Tuesday, 1 December 2015
"Have you written your Christmas list yet, Jonah?" Our lovely hairdresser (who puts up with wriggling boys, complicated hairstyle requests and the occasional dirty ears) asks my boy.
"Ooh yes!" He replies enthusiastically, "I've bought everyone's presents except for Dad's!"
The hairdresser looked surprised as Jonah didn't list off expensive item after expensive item that he wanted for himself.
And this is how this Christmas has been so far in our family this year. It's come as a pleasant shock.
Rather than constantly asking us for extravagant and expensive presents, my boys have seemed to focus more on what they are giving other people. In fact, two of them haven't even asked us for anything at all!
And unfortunately I don't think I can take any credit for it!
This year, for the first time ever, we have no TV aerial and so they are not watching the brainwashing adverts which tell them what they need in order to be happy. This isn't by choice but simply because the aerial needs fixing and we've had other priorities (like damp walls and broken ovens) to spend the money on. Having no live TV (we can still watch catch up TV) has transformed our family life and has made an enormous difference so far to the requests for Christmas presents. And in such a fast paced culture which constantly tells us we need more and more and more, my boys seem to be content with what they have. It's such a relief.
So, this morning when we began our Bible Society Advent challenge (we love a good challenge, as you know!) and read the verse that says 'it is better to give than to receive', my boys just got it. They simply love giving. They've spent hours making and buying presents for other people. They love watching them open presents they have carefully chosen.
I wish I could explain in three easy steps how this has happened, but I can't. It just has. And I'm making the most of it.