Trim the tree, deck the halls, buy the gifts, bake the cookies, attend the parties, send the cards, and, oh yeah, spend time with your family. If your Christmas season is turning into a whirlwind of business, it’s time to stop and consider what your children may be witnessing in the midst of all this chaos. Are your children a part of the holiday celebrations, or are they just caught up in the gift-receiving aspect of it all? You may whisk them from activity to activity, but they may be wondering what it all means.
So, what does all this mean anyway? What is the motivating factor behind all of these activities? Do your children understand the love, kindness, and goodwill towards others that Christmas is supposed to represent? How can we slow down our busy lives and make sure that our little ones are able to experience and spread this same mindset?
You can always pause and just start small, since little acts of kindness can go a long way, but if you are interested in some larger-scale things to do with your children to help spread love this Christmas season, here are some ideas:
- Visit a nursing home. You’d be surprised how happy older folks will be to interact with your kids!
- Go caroling. Get a neighborhood group together and just do it!
- “Adopt” a family in need and provide for them this Christmas with gifts, decorations, food, and cheer.
- Invite someone unexpected to your holiday table this year, whether it is a lonely neighbor, a college student away from home, or a friend in need of some cheering up.
- Donate toys, clothing, or gifts to a good cause. There are many good choices in our area.
- Volunteer some time in a homeless shelter, food pantry, or any locale area of need. Bring your kids along and let them help out in any way they are able.
- Bake some cookies and take them to your neighbors.
- Invest in someone who may need a little help—shovel your neighbor’s driveway, bring a meal over to a sick friend, talk with that person who may be struggling emotionally during this season.
- Host some other kiddos in your home for a play-date and give some friends a well-needed break to run some errands.
There are so many more things that one can do, but the important thing is to always remember to keep conversations open about what you’re doing and why. Kids are curious, and they will have many questions, so always be ready with your answer to help plant the seeds of kindness in them. Your children look up to you and will follow what you do; the more they see you love and serve others through support, time, and giving, the more they will want to do the same. So, will you get caught up in the business and gift-giving and forget what’s most important to you? Or will you slow down and think of others as you teach your children about the love and kindness that surrounds the season? The choice is yours!
Written by: Kristyn Marimon (Lead Teacher of Toddler Room in Stow)