What does Christmas mean to you? When you ask this question to children, you can expect them to most likely answer with something along the lines of ‘presents,’ ‘treats’ and ‘Santa.’
Most kids are too consumed with the gift receiving aspect of Christmas to know the roots. And while this can often be our fault, it is important to bring them down a notch and teach them the important values that come with Christmas. We are not suggesting you get rid of the gifts and instead stage a nativity play (unless you’re into this type of thing). However, here are some easy ideas on teaching children the importance of Christmas and simple ways to get the kids to appreciate what Christmas is all about – family.
Rather than taking your kids shopping for Christmas presents for themselves, why not start this season by looking for gifts to give to others instead. There are plenty of charities and programs that allow families to donate new and old toys, food and other necessities year round and during Christmas. Ask your kids to choose some unwanted items to give to other kids for Christmas or take them shopping for someone else (not for themself.) This is a great way to help them understand that Christmas isn’t just about receiving, but giving as well.
Christmas can often mean that mum does everything and the kids and family members sit back and watch. This is not only exhausting for you but not the right message you want to send to the kid. So, instead of taking on the role of Kitchen Wench, take on the much more appealing position as Christmas Director. Delegate the chores evenly including setting up, cleaning up after, serving dessert and drinks and doing the dishes. Sure, you may look like a Christmas Dictator but it’s important for the kids to help out and learn that everyone does their share on Christmas, not just mum. Some of the easier tasks for the kids (depending on their age) include:
- Setting the table
- Clearing the table
- Cleaning up the rubbish and wrapping paper after gift opening time
- Serving coffee, tea and dessert to everyone
- Taking the rubbish out
- Greeting the guests (taking their coats, etc).
Check out our list of Family Christmas Activities to do as a family which include board games, movie marathons and gift exchanges. On Christmas Day, try to do something fun as a family rather than sitting in separate rooms playing with all the different toys and gadgets. Take a walk around the neighbourhood together, put on a movie or play a game of cricket before the cooking craziness starts.
This is a fun way to teach your kids about the true meaning of Christmas without lecturing them. Have a look online for Christmas trivia games that outline how Christmas came about and what it is supposed to be about.
Dinner Table Traditions
One easy Christmas tradition you may want to include is to go around the table before everyone eats and say what they are thankful for or what they love most about Christmas. “Presents” is not a suitable answer. Focus on things like “spending time with family,” “giving to others” or “seeing our loved ones.”
The best way to teach your kids about the importance of Christmas, however, is to lead by example. So get into the right Christmas mind frame and hopefully your kids will follow suit.