Teaching Gratitude to Your Kids During the Greedy Season
Updated: Feb 6
Tis’ the season for greediness? The holiday season is a lovely time to gather friends and family for quality time, it's such a magical time with the mistletoe and eggnog but it is also a time where greed can overshadow the meaning of Christmas. As adults it may be easier to see where you are becoming greedy or where you are valuing materialistic items over friends and family; however, for our children, it can be impossible for them to recognize this. The bright and enticing Christmas commercials showing our children the latest and greatest new toy is a brilliant marketing ploy. The Christmas lists seem to get longer and more expensive, how do we teach gratitude versus greediness of presents during the holiday season?
Christmas Gift Donation
I remember as a child my parents would have my siblings and I each pick a name from the angel Christmas tree at our church, the tree was decorated with paper angel cutouts that had a child's age and interests on it. We would go shopping for the angel and the church would then specifically donate the gift to that child. I remember feeling so excited to give a gift to someone who needed it, even when I had no clue who the child was. During the shopping trip, my parents explained why we give back to those in our community who need and deserve to get a gift during the holiday season. Check and see if your local church (even if you are not affiliated to one) or community center participated in donations like this. It is so important to give back to those in the community and these are great ways to get your children involved in giving back.
The Meaning of Christmas
In today’s age, our children have unlimited access to the media and the dangerous consumerism that accompanies it. With the amount of time the younger generation now spends in front of screens, it's too easy for children to associate Christmas with the overindulgence of presents - our TV's, phones and everything around them are consistently showing it. It is our job as parents to sit down and talk with them about what Christmas and the holiday season means. Focus on what your family values during the holidays and share that with them, we often overlook how important it is to have these conversations. It can be easy to forget during the hustle and bustle of the holidays but it is vital nonetheless to reach out and tell them in detail why the season is about more than presents and Santa Clause.
Food Bank and Donation Centers
Actions speak louder than words, while it is crucial to talk to your children and discuss the meaning of generosity it is even more important to show them what it can look like to be generous. Volunteering to work for food banks and donation centers are a great way to get the whole family involved in giving back when children can physically see and help out those in need it makes for a more impactful lesson. Even if you cannot find the time to volunteer and alternative is to have your child help out while collecting items around the house to donate to.
Quality Time of Family Versus Presents
As children, I am sure we can all remember a time when we whined about being dragged to a family member's house during the holidays. I never understood why we had to go or why I couldn't play with my new toys on Christmas Day. It wasn't until I was older that I began to appreciate spending time with family that I don't get to spend time with the other 11 months out of the year. Teaching the value of family time over presents is an important lesson to instill during the holiday season.
Writing Thank You Cards
Thank you cards are a great way to teach gratefulness to your young ones. If it's to their grandparents, aunts or uncles, family friends, or Santa Clause it is a way to show that no matter the present you want to express to someone that you are grateful that they thought of you. Setting aside a day, ideally, after Christmas, before your family gets busy again, learn how to write thank you cards to the people that helped make the holidays special.
The holidays are more than just Santa Claus and presents - our kids should learn this early on in life. Taking time to teach small lessons to our children will appreciate the holidays just a little more, and maybe you too will feel the generosity of the season once again.