Christmas can be a stressful time for anybody. Shopping for gifts, cleaning your home, preparing for guests. There is always 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. One way to make sure your 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 many ways to celebrate the spirit of the season with your 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 earned 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 world-class day and a very merry holiday season!