There’s no funner way to experience Christmas than through the eyes of a child. Everything is exciting in their little eyes. I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to explain Christmas is only on one day…which is a very big concept apparently…because obviously, there’s a tree and stockings and people on the radio talking about Christmas, so it must be Christmas today. As much as I love to encourage the excitement and the anticipation of Christmas…there is one aspect of Christmas that I try very hard to discourage. That is the idea that Christmas is all about me getting lots of stuff.
My kiddos are fairly little yet, but I’ve been brainstorming ways to help them understand Christmas for what it is. Here are some of the things I’ve come up with…
1. Find a plastic or wood nativity scene that they can play with as they wish. Set it under the tree and help them learn the story of Christmas by playing with the figures.
2. I don’t make a big deal about “What do you want for Christmas?” I don’t want to turn Christmas into just a “gimme” day. Instead I make a big deal about what they want to buy/make for each other or friends. Top it off with letting them wrap stuff themselves and put it under the tree. It may look super ugly, but that helps put some of the excitement on the giving, rather than just the getting.
3. Help them bring a gift to an elderly neighbor or someone who’s not in a position to give back to them. Help them learn to not just give to get, but to give for the sake of giving. Teach them that it’s fun to give!
4. Teach them age appropriate songs and verses about Jesus being born. Print out coloring sheets with nativity scenes for them to color. Get window clings at the dollar store with all the Bible characters for them to play with. We have fun with Santa, and Frosty, and all the rest of the jolly Christmas folk…but when it comes down to it, the real emphasis is that Jesus came to earth as a baby to live here for us, and Christmas is the day to remember that.
5. I try to stick with a reasonable amount of gifts. I’m not into overwhelming a kid to the point where brand new stuff is never touched because there is so much of it. I personally think they actually enjoy things more when they can mentally grasp it all. And, not getting everything you want is actually a fairly healthy thing to learn.
6. Help them write hand written thank you notes to people who have given them things. The art of saying “thank you” is quickly going the way of eight track tapes and floppy disks…my girls need to understand they are not entitled to be given things. Having them sit down and “write” a thank you note makes them consciously think about being thankful.
7. Make a game of sorting through all the of the old toys, and gather a box full to donate or give away. Help them learn that things are just things, and they aren’t permanent. Bonus for you…now you have some room for some of the new stuff!
I know today is Christmas Eve (yaaay!), but it’s never too late to start a good thing! Have anything to add that you do with your kids? Do tell!
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
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