a holiday when kids get a bunch of new stuff

"What do you want for Christmas this year?"

"What's Santa Claus gonna bring you?"

"Did Santa Claus leave anything under your tree this year?"

I don't know how many of you celebrate Christmas in your homes. If you do, I'm guessing you don't describe it to your child as a holiday when kids get a bunch of new stuff.

And yet, well-intentioned, getting-focused questions are ubiquitous this time of year.

The thing is, words matter. If we're constantly asking kids what they want and what they got, we can't be surprised when they focus on what they want and what they got.

We can trust that kids enjoy other parts of holidays, too--including giving. To support that, what if we asked questions like these instead? (They're aimed at younger kids, so they'd need to be tweaked for older children.)

"Do you have any Christmas decorations in your house this year?"

"What have you been doing that's fun for Christmas?"

and even

"Did you have fun giving any presents this year?"

As you do the important and sometimes confusing work of navigating the give-get balance with the children in your life, you are not alone. And also, I love you.