It’s tough being a parent, especially at Christmas. You know your child doesn’t need another gadget or toy to distract them, yet you love seeing the joy on their faces as they open their gifts on Christmas morning. You may struggle with the materialism of it all, knowing there’s more to the holidays than what you place under the tree.
So how do you instill the deeper meaning of Christmas in your family so your children’s Christmas memories will be filled with joy instead of "material stuff?"
1. Keep money out of the equation and begin a tradition that is yours. Kids love doing projects with their parents and siblings. This includes little things, such as stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree or making snacks for the birds over the winter. There are many ideas on Pinterest. Whether it’s holiday baking or learning to knit, these projects are meaningful and bring joy.
2. Host a holiday get-together that is your family’s signature. This year, it may be a Zoom get-together with friends and family for hot chocolate or dinner. This teaches your children that traditions don’t end with difficult situations. It also shows them how creative we can be when we still want to prioritize the importance of family and friends.
3. Plan holiday events together, even if virtually. Sit down with your children and plan holiday events, such as a movie night. Let them help decide and plan the event.
4. Family conversations are especially important. Children love having an opinion and being able to share their thoughts with their parents. Keep the gadgets off and talk to your kids about what’s going on or what has been special this year. Share favorite holiday memories together over hot chocolate and a cozy fire.
5. Treasure your home. You don’t need the biggest or best house to make it magical during the holiday season. Take one night each week and turn it into a treasured holiday experience. Dimming lights, lighting candles, putting on music, and serving a special dessert can make the dinner special. The best holiday memories happen with simple rituals at home with mom and dad. Never underestimate the treasures your children remember from their home.
One of my children’s favorite holiday memories was one I began when they were under five. My husband and I would take them on a car picnic. We’d stop for fast food and then drive the streets to look at Christmas lights. It was always cold outside and cozy in the car. The lights were so incredible but even more incredible was being together in that moment.