Don’t you just miss being a kid? When Christmas was the most exciting time of the year? It was all about Santa and his reindeer, receiving big gifts and an endless array of sweets, and best of all, being away from school for the holiday break! But as adults, we get so caught up in our responsibilities and obligations that we forget how amazing Christmas can be. We stop seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes, exhausted and harassed, rather than brimming with joy and excitement.
Luckily, when we become parents, we get the opportunity to relive the innocent happiness that the holiday season brings. And there’s no better time to pass on to our children those memorable traditions—and make new ones too—than during the holidays. Here are some Christmas activities and practices that we can teach our children without having to shell out tons of money:
Read Christmas stories. When December comes ‘round, it’s time to whip out the Christmas bedtime stories and share them with the little ones. Classics like “The Night Before Christmas” and “A Christmas Carol” are great to read together as a family. But let’s not forget to also share with the kids the whole reason for Christmas in the first place: the birth of Jesus Christ. “The Nativity Story” is a beautiful one and will let the children know the roots of the Christmas season.
Bring them to a local Christmas production. Most cities have plays and productions with a Christmas theme, so it’s a great opportunity to enjoy these shows with the kids. Whether it’s a musical production of “A Christmas Carol” or seats to “Disney on Ice,” the kids will surely get into the spirit of things when they get caught up in the music and characters of these shows.
Make DIY Christmas Decorations. What better way to save a fortune and bring out your kids’ creative juices than by having them make the Christmas decors that will adorn your home? From snowflake cut-outs to angels made out of colorfully painted cardboard to a papier-mache nativity set, the possibilities of holiday decorations are endless!
Help in putting up the ornaments. It can be a challenge to get kids to help around the house. But when it comes to stuff they made themselves, you’d be surprised about how they’d jump at the chance to do their part so that they can proudly display their creations. So on that note, let your kids help you decorate the house by hanging the ornaments they made on the Christmas tree or putting the stockings up on the wall.
Create gifts instead of buying them. There’s no better heartfelt gift than one that’s a labor of a little one’s love. Aside from bringing out their creativity, it helps in keeping down the Christmas gift budget. You can let your kids help you bake brownies or cookies and wrap the goodies in festive packages and ribbons. Or you can buy them art materials that they can use to make Christmas cards or little hand-made tokens. Though inexpensive, personally-made gifts are much more significant than those randomly picked out at the stores.
Let them write their own letter to Santa. We all know that the concept of Santa is an incentive for the kids to be good so that they get a gift from him on Christmas morning. You can have them write their own letter to Santa to tell him what they want for Christmas. Make sure they also include wishes for other people and not just for themselves, like “a bike for my little brother” or “new shoes for mommy.” That way, they’re thinking of others’ needs and not just their own.
Bring them to church for Midnight Mass. Christians like to culminate Christmas Eve by attending a church service and truly, the services are more beautiful and meaningful during Christmas. There’s a choir singing Christmas songs in angelic voices, a beautiful message from the priest or pastor, and best of all, it’s a great time to teach your kids the value of prayer and reflection.
Let them know it’s all about spending time with loved ones. Many celebrate with extended family on Christmas Eve, usually in a loved one’s home, where there’s an endless array of food, loads of entertainment, and then finally, exchange of gifts. There’s no better time to instill the value of family to the children than during Christmas get-togethers.
Instill the concept of giving. Since Christmas is all about the spirit of sharing, you can teach your kids to give of their time and treasures during the holidays. You can have them go through their closets and toy chests to choose the stuff they’d like to give to the “children who have much less than they do.” Or maybe bring the family to a soup kitchen and let them help at the assembly line.
Teach them about gratitude. Oftentimes, it’s a struggle to teach our kids how to say the two simple words of gratitude: “thank you.” The Christmas season is the perfect time to remind them to be grateful. You can have them draw up a thank you list, where every day, they write down the thing that they are most thankful for that day. Put it in colorful paper and decorate it, then tack it to the refrigerator so that’s easily seen by all and easy to update on a daily basis.
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Christmas is my ultimate favorite holiday, and these are all fabulous ways to celebrate it. One of favorite traditions is to make make cookies with my kids around the holidays. Then. we send the cookies to those who mean the most to us like close family and friends. Our church also volunteers around the holidays, so we encourage the kids to go with us. We want them to grow up learning gratitude for others.