The Christmas season is a magical time for me and my family but it also can be a stressful time. I’m always amazed at the time we all spend shopping for gifts, cleaning our homes, wrapping all the surprises, putting together our family feasts, preparing for guests, and all the general running about we must do to make it a magical time for our families and friends -so much to do and so little time to do it all. For children, this time is filled with the parties, guests, and late nights but also the excitement of Santa arriving laden with gifts.
The holidays are also dripping with the expectations of children and what they hope to receive. I found one way to make sure our children truly appreciate this time of year, and the sentiment behind it, is to get them involved in giving back to the community.
With commercials aimed at convincing children that the latest and greatest video games, clothes and iPhones are most important, now is the time to reign in their “wants.” There are many volunteer opportunities at this time of year as well as a variety of ways to celebrate the spirit of the season with our kids. Some of my most fond holiday memories center on working with my children when giving back to our community. Below are a few ideas to get you started. And if you think of another great giving at the holidays idea to do with your children, please share it with me and next year we’ll make the list even bigger!
- Have children box up toys they no longer play with to donate to a local thrift store.
- Plan an afternoon to make Christmas cookies and treats. Box them up with festive ribbons and bow along with a handmade holiday card and have the kids deliver them to neighbors or friends. You’d be surprised how that can brighten someone’s day.
- Donate a few hours of your time with your kids at the local food bank. This is a great opportunity to bring awareness that not only do some children not get a lot of gifts, but barely have enough food.
- Focus on the family traditions such as decorating the tree, having relatives for dinner, and playing games in the afternoon. Time is so much more precious than things.
- Encourage children to make gifts for family members to recognize the hard work that goes in to giving.
- Set a limit to the number of gifts each child receives.
- Have children use their own money to buy gifts for others. Often you can build a connection between allowance learned and what items cost to purchase.
These are just a few ways children can come to appreciate the holidays for more than just the gifts they receive. Do you have personal traditions in your family to keep children – young and old – grounded during the season? Let me know what they are in the comments section!
Here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas and a most joyous holiday season!