The Christmas Holidays…a time that should be filled with peace, carols, family, and friends. Reality check…the Holidays, a time that is filled with dreams of the Nintendo DS, the American Girl dolls, and the new and improved TMX Elmo. It is nearly impossible to not get caught up in the commercial craze that has overtaken our society. But here are a few ideas that I’ve learned from some amazing friends along the way…ideas that take our children’s minds off all the things they might be getting, to all the things they are giving and why we celebrate Christmas at all.
1. Spend the day of Christmas Eve making treats with your children. Make simple things such as rice crispy treats, fudge, and cookies. Wrap the treats up on some festive paper plates, wrapped with the new holiday saran wrap. Take a dozen or so plates, pile the kids in the car, and have them each pick a few friends and neighbors they’d like to surprise this Christmas. Spend that evening having your kids drop the plates off at the homes of their choosing, knock on the door or ring the doorbell and run like mad. They jump in your hidden car and off you go…you definitely don’t want to get caught. That is part of the fun for the kids. Plus, it teaches them that they don’t always have to be recognized for doing good things for others. They will have fun and feel good about what they’ve done.
2. Spend Christmas Eve, or the lunch during Christmas Day, with your family at a shelter that serves food to the homeless. This is such a gratifying and humbling experience. This will help the kids realize just how fortunate they are and soften their hearts to those less fortunate. They can see the smiles on the faces of those they are helping during the giving season and really feel the warmth of the holidays.
3. Talk with your children about what the Holidays really mean. Tell them that some of the money you were going to use for their presents will be used for a child less fortunate. Take them to an Angel Tree or Toys for Tots and let them pick a gift for another child. Sometimes these events actually have names and ages of children in need so you can better personalize the gift, and personalize the child in need to your own children. Churches often have anonymous programs like this as well.
4. Every Christmas morning before we opened presents, my family would read the story of the birth of Christ. We would each take turns. This would help us remember what we are really celebrating and the meaning behind it all.
I hope this helps add a little more spirit of giving and peace in the Christmas Holidays, while bringing your family closer together.