavy river pebbles (shaking the box yields the same results as shaking a massive Lego set). We wrapped it up beautifully and set it out as the only present under the Christmas tree.

Why give my child a bag of rocks for Christmas? Well, we were all out of coal! It's been raining for days so we didn't want to rake up wet sticks and leaves so the bag of rocks seemed like the best option.

Before you think we traumatized our son, rest assured we did open presents after an important life lesson. We gave James time to feel his disappointment and to express his feelings. Then we expressed our disappointment in his behavior and that even though Christmas morning is usually new toy bonanza, he always needs to remember that getting tons of presents is not what this holiday is really about.

Josh and I found two quotes about gratitude that perfectly illustrated what we wanted James to learn from this experience:


After a few tears we headed back to the closet and opened up presents together snuggled in bed. I love my son and I wanted him to have a marvelous day, but this year marked a serious turning point.

We no longer have a child who can be swept away by the mystery and magic of Christmas and Santa Claus. He knows who the real Santa is and we need to adjust our Christmas accordingly. This day needs to be much less about presents and much more about having fun together and feeling gratitude for what we already have. 

Merry Christmas,

Leah Day

20 comments:

  1. Wow! I admire you, more parents need to teach their children gratitude. There are so many who feel the world revolves around them. The lesson your son learned today will follow him into adult hood.

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  2. God Bless you for your strength and grace. Someday,when he is married with a child of own, this memory will return to him with all its meaning and he will thank you.

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  3. I'm with you, Leah and Josh! This is tough love in a gentle, age-appropriate way, and James will someday thank you for it. More parents need to get themselves and their children off the commercial merry-go-round that passes for Christmas these days. My husband and I watched our second child go through some tremendous disillusionment when he finally grew up and realized that no amount of material possessions could make him happy. And as goodhearted as he and his brother are, I still wish we had taught them more about gratitude and serving others, not only during the holidays but all year round, instead of concentrating so much on buying presents.

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  4. You both are great parents because you consciously walk your talk. We've spent the last 5 days with my son's cousins, it's been a great time to really experience that what is important is that we spend time together. He cried big tears tonight because we need to leave our loved ones behind (to our own home, 2 states down). My son is 9 this year, and I will say that as I see my sisters and brother-in-law's kids turn into lovely young adults that it gives me great hope that our struggles at this age will pay off! Blessings to you!

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  5. Great post, Leah!! As I observe the "Christmas presents madness" over here, I'd wish all these parents would have (be it just a fraction of) the wisdom you and Josh have shown here in dealing with this serious problem.

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  6. Congratulations. A brave thing to do in an age of out-of-control consumerism.

    I am sure someone will criticise you for this, even if they do not do so to you face, but it is a shame more parents do not have the courage and strength of character that you have showed. We might be bringing up much nicer future adults if more parents acted like you.

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  7. The time to teach these lessons is not on Christmas morning which is highly charged for most people. Talk to your children at the beginning of December about giving and receiving, expectations and responsibilities. Get them involved in doing for and thinking of others.....children are so receptive to that. About all keep your family ' s integrity intact.

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  8. I agree with the both of you.

    Warm regards,
    Marga♥

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  9. It's those life lessons that will make him a better person when he grows up. I applaud you. There are a lot of kids out there who have never had a guiding hand.

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  10. Excellent move! Only you and Josh know your son and how to deal with his behavioural issues. What you did was perfect and I believe whole heartedly in what you did. Not an easy decision for you both either but nobody said being a parent was easy.
    I hope that you both were able to relax after the trauma of having to do that. Taps on the back for both of you.

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  11. Oh....good for you. It is difficult to see them sad, but a very important lesson learned.

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  12. Teaching children Gratitude is the best gift you can give them. I agree with Lizzie that Christmas morning does not have to be the only day to do this. We take my grandchildren to help serve meals to the homeless on Thanksgiving day and at Christmas, toys are taken to those who are without. It is just a matter of education, really. Kids don't know that there are other people in the world that have far less than they do. We have to show them. It is through our own actions toward this effort, that this lesson will be taught. Happy New Year to you and your family and God bless!

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  13. Leah, you and your husband are good parents! Hats off to you both for doing right by your child and teaching him some valuable lessons that will serve him off later on in life.

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  14. wow, what a beautiful way to show your son a very valuable life lesson. the two quotes that you found are truly wonderful in expressing this very lesson. Well done to all of you, and I hope that you all truly had a wonderful Christmas together!

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  15. Good job. I applaud you. I did the same thing to my son when he was younger but I took it one step further. We went and picked up his toys from layaway and he decided to get in trouble (@school)the week before Christmas, so needless to say he did not get Christmas that year. Then in January, after the stores return desk thinned out, I made him carry his toys into the store and I got my money back. Now, he's 29, and he says "Now I understand the lesson(s) you were trying to teach me. Especially when you thought I wasn't listening."

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