Avoiding the Plague of Materialism

As Christmas gets closer I can’t help but think about how to pass on to my children the things that my husband and I value. This includes valuing people over stuff, and not getting caught up in materialism.  How are we trying to avoid this?

Each year for Christmas we try to keep our focus on Jesus, and on others. We keep our gifts very simple, and try to give our kids homemade items – this year they are getting a puppet theatre. My husband is building the frame, and I will be sewing the curtains. I am excited for all of the puppet shows that will be happening in our home very shortly! I’m also making each of them a quilt for their beds – last year our oldest daughter got a bird quilt and this year our next daughter will be getting a flower quilt.

They also don’t watch any television with commercials at home (and a very limited amount of tv at all), and we don’t often go shopping which keeps them from seeing all of the different toys out there that they don’t yet have (we always find that when we leave a mall we always want things that we didn’t even think about before going).

We also talk a fair bit about how fortunate we are to have our basic needs met (like having a home to live in and food to eat), and about how many other people do not have these things. We talk about the responsibility we have of sharing what we have with others.

Even so I fear that with all of our efforts, just by raising them in North America with our culture’s affluence and abundance of “stuff”, they will become like the majority of people in our country (myself included) and think more about themselves and our too-busy lives than about others in need.  Lately I have been trying to make a conscious effort to put no worth in material things, and to focus on people and on loving them both directly and indirectly with all of my day to day choices, thoughts and deeds.

For those of you who share these values of living simply, caring for the poor and those in need, and of avoiding the plague of materialism – what are things that you do to pass these values on to your children?

Thanks for reading,


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    1. Hi Karen!
      We sponsor children through Compassion, and our children pray for them every day. They love to read their letters and draw pictures/write notes back to them. It makes the needs of others more real to them to have pictures of the children, (and letters and drawings from them) who need our help to ensure that they can eat well and go to school.
      Our children are also learning the value of a $$ by saving their own little bit of money to buy toys that they want… we don’t just buy them whatever they fancy.
      We like to make gifts whenever possible too… and my kids are learning to appreciate the added value of a handmade gift given to them, and also, as a giver, the money saved by making a gift. At Christmas, we encourage our children to give each other toys they don’t play with anymore, and pictures and crafts that they have made for one another.

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