Less than 24 hours after handing out the last of the Halloween candy I saw an add on TV for Black Friday deals. I thought, Noooooooo! I haven’t even digested all the Halloween candy I ate and we are already talking about Christmas.
From a business prospective, I get the commercialization of Christmas. In my 20s I worked at a bakery and the Christmas season really helped their bottom line. But what about the “reason for the season.” I know it sounds cliche. With all the commercialization that comes with Christmas it becomes really easy to forget why we celebrate Christmas. To make Christmas less commercialized and more meaningful here’s some suggestions.
Don’t Give Your Children Presents. Give Them….
I know it sounds so un-christmas-like to not give presents to your children on Christmas Day. It actually sounds kind of mean. But I would love it if Christmas, for children (and adults), was less about receiving Christmas presents and more about giving gifts. So how do we teach and encourage our children to think this way when it comes to Christmas?
Have A Family Discussion About Gift Giving
Talk with your children about what Christmas is all about. I do admit that not giving your children presents is a bit extreme, so I don’t think you should suggest this in your discussion. I do think your discussion should be about gift giving. Talk to them about giving gifts to their siblings. If you read that carefully I said gifts as in not just one gift. During the Christmas season encourage your children to think of things they can do to make their siblings smile. It can be as simple as being nice. In this way they are giving each other gifts through out the Christmas season.
Along with this have your children write a short letter about their interests and then have each child exchange their letters with another sibling. With the letters, challenge each child to think of what they can give their sibling based on what the letter says. Doing this will really challenge your child to think hard about what they what gift they want to give.
If you have young children you may want to help them earn money to pay for the presents they’ll be giving their siblings by paying them for doing small jobs around the house. Doing this helps each child to make a sacrifice by working hard to earn some money to purchase a gift. After they purchase the gift they plan to give, help them wrap it and put it under the Christmas tree.
Serve as A Family… Make It A Family Tradition
Volunteer as a family to go out and serve others. This can be as simple as going Christmas caroling. It can also be going to a soup kitchen to serve others who are less fortunate. Whatever serves you choose to do together as a family, I suggest to make it a Christmas-Family tradition. Family traditions have a binding effect on a family. Not only this, it creates family memories that will be talked about as something that defines your family.
To make this successful, have a discussion with your family about what they would like to do for Christmas servers. Having a list of serves opportunities they can choose from will help your children decide what they want to do. After providing serves as a family, don’t forget to talk as a family about the experience. Doing these things will help solidify your Christmas serves as a tradition.
One caveat to all this is that your children may push back on the idea to serve as a family. If that’s the case then your family is normal. Don’t get too discourage. What’s important is to be consistent with this each year and as your children grow and mature they’ll see the joy that serves bring to others and to themselves.