Children love Christmas and look forward to the festivities and excitement it brings. In fact, this season never fails to bring out that child-like wonder in each person, both young and old alike. There’s definitely something about this magical season that makes us wish it was Christmas all year long.
But through the years, the true spirit of Christmas has been overshadowed by the material presents and iconic symbols. For most kids, Christmas is all about gifts, toys, new clothes and shoes, even great food. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the material gifts for as long as the real essence of the season is properly instilled in the hearts of our children.
As parents, let us strive to make Christmas more meaningful for them. Teaching our children proper Christmas values will be the best gifts we can ever give for it will be something they will treasure for the rest of their lives:
1. Strengthen their Faith.
Jesus is the reason for the season. Even before we introduce Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and even Santa Claus, let us share to them the heartwarming story of the infant Jesus born in the manger – the real symbol of Christmas.
Fill our homes with festive decors that symbolize the real essence of Christmas: a Nativity set, Advent Wreath, choir of angels, etc. Make it a tradition to observe the 9-day Christmas novena masses as a family. More than the festivities, prayer is one of the best ways to honor this season.
2. Inspire them to Hope.
Inspire our children to dream, to wish, to hope for greater things in life. Christmas is the best time to share our hopes and dreams as a family. It is also the perfect opportunity to appreciate the goodness in every one, as well as the blessing that they are in our lives.
Encourage the kids to make a list of their simple hopes and dreams, both for themselves and for other members of the family. Keep it as a family legacy and each year, look back and be affirmed of all the blessings that have come your way. This will also open their eyes to share the light of hope to others who need it.
3. Celebrate Love.
Christmas is truly a celebration of love. Encourage your children to do random acts of kindness for their friends, family and others. Write each other a Christmas “love message,” and tell your children how much you love and care for them.
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Express love in different ways – be it thru quality time, words of love, acts of service. What matters most is that we fill our homes with love and let this love overflow in the hearts of our children.
4. Bond as a Family.
Have fun and enjoy the traditional festivities of the season as a family – sing favorite Christmas carols or watch a holiday movie together. Plan a family activity or getaway which we can commit to do traditionally on Christmas together. What’s important is for our children to cherish the warmth of family togetherness during this season.
Make each moment count. Remember that Christmas is the best time to create perfect family moments. Be sure to capture these moments and create your very own family scrapbook that you can cherish for years to come.
5. Value Simplicity.
The real value of a Christmas gift doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, simple but meaningful gifts are often more appreciated. Have our kids make creative arts and crafts as personalized gifts or ask them to assist us in making home-baked goodies for their friends, teachers and family. Show your children that the best gifts are really from the heart.
Teaching your kids to value simplicity will also allow them to be appreciative of every little thing that comes their way. This will lessen the tendency to feel disappointed whenever they fail to receive what they want. Instead, they will learn to value the simple joys in life even beyond Christmas.
6. Spread Christmas Joy thru Sharing.
Nothing beats that pure joy we can experience thru giving and sharing. More importantly, it is an honor and privilege as parents to instill in our children the true meaning and essence of sharing and spreading the holiday cheer.
Teach your children to give and to share - start with their friends and loved ones. Involve them in projects that reach out to the less fortunate.
True happiness is not always about getting what they want for Christmas; rather, it’s about being able to give and making a difference in others.
7. Be Grateful.
Count your blessings! Inspire your kids to be thankful for all the wonderful gifts they have received, regardless of the value. Teach them to be grateful most especially for the non-material gifts they are blessed with such as family, friends, time, love and many others.
You can even ask your kids to come up with their own list of Christmas blessings which they are truly grateful for. Offer this list to the infant Christ as thanksgiving during Christmas mass.
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It’s important for our kids to realize that there is so much more about Christmas beyond the merriment and the presents. We owe it to them to experience a meaningful, yet joyful season by properly instilling in them these priceless Christmas values.
I am reminded of a quote from the movie, The Polar Express: “Just remember… the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart”. May these values be your legacy to your children and that through them, they will learn to discover the real magic and true essence of Christmas.