Christmastime sometimes inspires images of greedy kids begging for toys that will be quickly discarded. It doesn’t need to be that way. The Christmas season can be a time to help your kids develop character.
Here are some ways you can help:
Make the Christmas Season about Giving Rather than Getting
A Holy Experience shares a beautiful, yet radical, way to remember what Christmas is truly about. In “The Grateful Christmas Project: 7 Ways to have more Grateful Kids this Christmas,” Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, tells what her family does for Christmas, giving their gifts to the Christ Child through charity gifts from Compassion Catalog, Samaritan’s Purse Catalog, Partner’s International Catalog, World Vision Catalog, Gospel for Asia Catalog, and Mennonite Central Committee Catalog.
As beautiful as giving all gifts to the Christ Child is, I think a family has to feel called to do this. Many families are called to do a modified version. Ann also shares ideas that aren’t as radical for Christian families at the end of her post. I love this sentence that any family could use as a focus: “Let’s focus on our Giving Lists — and not so much on any getting lists.”
1+1+1=1 shares similar concepts that Christian families can use along with a more traditional Christian Christmas in her “Christmas Gifts for Jesus.” My family enjoyed focusing on food drives as well as helping the girls we sponsored through Compassion International feel extra special at Christmastime. This year, 1+1+1=1 shared a new idea in her latest “Christmas Gifts for Jesus” using The Sparkle Box book and gift box. That’s something I would have especially enjoyed doing with my kids if it would have been available when they were growing up. Note: I like the way this post from 1+1+1=1 shows the growth in character children can go through with these sorts of activities: “But I Want Toys!”
Here’s a video of Jill Hardie, the author of The Sparkle Box, telling about the book and tradition behind the book.
I have a post at Living Montessori Now with links to lots of resources: “How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion Through Service Projects.”
Kids Stuff World has a “A Season of Giving: 31 Days of Service” with links to family-friendly service projects by many bloggers.
Coffee Cups and Crayons has a lovely idea of counting down to Christmas with “24 Days of Random Acts of Kindness.” Although it’s past December 1, it isn’t too late to start showing random acts of kindness from now through Christmas and beyond.
Raising Lifelong Learners had a post this Christmas season with “The Ultimate Guide to Random Acts of Kindness.”
The Iowa Farmer’s Wife gave ideas for “12 Days of Christmas Kindness.”
The Good Long Road shared examples of families’ Random Acts of Kindness at today’s Weekly Kid’s Co-op.
Here are some more ideas for random acts of kindness at any time from a post of mine last year: “Try a Little Kindness.”
UPDATES: Here are 3 posts with ideas for encouraging kindness at Christmastime:
Help Your Child Accept Gifts Courteously and with Gratitude
Montessori education has techniques to help children learn to graciously accept gifts and become comfortable with thanking someone for a gift. Here’s my post at Living Montessori Now on “Holiday Manners.”
Focus on the Nativity
We’ve heard the slogans “Don’t take Christ out of Christmas” and “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And they’re good reminders. It’s helpful for our kids to focus on what Christmas is all about. I co-hosted a Focus on the Nativity Blog Hop at Living Montessori Now. You’ll find lots of wonderful ideas for helping children remember what Christmas is about.
I especially love the sense of wonder that Godly Play and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, two Montessori-based religious education programs can inspire in children. Here’s a post with ideas for helping children truly experience the Mystery of Christmas: “How to Use Godly Play at Home during Advent.”
Be an Example of Good Character at Christmas
It’s easy to get caught up in all the things that need to be done at Christmastime. But the best way we can help our children is to be truly present at Christmas and to be models of what Christmas is really about. Take time to slow down and enjoy any service projects you might be doing … sincerely enjoy the act of giving. I always found it important to simplify the other parts of Christmas to keep myself balanced during the Christmas season. Here’s a post with ideas to help: “10 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Burnout.”
The Spirit of Christmas Word Art Freebies
Here are a couple of word-art freebies about keeping the true spirit of Christmas:
“The Basic Ingredients of a Truly Merry Christmas” Word Art Freebie (without watermark)
I hope you and your family are having a truly blessed Christmas season!
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Stock photo at top of post by Tera Christianson.