“Is that all?” my son asked a little disappointed.

What? I wanted to say, “How can you be so ungrateful? Look at all these things you’ve received. You’ve had three Christmases in two days.”

I didn’t.

I said, “Tell everyone ‘Thank you’ and give them a hug.”

We had just finished up our crazy Christmas celebration, which included taking our children (the only grandchildren) to three houses on Christmas Eve and Christmas day to celebrate with each set of grandparents.

As my husband and I discussed what happened as we made the eight-hour drive home we concluded two things.

The first one was that we need to spread out the Christmas visiting over more than two days to give the children time to actually enjoy their gifts from each home.

And the second was that there’s a line in giving when the receiver no longer feels grateful but feels entitled. That line is different for different people but I believe that the younger the child is the sooner that line comes.

Since then we’ve tried hard not to cross that line and to not let others cross that line. We asked relatives to limit their gifts to just a couple per child. Some did, some didn’t and that’s okay–we didn’t make a big deal about it.

For a while we didn’t get our children Christmas gifts at all. I know that sounds harsh but they were getting so much already and we celebrate their birthdays really well. I think it helped establish that Christmas isn’t about us it’s about Christ.

When we decided to start giving our children gifts, sometimes we’ve done large family gifts like a trampoline. Some times we’ve done small family gifts like The Chronicles of Narnia audio or Adventures in Odyssey audios.

This year we’re giving individual gifts. We don’t have any hard and fast rules, we just take each year as it comes. But one thing has stayed constant, my children would prefer just a couple of meaningful gifts than a truckload of stuff.

We also don’t have them make wish lists. Throughout the year we just tried to be observant about what they like and would want. This has gotten trickier as they’ve gotten older.

One thing that has happened because of this is that my children like to be surprised. They are really hesitant to tell us exactly what they want for fear that that will be the only things they get. They see the value in someone giving them a gift that they didn’t even know existed.

There’s this crazy balance kind of like a bell curve where if you don’t give your children enough they feel disappointed. But I think they feel that same disappointment when we give them too much. I want to encourage you to slow down this season and think and pray about where you are on this curve.

I ask myself these questions regularly: Is my family where I want us to be? Are my children grateful for the gifts they receive or do they feel entitled to them? Am I grateful or do you feel entitled? What do we need to change and what do we need to keep to be the family that God wants us to be?

Hi Friends, I’m Angi Schneider. I’m married to Carl and we have 6 children ranging in age from 18 to 3. I spend most of my day homeschooling, crafting, gardening, playing chauffeur, keeping chickens and trying to learn how to take better pictures. I blog about these adventures (and misadventures) at