November 1, 2013

The Two Things I want to Teach My Kids about the Holidays

In case you haven’t noticed, somehow we have managed to slip right into the month of November, meaning that Thanskgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day will all be upon us in no time. While the holidays mean a lot of different things to many different people, for young children, the holidays are a time of excitement because they mean less time in school, gifts and lots of time spent playing with friends.

While all of the above things are nice and part of the holiday festivities, there are several other things that, I believe, should be associated with the holidays. Below are two things that I want to teach my young children about the holidays in hopes that these “lessons” follow them throughout their young lives and into adulthood. They are:   
  1. A Love for Giving: One of the most common things that children get asked every year around this time by their family and friends is for a list of the things they want for Christmas. While receiving gifts is part of the excitement for young children, I want my children to experience the joy of giving to those less fortunate than themselves. There are so many families out there who are in the midst of hard times around the holidays who don’t have enough money to make ends meet, let alone enough to think about buying Christmas gifts for each other. Therefore, every year I make a point to pick one of those angels off the tree at the store and purchase a few gifts for him/her. I want my children to learn that giving is more important than receiving at Christmastime and this is one of the ways that I can do that.
  2. Gifts are not the Important Thing: Again, I know that children look forward to Christmas morning when they get to run in and open up a pile of presents left for them under the tree. However, I don’t want my children to get in their heads that opening presents is what Christmas is all about. The focus around the holidays should be more about getting to see and spend time with loved ones and the “Christmas Spirit” of helping those in need. While gifts are nice, I don’t want my children to expect them because when kids expect things, they begin to feel entitled. I want my children to appreciate the gifts they get as well as the family and friends they get to spend additional time with during this time of year.
While I love the holidays and all of the festivities that come along with them, it is my hope that I can teach my children the deeper lessons that the season brings. What about you? What are the things that you hope your children learn from the holidays? How do you plan on teaching them these things?

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