parents and kids Christmastimeby Christina Lorenzen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

What should be a time of family togetherness and  goodwill is also a stressful time for many families. The spirit of Christmas is often lost in the panic of buying just the right gift and getting everything on the Christmas list.

The bombardment by the media of the latest and greatest “must haves” has the spirit and simplicity of Christmas snowed in and parents frantically trying to afford a Merry Christmas. For the many parents who have grown weary of the materialism and expense of today’s
Christmas, there is hope.

Teaching your children the true meaning of Christmas can be a simple

task that will be passed down to generations to come. Many people are longing for the “good old
days” when Christmas meant sharing a meal with family and friends and the exchange of a
“token” of affection. Remember the days of exchanging homemade gifts? Remember what it felt
like to put your heart and soul and sweat into something that truly held meaning? It seems that
parents today are fretting over how they will meet the demands of their children, often going into
debt to do so. Gone are the days of balls and bats and baby dolls. MP3s, XBOXs, PlayStations,
Ipods and more top many children’s Christmas lists, putting parents in a state of panic as they
scramble to afford their children’s desires.

Origin of Christmas

Surprisingly, one of the first steps parents can take is to discuss the origins of the holiday. It’s
important that your child know how the holiday came to be and why it’s celebrated. Planning
appropriate activities will also help children to understand the meaning of the holiday.

Reading an age appropriate book is an easy and pleasurable way to start.

Most children, with the  exception perhaps of teens, will enjoy spending an evening being read to. Taking your child to church during the holiday season will let them see the meaning of the holiday as they listen to a sermon.

When it comes to getting away from the materialism of Christmas…

“De-hyping” and simplifying can be done with a little bit of effort. Encourage your child to look beyond their own Christmas wishes and have them choose a toy to donate to a local shelter, orphanage or charity.

Donate and deliver a holiday meal to the local food bank. In keeping with the “simple” spirit of Christmas, let family members know what your intentions for gift giving are and set limits on gifts. You might want to let family members make a donation to a charily in our child’s name. This is a great way of sharing the feeling you get from giving.

Homemade Gifts

Another fun activity is to let your child make holiday gifts and/or cards for family and friends.
This is a creative and fun way of teaching responsible and positive gift giving. The only way to
handle the bombardment of “must haves” that the television constantly subjects your child to is
to de-emphasize it. Few Christmas programs today have anything to do with the true meaning of
the holiday. Be selective about what your family watches and turn off the commercials that
compete for your child’s values.

Family Traditions

Emphasizing family, tradition and togetherness will help you teach your child what Christmas
really means. Most importantly, don’t forget to let your child know that the true spirit of
Christmas doesn’t happen once a year. Spreading joy, love and charity is something that should
be done throughout the year.

Christine Lorenzen

Christina Lorenzen specializes in parenting and health issues. In addition to this column, she is also a columnist for Connecting Home magazine.
https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2013/12/families-christmas.jpghttps://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2013/12/families-christmas-150x150.jpgChristine LorenzenAges and StagesAges and Stages,Emotional and Social Well-being,Parentingby Christina Lorenzen It's the most wonderful time of the year. What should be a time of family togetherness and  goodwill is also a stressful time for many families. The spirit of Christmas is often lost in the panic of buying just the right gift and getting everything on the Christmas list.The...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids