It’s a time of giving and receiving; a time of seeing excess and great need. This is your time to show children what’s important to you, and your family.
For me, walking with my children through the streets has that special winter feel. The smells of Christmas Trees and hot apple cider at the market, choosing gifts for special people in our lives, and having more time to spend together are some of the things I like best. For some kids just being awake when it’s dark is super exciting—we’re always looking for the moon on the way home for dinner.
How can you bring your own meaning to this busy time of year?
Create opportunities to give to people you know—depending upon their age, involve kids as much as possible with preparing gifts for relatives and friends, especially siblings and parents if that’s appropriate. If you are writing cards with tips for people, you can talk about what you are doing, “We’re giving Patrick, our UPS delivery man, a present to say “Thank you for being so extra helpful and friendly throughout the year, and for making the effort to come back when I haven’t been home.” (And we really are!)
Create opportunities to give to people you don’t know—while this is a time many charities are in great need, the entire year presents the same issue. Perhaps over vacation you can research together a charity with a personal connection—have a child who likes to read? Together you might want to choose a charity where you donate books to classrooms. From art, to music, to sports, there are other children out there who need.
If your family sends holiday cards, maybe you can make some time for personal messages from your children to their friends or people who are important to them. Depending upon their age you can take dictation, they can write something short, or even just their name. It helps solidify what you are doing and why. One hint—supervise in case of too much improvisation… we lost a few cards due to excessive xx’s and oo’s written by a zealous 5 year old…
Are traditions emerging in your family? This season start to notice, and next year you can continue the ones you like, and skip the ones you don’t. Not finding any? What a perfect opportunity to create some. Whether it’s a trip to a skating rink, New Year’s Eve with friends, a certain night of Chanukah to give to someone else, a Christmas present bought for a child who might not otherwise have one– the possibilities are endless.