Monday, December 19, 2011


In this 2011 holiday season, I know we all have our wish lists, our kids' wish lists, our friends' and spouse wish lists to consider and attempt to meet.

I actually think meeting and granting wishes (in moderation) is one of the perks of parenthood and this holiday season, but will be a challenge for many of us, given the economic situation we find ourselves in today.  That is why it is so important to help our kids learn to distinguish between realistic wishes that can be met and those that involve reaching, aspiring, and hoping (knowing in reality they may not be met - at least not immediately).

To help kids learn to make (smaller) realistic wishes and (larger) hopeful wishes - talk to them about wishes, wish making, and expectations.  Read books about how how different characters make wishes and deal with making those wishes come true.  Talk to them about the characters and books where the wishes do not come true and how those characters deal with the frustration, disappointment, and realities they face.

Here are some of my favorite books about wishes:
  • A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story  by Berkely Breathed  
  • Many Moons by James Thurber - about a princess who wants the moon, and how the king's jester finds a solution, where his advisors and wise men could not.
  • Ruby's Wish  by Shirin Yim  
  • Ava Tree and Wishes Three by Jeanne Betancourt 
  • Dealing with Dragons - the first in a series of chapter books by Patricia Wrede - about a princess who wishes she could learn math, science, and magic instead of etiquette and manners. 
  • Robot Dreams and Bake Sale both written and illustrated by Sara Varon are both wonderful books about wishes, dreams, and how hard it is sometimes to make them come true.  In Robot Dreams,  the dreams come don't come true the way they were initially intended; and in Bake Sale,  the wishes do come true after hard work and sacrifice.  Both are graphic novels geared for young and old kids alike.
  • When Wishes Come True by Per-Henrik Gurth.  This is a story about a polar bear who is sad because his wishes never seem to come true, and how his mother shows him how some of them do come true (like getting his favorite meal or wishing for snow to fall).  This is a great book that shows kids the difference between big and small wishes.
Here is a read-aloud YouTube clip for When Wishes Come True:
    Here are some questions you can discuss with them after, or when reading the books:
    • What wishes do they think can be met and what may not be met?
    • What might characters do to help make their wishes come true?
    • How does it feel when wishes don't come true?
    • How do different people/ characters deal with the frustration when their wishes aren't met?
    • Talk about how we can help make certain wishes come true (in their lives and in others')
    • What are different ways people make wishes and why (i.e., wish bones, fountains, praying)
    Sometimes providing perspective will help when kids are frustrated or sad.  Here are links and charity suggestions that may help them feel better about themselves while helping other, less fortunate kids have their wishes met.  The charities below take monetary and/or 'gently used' donations:

    Make A Wish Foundation
    Kids Wish Network
    St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
    Operation Smile
    Children's Charities of America
    Boys and Girls Clubs of America
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
    Project Night Night - providing sweeter dreams for homeless kids
    KaBOOM! Buidling playgrounds, parks, athletic fields in low-income areas
    Locks of Love
    Save the Children Fund
    Ronald McDonald House Charities
    New Eyes for the Needy
    Sports 4 All Foundation
    Toys For Tots
    An index of local charities that accept clothing donations

    [PLEASE feel free to add some of your favorite charities (not listed) in your comments.]

    Wishes are SO important they set goals, raise expectations, and help us cope with life around us.  How do you help your kids make and deal with wishes?  Please let me know in the comments.

    Here is a lovely video clip of third graders responding to a unit around the book, Ava Tree and the Wishes Three by Jeanne Betancourt, and "what kids wish for":

    In closing, I would like to wish all of my cyber friends and followers a very joyous holiday season, with wishes for a happy, healthy, successful 2012.

    2011 was a good year for me professionally - with my book contract and so many new and wonderful friends and followers.  I thank you all for your warm, insightful, friendly comments.

    May 2012 be a year of peace, prosperity and wonderful family time for us all!!

    I just couldn't pick one version - I love them both.



    1. Hi there, I found you VIA
      mad mind Blog Hop
      If you get a Chance, Please come check out my
      blog @
      It's a fairly new blog, and I'd LOVE a new follower!!

    2. good list of questions too! Will make the kids think! I am a new foillower from the hop,,pls follow back if you can

    3. I'm your newest follower from the Tiggerific tues. blog hop. please stop by mine tooo

    4. What a GREAT way to help sink in the concept of "wishes". Stopping by from Hip Homeschool Hop.


    5. So true and such great ways to instill positive and realistic wish lists in our kids :) Following via Monster Hop! Please feel free to follow back :)

    6. I have When You Wish Upon a Star stuck in my brain.

      American Red Cross, plus a lot of local charities get my $$.

      Best wishes to you, Meryl.

