between black friday sales + shopping-mall-santas, it can be pretty easy to lose sight of the real Reason for the season come december 1st. even more so for kids, who are sweet, but often notoriously self-centered. that’s why we’ve come up with a challenge for you. why not make the holiday season about more than just gifts this year? how about shifting the focus back to why we celebrate this season of joy + peace in the first place? are you in?? good! here are 4 things you can do with your kids to lead by example this Christmas and return this happy holiday back to its blessed roots.
[teach them gratitude journaling]
what better time of year to home in on gratitude for the blessings we already have in life, than the season of Christmas shopping?? kids (and adults) who practice gratitude are kinder and more generous, eat healthier, sleep better, and cope with stress more effectively. and that’s all year round. at Christmastime, in particular, it encourages kids to focus on all the things they have to be grateful for that you can’t wrap up and stick beneath the tree - their health, their friends, their family. this means they’re much less likely to invest too much thought into what they’ll be receiving on Christmas morning and much more likely to appreciate the things they do receive. so invest in a gratitude journal created just for kids (and one for you too!) so you can start gratitude-ing together!
[fill the month with good deeds]
sit down with the kids and brainstorm ideas for all the good deeds you can do together as a family. volunteer at a homeless shelter, take the kids to deliver pizza to the local fire station, gift the school janitor or lunch lady - those who don’t often receive gifts from their students at the holidays - with a little surprise present. keep as much of the focus as you can on doing for others, rather than just what they can receive with Christmas lists and holiday parties. by doing this, you can train your children to default to first thinking about opportunities to serve their community + love others. and when they learn this concept early on, it’s much more likely to become a lifelong habit. plus, it feels pretty darn good! by asking a simple question each day like "what's one good deed you did today?" it sparks positive conversation - and might just shift their 'tude.
[start a santa gift exchange]
of course, it goes without saying that donating new toys to organizations like toys for tots is a fantastic way to give back during the holidays, but why not go a step further? when it actually comes time for the gift-receiving portion of Christmas, use it as an opportunity to redirect the attention to the giving spirit of the holiday season by instituting a gift exchange policy. give each child a large bag to fill with gently used toys they’ve outgrown or don’t often use and leave it under the tree on Christmas eve. when santa comes, he’ll take the toys to donate to less fortunate children and leave behind a few new ones in their place. this ensures that even as your children are brimming with excitement over the prospect of receiving gifts, they’re still thinking about how they can serve others in the process.
[create traditions that make memories]
got good tips for keeping your kids in tune with the Reason for the season? share in the comments below...ho, ho ho!!!
this one sounds kind of obvious - or perhaps not so obvious as it pertains to keeping your kids focused on the Reason for the season rather than just gifts. but when you place the highest importance on different experiences and traditions you can create for your children around the holidays, you’ll be surprised how little the gifts even matter. instead, it’s the positive association they’ll have between Christmas and plenty of cherished family time that they’ll come to look forward to each december. so whether it’s an annual tree-cutting or a cookie-baking + hot-cocoa-making marathon each and every Christmas eve, start some traditions your kids will always remember.