CHRISTMAS AND THE FAMILY: IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CHILD

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The holiday season is upon us again and with it we get to celebrate the child, brother, sister, mother and father in us. We are all children, and this season, let us celebrate the child within us and our own children. During the holiday season we tend to be more lenient, more permissive, less strict and more loving. We show our kids the higher love so to speak. We give more, we celebrate more and we do more for each other and others. It is a time to emphasize love and respect, tolerance and sacrifice. This is also the time to over eat, over drink, indulge in sweets and sugars, foods and drinks. But what Christmas is truly about is Jesus. And in that lies the true beauty of what we need to celebrate. Regardless of your religion and faith, Jesus’s life was about love, forgiveness, humility and above all, sacrifice and giving.

            These virtues are what really grows your family as individuals and as a single unit. We try to teach our children, and what better way than to show them. More often than not, children are at the receiving end of our generosity, our gifts and our planning. They are made to rest from school and we try to pamper them with gifts and meals. We let them have fun and we allow them to roam around as much as possible. They get sometimes less of our attention as we struggle to juggle our own work demands, financial responsibilities, family planning and responsibilities and social activities. For this year, it would be a great idea to plan the holiday season with them, rather than for them. Nothing teaches a child responsibility and the spirit of giving like actually being a part of them. So instead of sparing your children, involve them.

            There is no better time to start that planning than now. Sit down with your significant other and outline the lessons you want them to learn. And then make sure they learn them. Here are some things to think about.

  1. Have them buy gifts for everyone on the list: Involve them with the purchase process (of course this is for those of them who know there is no Santa). Have them budget and make them pay for the gifts from their own money. Help them save that money from their allowances starting now. It means much more when they buy the gifts with money they saved as oppose to the money you give them for them to buy. That teaches them the value of money and sacrifice, planning and spending. There is a certain personal joy when you buy someone a gift from your own money.
  2. If they can’t buy gifts, have them think of doing something for the family members. Personalize it whether it is a drawing or a calendar, a not or a card. Teach them that it is about the act of giving, not the gift itself. And you know as well as I do, a personalized hand-made gift from the heart is worth a thousand gifts.
  3. Think of charity and orphanages: There are a lot of refugees and orphans in our country. What better way of celebrating the holiday then giving to them. Gather old clothes, even some new ones, buy gifts, bake cakes and cookies or other foods, and go out to the community. Visit shelters, elderly homes and those in need and give, give and give. Then let the kids enjoy the joy of giving and see them watch the happiness and gratitude they will be spreading. Teach them about giving from the heart, not just left overs.
  4. Take time to celebrate. We spend so much time worrying and shopping and organizing when all we really need to do is to slow things down and celebrate. Remember what this season is all about and who it is all about. You can’t celebrate Jesus and what He stands for if you are busy running around worrying about things that take away from the Christmas spirit and meaning. Slow things down.
  5. Carry the momentum: If all these wonderful things can happen during the holiday season, what is to stop them from continuing? Sit down with your kids and ask them to think about continuing their beautiful contribution for the upcoming year. Try to plan with them some of the things they might need or want to do next year along the lines of the virtues of Christmas. Goodness starts here, does not end here.

I want to wish you all the best of this wonderful season and a wonderful new year filled with hope, happiness, love, health and success.