-Keep it Simple
It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the holiday season. In every store we shop in, on the radio and on TV we are bombarded with product placement. There are millions of things to buy, to decorate our home, give to one another and get[ for ourselves.
-Fancy it up!
If your normal tradition is to stay in pajamas all day, try something new. Have everyone dress in their fanciest clothes they have. Set up a tea party with your Christmas meal. Give the space an 1870’s feel. When we break out of our routines it opens up a space to have a lot of fun with new concepts. Kids like dressing up too, so if you plan it right you can catch the Halloween sales and get feather boas and other props to make your dress up feel more real.
Make it about Family
We talk about the holidays being about family. What traditions have you set up that honor one another? How do you show appreciation for each other? Do you know what everyone is good at? Let those skills and talents shine for Christmas. Perhaps one of the kids is great at baking; let them make a dish for your Christmas meal. Got an eye for decorating? Let someone be the coordinator of decorations. There are many ways we can show each other that they matter and are valued. This is a time for recognizing each person’s part in the home and family. Let one another shine and share your talents with each other.
-Involve the kids
Kids LOVE Christmas! I have always felt that Christmas is a holiday for children. There are so many ways we can make this special time even more fun for them. Here are a few ideas that you might check out and explore to make your celebrations fun and exciting for the whole family.
Write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it in a hat (or stocking!) Let every family member pull one name. Usually you would make a gift for that person; instead, what if you played the game like this? Whoever’s name you drew, you got to do something special for that person, pass on a kindness. Do a load of dishes for mom when she works late. Make dad lunch one day and clean up afterwards. Mom, make your kiddos a super duper cup of cocoa and cookies or go in and clean up their entire room one day when they are at school! There is no limit to the list of kindnesses we can do for one another. It helps to create a bond between our loved ones when we know what they like. This encourages closeness and thoughtfulness during the season of giving and steers our consciousness away from commercialism and back to the true spirit of Christmas. Maybe you know people outside the family and want to put their names in the hat instead. You can really get creative with this concept and make it your own.
CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE!
Spring Cleaning can happen more than once a year. As new things come in, some of the old things get cycled out. Everyone in the house can choose a belonging that they no longer need, or something that has meaning to them that they are ready to part with, it could be a stuffed animal or maybe a tea cup that used to be a favorite, perhaps even a blanket. Make a gift basket with all of these donated items and gift it to a complete stranger. This kind of giving helps children recognize that the world extends beyond their immediate families and circle of friends and brings awareness to a larger worldview.
I heard about this recently and I thought it would be a valuable addition to this article. The homeless backpack is becoming a popular act of kindness in large cities. This activity is good for a large group of people to work on together or a family can pull together for it as well. Buy a backpack. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but mid-size. Go to your local stores (Dollar Stores are good) and ask if they would donate an item or 2 to the Homeless backpack. Flashlights, batteries, small blankets, non-perishable food items and anything else you can think of that someone could use. Fill the backpack and keep it in your car so that when you come across someone in need you can pass the backpack out the window to the unsuspecting person. I really like this idea and will be doing this with my children several times throughout the year. Go over to our GIFTS PAGE and STOCKING STUFFERS for ideas.
Do you have a favorite clerk, teller at the bank, or a teacher that goes above and beyond? Get your kids involved by setting up a (or several) gift bags with hot cocoa, a tea cup and maybe some homemade goodies. Write a small and simple message of thanks for their contribution to the community and present the gift to your selected individual or business you want to recognize. Chances are they have no idea they have such an impact on your lives. This teaches children the value of the people in the world around us. People in positions of service rarely see the gratitude of customers that come through their lines. They hear the complaints of how long it takes and all the problems that add up as customers are in hurry to get from point of A to point B, so spend a moment to share a kindness with these people in positions of service to us. They deserve to be recognized. And as we know, a little gratitude goes a long way.
I am focusing on donating and kindness that extend outside the family because community service has dwindled in importance on a larger scale, so getting our children to bolster their awareness on the grander scope of people will make them happier, more grateful human beings. When we extend a hand to others it feels good, it sets up a foundation of kindness and our kids get to be involved in spreading the good cheer to people they may have never even considered otherwise. Chances are, they will find other ways throughout the year in “pay it forward” practices that will reverberate throughout the world. Our tiny ripples can create powerful waves when we teach compassion, empathy and kindness to the next generation.
I hope you celebrations are merry this year! Whatever you decide to do to express your Christmas spirit may it be filled with the blessings and wonder that this season evokes.