The Christmas season is one of my most favorite times of the year. Why? I love shopping for others. In fact, when my husband and I first got married, my husband got irritated with me because he thought I bought gifts for too many people. In his mind, we only had to buy gifts for our immediate family members and that was it. Well, it’s not that I love spending money or that I feel like I HAVE to get gifts for all of my family, friends and co-workers…it’s just something I like to do.
To me, that is what the spirit of Christmas is all about. It’s not about the things I think I need, but it’s about going out and looking for that special gift for the people I hold dearest. Thankfully, my husband has gotten a lot better about this over the past decade. Five years ago, we had our first child and in the last few years (since he’s been old enough to understand), both my husband and I have worked hard to show him what the spirit of Christmas is all about. If you’re wondering how you can help teach your young children what Christmas is all about, consider implementing some (or all) of the following ideas.
1. Talk about Santa, but keep the focus on giving. Most parents don’t want to take the magic out of Christmas for their kids and choose to incorporate Santa into their holiday traditions. I’m not any different. I remember believing in Santa and how exciting it made Christmas Eve, wondering if I would be up when he arrived or not. I want the same for my son, however, I don’t want him to only think about the things HE wants for Christmas. Therefore, my husband and I do talk about Santa (and take him to visit Santa too), but we always keep the emphasis on what Santa does…he gives to others because he gets great joy in bringing happiness to others.
2. Make a shopping list for others. Instead of focusing so much time and attention on writing a letter to Santa outlining all of the things our son wants for the holidays, we help him create a list of ideas for the types of gifts he can get other people. Since our son is only five, we keep the list pretty short: mommy, daddy, baby brother and grandparents.
3. Take him/her shopping. Next, take your little one shopping so he/she can pick out the gifts for the people on his/her shopping list. And, don’t worry if your child starts asking for toys for him/herself…mine does it on every trip. However, when we are shopping for others at Christmas, I do not let him get anything for himself. I always remind him that we are shopping for someone else and we need to think about what that person would like.
Believe it or not, those three little things have done a lot to teach my son what the real spirit of Christmas is about. He actually enjoys going to the store and picking out gifts for his family members. One of his favorite things to pick out is jewelry for his grandmothers…I just know that his future wife will love this trait! So, if you’re looking to help teach your little ones about what Christmas is all about, consider trying the ideas listed above.