Does it not seem like the emphasis today is more on receiving than giving? Don’t you feel like there are more demands and requests than offerings? It is almost as if there is an “expectation” of parents to increase and improve and add more every year in terms of quality and quantity and cost of presents. When there is an “expectation”, there is conditional appreciation. And this is not what the holidays or our lives should be about.
We always have ways to teach our children the true meaning of the holidays. The holiday season brings memories of the excitement on children’s faces as they open their wrapped packages, and the warm feelings that come with finding that perfect gift for a special someone. We should begin by asking our children: “what are some ways we can give to others during the holidays?” Here are some ideas for teaching your children the true spirit of giving:
- Teach your children the real meaning of holiday giving, especially the importance of helping those in need. Have them donate either time or effort or some of their gifts and watch the expression on others faces. Don’t just drop the gifts off somewhere. Have them watch as other kids or people open up their gifts and see the look of happiness and joy on other’s faces. There is tremendous value in the warmth and gratitude they receive from others.
- Visit an elderly neighbor: Make some Christmas cookies and take them with you.
- Visit a nursing home: Take your kids as a volunteer. They can help serve a meal, sing some Christmas carols, or just sit and keep some company.
- Donate food: take your kids to the store, give them a bag and ask them to fill it up with useful items for a local food pantry.
- Adopt an ill child or an elderly and do special things for that person.
- Visit sick people in hospitals, or take some food and clothing and gifts to refugees.
- Set aside art of what you would normally spend on gifts to donate to a local charity.
- Instead of buying gifts for family and friends, either make or find a need each person has and fill it. Create a wish list for an orphanage and see what you and others or your kids can fulfill.
Why do we give gifts during holidays?
In many cultures holiday gift giving meant giving to those in need. The act of giving and receiving has long been an important part of human experience, but holiday giving has become apprehensive, perhaps by commercialization and by imposed expectations. Imagine how joyous it would be to help your children associate love and appreciation with gift giving and to help them adopt a new attitude about the holiday season.
One of the most important things about the holidays is people connecting with people.
Make holiday gift giving meaningful for you and your children by exchanging simple gifts and actions that express heart-warming feelings. Take the emphasis off quantity and expense. Instead, place it on creative gifts, messages, and services that let others know of your love and appreciation for them. Getting back to the true meaning of giving is a gift you can give to your children that will last a lifetime.