Christmas is for the children, we’re always told. But how do we teach them that Christmas is not just all about asking for, expecting and receiving gifts? Here are a few practical tips to help your children see beyond the commercialism of this hallmark holiday.
Toy & Clothes Clean-up
Months or weeks leading up to Christmas would be a perfect time to get your child to get involved in cleaning up toys and clothes and choosing ones that can be given away and shared with other kids. This is a good chance to teach your child about the value of sharing to the less privileged, and also organizing things. To encourage younger kids, they can also be told that in order to make room for new toys they’ll receive, space must be freed up.
To take this a step further, you may also consider organizing a visit to an orphanage or having your kid personally drop off donations in malls or organizations that accept these.
Christmas Lists & Shopping
Involve your child in creating Christmas lists for family and friends. If your child is already school-aged, you can also get him involved in writing up the list of classmates and teachers he plans to give gifts to. It’s a good chance for you to bond with your child by getting to know who his friends are and how he feels about the people he interacts with daily. This would be a good teaching moment also on topics like friendship, love, and thoughtfulness. When the list is ready, take your child with you to the mall (if it’s not too crowded), and ask for his opinion as well in choosing gifts.
Children appreciate it when they are involved. It gives them a feeling of security, maturity, and responsibility. Introducing community and family traditions to your child, whether it be attending Simbang Gabi or buying groceries for Christmas carolers, gives them a better appreciation of what Christmas is about. Make sure to tell them stories or show them photos explaining the reasons behind these traditions, and assign them an important role to play too.
Family Tree Review
Family reunions and parties are very common during the Christmas holidays. Before going to these events, it’s a good idea to review the family tree with your child. Having more than 10 cousins and 8 pairs of uncles and aunts can be very overwhelming and confusing for a young child. Looking at photos and reminding them of memories with these relatives would help your child get to know and appreciate family ties better.
Bond Over Music and Movies
Teach your children Christmas carols or watch a classic Christmas movie together. Make sure to explain what the song or the story is about, for your child to better appreciate it. Some movie classics you might consider are, A Christmas Carol, The Grinch, or Home Alone.