      ROG, ABC Wednesday team

    7. Well, I wish you a wonderful Christmas season and a great 2012! I always told my daughters they could write a Christmas Wish List full of everything they really and truly wanted. However, they knew that they would not receive everything because Santa (and then Mom & Dad) had veto power. I also explained to them that some things needed to wait until they were older and that some things were appreciated more the longer they waited. Always a pleasure to come by and see your latest post.

    8. Well for some reason my whole comment went into cyber space so I'll give it another try.
      I can't say it any better than Leslie did. We raised our boys the same way.
      The video clip of the 3rd graders touched me. Its fascinating getting inside of their heads a bit.
      Its always a pleasure visiting your blog and I thank you for sharing your insights with us.
      Have a very Merry Christmas.

    9. Hi, I just found you on the Get Connected Blog Hop! This is such a great post, I really think its important to teach kids to put their wishes in perspective. Another great charity is Operation Homefront, which supports Wounded Warriors and military families, especially at Christmas Time.

      I specialize in Online Personal Training for Moms and blog to help moms everywhere get into the best shape of their lives. My blog is, I hope you get a chance to follow it and that you find it useful!

    10. Great post. When my daughter was growing up, she always wanted to be surprised. She really wasn't very demanding in terms of things she wanted.

      The main thing she wanted that I didn't let her have for many years after her friends had them was a nintendo set. By the time I broke down and let that mesmerizing toy into the house, she never got hooked like I feared she would. I was the one who went through a brief phase of being hooked on trying to make it to the next level. I do think it was good that I didn't let her have it when she was younger because she had friends who were total video game addicts. I think making her wait until she was much older to have it was part of why she didn't get addicted.

      Wishing you and your family a happy Christmas.

    11. wonderful ideas and I know my oldest is trying to instill those values in his boys, but all are a wee bit to young to understand many concepts (the oldest just turned 6). they do go through their old toys and give them to others and are great at sharing. so it is a great start. Merry Christmas & have a wonderful holiday season. Faythe @ GMT~

    12. This is a great post--it's so important to help kids distinguish wants and needs and see where wishes fit in! You have a lot of really helpful tools here to do that--thank you so much for linking up on Teach Me Tuesday at Whole Child Creative Curriculum!! I hope to see you again next week!


    13. Hey! Just found your blog through the Monster Hop! Hope you have a happy holidays and drop on over to my blog and follow back :) Thanks!


    14. I love all the wisdom and resources that you share with us!
      Have a Merry Happy Christmas Holiday!

    15. Great post. New follower from the hop, would love a follow back.

    16. I did something different with my kids, instead of the usual Dear Santa letter, I got them to thank Santa for 3 things. For some, it wasn't easy.

      Merry Christmas.

      Good luck for your book.

    17. Those wishes are precious!
      A writer's mind of a six year old. Have a wonderful holiday!

    18. thanks for joining our snow parade :)

    19. If you ever get a chance, check out the "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" cover by the late Israel "IZ" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole. It always makes me cry!

      Happy WW & Mele Kalikimaka!

      ~ Jordyn from

    20. Thanks for linking up : ) Eva Cassidy's version is my fvorite : )

    21. Hi there,
      I'm your newest GFC follower from Hump Day Blog Hop. Would love a follow back!

    22. Love the charities you picked! Unable to do so this year... but as soon as possible we will try to make a donation! Dealing with Dragons and Bake Sale are going on our Book wishlist!

    23. Love those 3rd graders. Your theme reminded me of the old saying, "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride", so maybe the little girl will not get lasers coming out of her eyes, but I'm putting that one on my list:-) Not that I can think of a use for it but it would look spectacular.
      Anyway back to reality and wishing you and yours a happy holiday.

    24. Love your post. I also support the Make a Wish Foundation each Christmas. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Have a Blessed Christmas

    25. What a nice post. I love the idea of donating and you have some fabulous charities on there! We have donated this year to two of those charities! Thank you also for the book suggestions. This is great. Have a fantastic Christmas!

    26. What a lovely post and a lovely blog! My daughter gave me "wish list" on it and it said that she was wishing for a REAL jet-pack for kids so she could fly. I guess I have to have a talk about that one! I Love love LOVE your charity list. We are in the Air Force and so we sent some Christmas care packages to airmen in Korea. This is very real because the girls have friends who's daddy's will be gone for Christmas. God Bless!

    27. Love this post! Stopping by from the blog hop! I'm a new follower. I'd love for you to stop by my blog and follow back if you like.

      Happy Holidays!!

      Katie @ Glamorous Without the Guilt

    28. Great post! I love that aladdin song!! I was just listening to it with my husband. I'll have to check those book suggestions out. I can't believe there's a read along like that on youtube; how awesome!!

