It’s really easy for children to get caught up in the commercial aspect of Christmas – and sometimes for us as adults too. Here are some ideas for building holiday spirit with your family while fostering a love of giving – not just shopping & receiving.
#1: Start a Giving Advent Calendar
I love this idea of adding to a basket each day. You could do this with food items, or you could also use it as a way to declutter your kiddos’ stash of toys before they get a bunch of new stuff.
#2: Start an ornament tradition
You could buy ornaments, but it’s so much more fun and meaningful to see your child’s skills develop over the years. Make a new ornament each year and date it – and then reminisce each year as you decorate the tree.
#3: Get into the kitchen
One of my favourite things to do is cook and bake with my kiddos. The life skills they can learn are practically limitless (everything from math to taking turns to fine motor skills) and it even helps with their willingness to try new foods. Plus, making some holiday baking to give as gifts puts the focus on the gift of time and effort rather than something store-bought. Even if you’re not a baker, there’s all kinds of easy recipes that small kiddos can handle. Here’s a really simple recipe to get started:
#4: Get them making their own gifts
When my husband was a kid, his mom had him and his siblings choose a different project every year to make for their grandmother and great aunts as a gift. One of the main reasons that I started running Santa’s Workshop is to make sure that kids have the opportunity to do the same for their parents – not every kid has another crafty adult in their life that can help them with this stuff.
#5: Practice the art of giving
There are lots of ways that you can help your kids to think about others less fortunate during the holidays – choose whatever suits your family’s traditions and values best. One of my favourites is choosing an Angel Tree card for a child close to my child’s age and then having them take the lead in choosing an appropriate gift – this helps them to practice empathy and to think about what someone else might like to receive. You can find out details about the Angel Tree program in Lanark County, and where to get an Angel Tree card, here.
#6: Get out and do stuff!
If your kids sitting at home watching TV for most of December it’s a no-brainer that they’re going to be more likely to have the gimmies from watching all those tantalizing commercials. But if you’re out and about enjoying each other’s company, then it’s a lot easier to focus on other aspects of the season. Not sure what to do? Check out the Christmas Activity Calendar I made – it’s all local stuff, and all kid friendly!