What to Put Under the Tree Next Year

I bet I know what your kids want for Christmas next year.

Oh, boy — if this isn’t the last thing you want to think about right now.

You want to get this Christmas paid for or at least get the tree down and put a dent in the candy cane supply before you start thinking about next Christmas – I understand.  But this is something we really need to talk about right now, because if this gift is going to be under the tree, you only have a couple of months to work on it.

So what would your kids rather have than any new toy?

Well, let me ask you this:  Do you have a sibling or maybe two or three?  With the possible exception of little brothers answering this question in reference to their big sisters and vice versa — is there any toy out there that is so great that you would trade one of your brothers or sisters for it? Why, I’ve even heard of kids asking Santa to put a little brother or sister under the tree.

So, yes, I am suggesting that you might want to give your kid or kids a sibling next Christmas.

Right now while we are still celebrating the great gift of the baby Jesus is a great time to think about what a wonderful gift a child is to a family.

Think about the love you share with your own brothers and sister and consider what a life long gift you are giving your own kids when you have another child. Consider what you are giving your grandchildren when you do this: You are giving them cousins and cousins make great playmates and lifelong friends. And consider what you are giving to God – another eternal soul to praise Him forever.

Quite providentially, just as I started writing this, I received an email from one of my friends that said very poignantly what I am trying to say to you:

Dear Family and Friends,

As 2010 rapidly approaches us we reflect back on what a wonderful year 2009 was.  It had it’s ups and downs but the ups certainly outweighed the downs!  We know that throughout all that happens in our lives we are continually blessed with amazing family and friends.  God continues to take care of us and we are always thankful for the blessings He bestows upon us.

We will ring in the new year with the same outlook on life… looking at all we have with thanksgiving and appreciation.   We already know that 2010 will be an incredible year as we are expecting our 10th child!  We know that God has wonderful things in store for us in the upcoming year and the birth of another precious child will just make everything we experience that much more amazing.

We hope that your new year will be just as incredible as ours surely will be!  Even when life is hard, even when life seems to be insurmountable we can always look at the children God has blessed us with and know that there is hope in the world.  I know that us announcing that we are expecting another child comes as no surprise anymore but we wanted to share our news with you as we are excited, our children are overjoyed and we know that this baby will be such a wonderful blessing to our family as all of our children have been.   I know that some wonder why we continue to have more children when we have so many but those of you who have spent time with our children surely can understand!  They are such amazing reminders of God’s love.

We pray that your new year is full of surprises and wonderful blessings from God.   We hope that He blesses your family as richly as He continues to bless ours.  We ask for your continued prayers for our family and hope you know that you are always in ours.   We look forward to sharing our family with you in the new year!

With love,

Mike and Michelle

Kaylie, Garrett, Savannah, Emma, Isabella, Anna, Benjamin, Caroline and Madison

And so I am asking you, could your family perhaps open generously to share the gift of life the way my friend Michelle’s family has?

A lot of times in this space we publish criticisms of the world’s agenda of hypersexuality and assaults on the dignity of life. We are proudly and loudly pro-life. Politics and bumper stickers and marching and keeping vigil all matter in the struggle to build a civilization of life.  But in the end, nothing says pro-life like new life — like a baby.

So ask your kids — I’ll bet a baby is what they want.

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  • Claire

    Unfortunately, not everyone is able to give their children a sibling. Whenever I am wracked by guilt about this (which I am on a daily basis), I remind myself that the Holy Family was a family of three, and that if God feels that my son needs a sibling for his life to be complete, he will provide a way for me to be able to give him one.

  • Mary Kochan

    Claire, dear, you have blessed us all by sharing your openess to life, the heartbreak of losing the babies, and the joy of adopting your little boy. Rather than feeling guilty over what you cannot give your son, why not thank God for what you could give him — a home and a mom and dad? Those are not small things, for goodnesss sakes! Perhaps you can take your sorrow at not being able to have more children and offer it up for the conversion of some couple who is right now blocking God from blessing them with more children. Who knows maybe your intercession for them will result in the birth of your son’s wife!

  • Warren Jewell

    For such as you and your family, Claire, we fervently pray. Perhaps, the Lord will provide a close cousin or beloved neighbor child?

    In response, though, as a grateful Grandpa, I say “Hear! Hear!!!” to Lady Kochan’s (and Mike and Michelle’s, et al) cheering urging.

    I have watched my granddaughter, Rachel, and grandson, Erik, ages fifteen and eleven, respectively, blossom in new and gentle and cheerful ways with their now one-year-old sister, Natalia – little ‘Talli’ for short. And, watching them, she wants to play such as Guitar Hero with all her little energies. Imagine such a little one, not yet willing to venture real steps, having her turn at a full-size electric piano as she joyfully joins in making her own music.

    Now entering her late thirties, and observing as Moms do, my daughter, Helena, smiles and says “At least one more . . .” As do I, with loving memories, Helena remembers five-year-old Rachel leading high-speed toddler Erik in all her games and learning. And, Erik being a persistent but jolly shadow to his big sister.

    I can hardly wait!!!

    May God bless us all as families with His best gift – more family.

  • Claire

    Yes, I am definitely praying that Jeffrey and my niece will have a sibling-like relationship. Yesterday Jeffrey was sick and wanted to rock and snuggle with me for over an hour in the morning. If I had a new baby in the house, I wouldn’t have been able to do that with him. I try to remember things like that. God knows what he’s doing.

  • momof11

    My youngest would be thrilled to have a baby in the house…but every family must have a youngest child, and i am 51 and have high blood pressure. Another pregnancy would be very risky. What we need is more grandchildren and for them to stay local so Ginger can be around the babies. But that means my DD’s need to get married first.

  • kirbys

    our 10 month old gift from last year is busy undecorating the tree this year! His a joy and the teens are having fun showing him off.

  • gadjmljj

    Thankyou Mary for your article. We have 9 children and 3 grandchildren and they are truly the greatest blessings of our lives.

    My youngest (who is 5) is only 3 months younger than his nephew, and they are best of friends.
    Although I would love to have another baby (my youngest asks me each time my daughter has another baby), we are blessed to have the grandchildren so close to home so there’s always a baby near. It’s makes such a difference (especially through the teenage years) to have a baby in (or near) the family, it keeps everyone close and involved with one another.

    I think parents are sometimes worried about being able to give enough attention to everyone, but my children have learned so much more from one another than we could have ever taught them alone.

    Thankyou again for your article (which I will be passing on), I especially enjoy your writings.

    God bless you.

  • Terri Kimmel

    We just had our 8th last month. He is surely the greatest blessing in our home this Christmas.

    For those whose oldest children are still preschoolers, it does get easier! Hold out until the youngest is about 3 and you’ll feel refreshed again. Every child is born into a different family, as the saying goes. Circumstances change and God always provides. And for anybody who feels downtrodden and overwhelmed with the responsibilities of raising children, I have had a period of “I am NEVER doing that again!” after every baby. Eventually the family adjusts and my heart softens and is open to another one. I am still discerning, now in my 39th year, whether or not we should have another baby. Lucky for me ecological breastfeeding gives me some breathing room before we have to start charting my cycles.

    Be prudent, but be faithful. Children are the inheritance of the Lord.

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