Family making cookies‘Tis Better to Give

Nothing enhances the holiday spirit more than the joy of being able to give to others and making Christmas time a memorable experience for those we love, especially for the little ones. Oftentimes, though, we forget the true meaning of this festive time of year and get caught up in the hustle-bustle of commercialism. For this reason alone, it’s critical to teach children the true meaning of the season.


Here are a few ways to make the holidays have special meaning for your children: 

Some parents want to be sure their children get everything they want for Christmas so there will be no tears. This is an unrealistic goal. Don’t get lost in the holiday hype. 

Mother giving daughter an ornament to hang on the Christmas tree

■ Don’t try to please everyone. It’s the little things that children remember, like time spent playing a board game. 

■ Children will model your behavior. If you bake for the homeless shelter (and they help) or if you visit people in the hospital, they will remember that and these lessons will stick with them!

■ Cook with your kids. Over time, develop a list of favorite Christmas recipes and make them every year. 

Dad playing with daughter

 Children can help wrap presents – and it doesn’t matter if they aren’t perfect. Wrapping creates a sense of excitement and is a good time to talk to one another.

■ Making gifts is a good way to give kids a deeper sense of Christmas. Going to the craft store, planning a project and then making things is a good time for parents to give kids extra attention. 

■ Encourage children to make New Year’s resolutions and share your own hopes for the coming year.

■ Children should be encouraged to make their own wish lists, but to also describe why they want each item, giving parents the chance to modify expectations before the fateful unwrapping. 

■ Start your own traditions!Father reading to family

  •  Go to the Nutcracker, a tree lighting ceremony or drive around to see Christmas lights. 
  •  Open an Advent calendar. 
  • Go to church. 
  • Let kids choose Christmas music. 
  • Bring out the ornaments and reminisce about each one. 
  • Give kids a disposable camera and put them in charge of picture taking. 

■ The best time to consciously create new traditions is when the family has been touched by death, divorce or some major change. Even if it only means having dinner at a different time, try to differentiate between the past and now. 

Most importantly, include children in as many holiday events as possible!