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The joy of a simple Christmas is something that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Many of us dislike all of the commercialism that surrounds the holidays. It makes us lose sight of what the holidays are all about.
And it seems to just get worse every year.
The never-ending barrage of commercials (especially the ones aimed at our littles).
The gift lists that become longer and more expensive each year.
The fact that Christmas decorations are sometimes out before Halloween and Christmas music in the stores and on the radio before Thanksgiving.
The list could go on and on.
Yet, despite our frustration with the Christmas busy-ness, we continue to spend our holiday season rushing from store to store and event to event.
Sure, we object, but we are out there buying and getting frazzled just like everyone else.
Or we commit to work parties and other gatherings that we don’t really care about instead of enjoying quiet times at home with our families.
If we are going to be serious about the importance of Christmas in our life, we need to start by creating family traditions that are about more than presents and busy-ness.
It’s time for us to take a step back and think about what we need to change to enjoy the true essence of Christmas and share that with our children.
We have to stop complaining (or at least complain a little less) and start changing the vibe in our homes.
Because we have to create a Christmas from the heart of the home.
What holiday traditions do we want our children to remember?
Do we value activities that don’t involve receiving a present during the holiday season?
What do we hope they learn about the value of giving rather than receiving?
Do we enjoy spending time with our family away from the screens and distractions that are so easy to find this time of year?
Kids learn what they live and we teach children what we value by how we spend our time and how we create joy during this special season.
Here are some ways you can teach your children about the joy of a slow and simple Christmas
The holidays can be busy times, but with some planning and care we can make this Christmas and our future Christmases more peaceful, calm, and joyful.
And that’s part of the true meaning of Christmas.
Emphasize Unity and Peace Over Possessions
Peace on earth, goodwill to men – that’s what the holidays are really about, right?
When we get swept up in commercialism we lose this.
We might even be less kind than usual because we’re so frazzled.
Instead of being all about Christmas giving it becomes a ‘me, me, me’ holiday.
I think we’ve all seen or known a child (or adult!) who only cared about what they were getting.
Helping kids see the joy and value of kindness, understanding, and generosity can be a challenge during this season, but there are also many opportunities if we look for them!
First, we have to start with ourselves and our families.
What can we do to show some peace and goodwill to those closest to us?
Generosity has to start at home (and this isn’t just about Christmas, but all through the year!).
One way is to show the people you love some grace at this time, and do a few things to make their load a little lighter.
It can be as simple as raking leaves as a family, picking up the playroom together, or helping make dinner.
Or create a secret Santa game where family members do nice things for each other without saying anything.
Another is to work together on a charitable cause – local giving trees are a great option or you can donate some new or gently used toys to organizations in your community that help the less fortunate.
Visiting nursing homes can be a nice holiday tradition that spreads joy and the spirit of Christmas as well.
These are a few ways for kids to start understanding that helping others is a way to make the holidays special that doesn’t involve gifts.
Emphasize working together and unity over possessions during the holidays and you may find that some of it sticks throughout the year!
Time to bond
If you find that the rush of the year has left you feeling disconnected, the holidays are a wonderful time to get family life back on track.
Emphasize family traditions and togetherness during the holidays this year.
Letting each person contribute with either a new idea for a tradition, helping with a favorite recipe, or even just decorating together can create joyful memories and strong family bonding.
Don’t forget to have quiet times where your family can just be together.
It’s in these quiet times that walls come down and we can talk about important (and not so important) things.
Kids will start to realize that family is at the heart of Christmas – and this is what makes the holiday special.
The simple things are the best
Less is more!
Less stuff, less busy, less comparison.
Some of the most joyful experiences in life aren’t complex.
Often these ‘little things‘ are the fondest memories and what our kids will grow up cherishing about holidays past.
In 20 years will they remember that gift that was thrown in the corner after a week?
Or that toy that broke a month later?
Honestly, maybe – maybe not.
But they will remember if they felt loved and cherished.
They will remember the joy of the simple things.
It could be enjoying a laugh with each other over a mug of hot cocoa in the evening.
Or wrapping gifts together.
It could be the wonder of Christmas lights on a family drive at night.
It could be going for a walk in the snow with all the people you love.
Building a snowman together could be some fun times.
It is the little experiences in life that make a huge impact on all of us. These are the memories that our kids will cherish through the years.
Life is a magical experience that we enjoy so much more when we share it with those we love.
Learning the simple joy and heart of the holidays is a valuable lesson that all of our children deserve. We need to appreciate the people and experiences we love above any material presents.
Spend time with your children and they will learn how to appreciate the true joy of the holidays.