      Of those charities, my favorites are probably St. Judes and Toys for Tots.

      I'm a new follower from the Mingle with Us blog hop. Feel free to come by my blog and if you like, follow back!! :o)

      For Love of Cupcakes

    29. is great to teach your kids about realistic wishes as disappointment comes hard on the heals of those unfulfilled...mix that with still teaching them to dream....know most of those books but not all will chk them out...merry christmas!

    30. This is wonderfully thought out post. Thanks for sharing all of those books. My daughter lives between two houses and has a hard time figuring out why she gets certain things at daddy's house that she doesn't get at mine. I think something like this would be a perfect learning opportunity.

      I am a new follower from the Thursday hop. I hope you have a chance to visit my blog and follow me back at

      I also host a weekend long hop that starts tomorrow. I would love to have you add your link :)


    31. I don't have children to teach about wishes small and great... but as a child I remember what mattered is that adults' promises were kept. I naturally learned that I could not have everything I wished for, but it hurt when parents broke a promise. These children just wish for a decent meal:

      All the best of the season to you!

    32. I beg your forgiveness for my cutting and pasting my comment, but there was no way on Earth I would be able to make it around the whole globe to wish everybody a Merry Christmas otherwise.

      The magical elves that constitute my staff have demonstrated their lack of respect in either not showing up for work at all, or those that have all seem a little worse for wear (if you catch my drift). All they seem to do is sit around smoking cigarettes that, frankly, smell funny. In addition, they play cards and tell dirty jokes rather than do their jobs! Consequently, the reindeer are all filthy and out of shape.

      I now have my two sons pulling the sleigh, but they are struggling. I’ve been told that it’s a big ask for a three and five year old, but I made it this far with a couple of mangy chooks, an arthritic wallaby and three peculiar wombats! Unfortunately, we lost all bar one wombat over Pittsburgh (and the sole survivor is exhibiting clear signs of PTSD).

      Anyway, all the way down here at the bottom of the world (A.K.A. Tasmania), and from myself, Jen, Henry and Ezra, please have a Merry Christmas/Winter Solstice/Hanukkah/Festivus/Ashura and a happy New Year!

      I hope that all of your holiday photos turn out to be triumphs, your stocking is stuffed full of lots of tasty treats and not coal and that all your pumpkin pies/ prawn cocktails/ currywurst are all as tasty as can be!

    33. Great post, lots of great links and info! Thanks for sharing it at BTT!

    34. Wonderful post. Teaching kids to set goals both large and small and then how to work toward them is truly one of the greatest gifts of all.

      Happy TT and happy holidays!!

    35. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog. I'm a teacher and will be sure to check in for great ideas! I'm a new follower!

    36. I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.

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      *. +. * ),” ( . * . + * . +. + . * .+ . * + . * . * . * .


      ……… /……\\…………_/\_

      …….. /……..\\………*>,”<

      ……. /_____\\\……*Silent Night,

      …. {`______`}\\….* , + * Star Above,



      …{………u….`-”}\\\..+ *.*.+.*.+ Blessed Gifts

      … {………………}\…..*,+*.._/\_ * + . of hope

      …. /{…………..}\\………*,..>,”< + * *+and love,

      … /….”…………”…\\…*……..*

      .. /_/……`”`…..\\\\_\\..* + ., * * , +*

      ..{__}##{ ]##{__}\

      ..(_/\\\\\\\|\\\\\_/\\_)\..Have a Joyous Christmas Season!

      …….|___|___|\\……..+ * , . * ** * , . * +




      …………..MERRY CHRISTMAS……………..

    37. This is truly a wonderful and thoughtful post for parents and grandparents. Times today make it harder to provide as many gifts as maybe we once could, but at the same time this is a gift of learning for us all. Maybe we were a little crazy with the giving and we are learning to give more to those in need because we are realizing that they need us even more.

      That is a nice list for us to have and thank you ever so much for sharing it with us all.

      Also thanks again for joining us in this weeks Theme Thursday and I am looking forward to seeing what you write for next weeks theme. I think it is one you will like.

      Merry Christmas.

      God bless.

    38. At 4.5 and just under 2 my kids are still young enough that they didn't wish for a lot of (or particular) Christmas presents this year. I'm sure that will come in the future. I hope to be able to teach them that Christmas is a season of giving, and that we can use this time to bless the lives of others. Finances are still tight for us as we have all of my husband's PhD student loans to repay, but we feel so blessed for the job that he has now and our new financial security that we chose a name from the angel tree at church. We were able to teach our son by example about the importance of giving and helping others.
      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

      Thanks so much for joining Feed Me Friday again! Have a wonderful day.