Getting the Most Out of Every Holiday Season
With the holiday of giving just around the corner, it’s important for your children to understand just what the holidays mean. Your children should understand that the holiday is more than the gifts, the food, and the showiness. The holiday and what it should encompass means so much more. What do you want your children to know about the holiday? What do you want them to think is important? How do you want to celebrate with your family now and in the future? All of these are important questions to consider as the holiday gets closer. Here’s some important steps to take to make sure your family gets the most out of every holiday season.
Create family traditions. Family is a huge part of what makes the holidays so special. Teach your children the family traditions that you celebrated as a child so that they can continue the tradition as they get older. Children will appreciate these traditions and see how they create memories and connections with family. As the years go on, don’t be afraid to create new family traditions. If there is a certain tradition that your children are interested in starting, allow them to do so. They need to know that change is okay and that their ideas are appreciated.
Teach the importance of giving. While the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and giving, it sometimes can turn into something different. Sometimes all of the gifts, material items, and holiday parties can take over the true meaning of the holidays. Make sure you teach your children the importance of giving and helping others who are in need. You can teach this by getting your whole family involved in a charity or an organization’s event. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a community holiday dinner. Donate toys to a charity during the holidays. Do whatever you can to make your children aware that there are others who are not as fortunate as they are, and teach them to truly appreciate what they have.
Teach the importance of the holiday. Make sure your children understand the holiday; whichever holiday you celebrate. They need to understand the story behind the holiday; why did the holiday come to be what it is. It’s also important to let your children hear what the holiday means to others. It can be fun to share stories during the holidays amongst family members. What do aunts, uncles, and grandmas remember about the holidays when they were children? How did they celebrate, and why is the holiday important to them? Always allow your children to see that even though others celebrate the same holiday, there are other perspectives, opinions, and experiences.
Accept the way others celebrate. Make children aware that people celebrate different holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Each has their own way of celebrating and their own unique traditions, and this is okay. The main lesson to teach here is acceptance. Everyone has their own traditions and no tradition is better than another.
Give gifts with meaning. As mentioned above, sometimes the holiday season becomes all about material items. Some kids’ christmas lists get longer and longer each year, and that’s what the holiday starts to become about. Rather than giving gifts and toys that have no meaning, give some gifts that actually have a deeper meaning. Teach your children that gifts don’t have to be bought in a store. Take the time before the holidays and make homemade gifts with your children like photo albums, scrapbooks, artwork, or videos. You can also teach children to give more of an “experience” gift. This gift would be giving someone time with you or giving someone something you will do for them like cook dinner, wash their car, or take them to a movie. These gifts can end up being a lot more meaningful than the material gifts.
Be a good holiday role model. To some, the holidays have become less cheery and bright, and more stressful and chaotic. Be a good role model for your child and show them that the holiday is not about the crazy shopping sprees and the stressful preparation for holiday parties. The holidays are about enjoying the company of family and friends and participating in the spirit of giving.
When your children get older and look back on holidays with their family, what do you want them to remember? A house of stress and chaos or a house of happiness and fun. Make sure you teach your children the things that you believe are important about the holiday, while also showing acceptance of the holiday traditions of others.