Christian families have their faith to focus on during the holidays instead of the presents (though in my experience, few do). If you celebrate Christmas, what do you do to make it about something a little more special than presents?
Growing up, Christmas was about nothing more than presents present presents. That only really changed when I hit about 25. Now Christmas is an excuse to see family and get nostalgic. I want my kids to enjoy the holidays as much as I did growing up but I also want it to be a time for them to feel grateful for all the things we are afforded that other families may not have. I certainly don't want my kids to feel "blessed". I feel like we are able to live the lifestyle we live because my DH and I have worked our rear ends off. How do I give my kids nice presents for Christmas while still letting them know that it was their parent's hard work that purchased them (eventually, Santa will be visiting until they figure that part out). I've thought about making the week before Christmas a time to focus on community service. I'll have the kids think of things to do and we'll do them together as a family. Then, presents will be a reward for the good work they've done. That'll have to wait a few years so in the meantime Christmas will be about Santa and delicious food.
Do you have stores that do a wishing tree where they have tags with ages and gender listed and you choose one and buy a gift that will be given to a child who are in circumstances they wouldn't be getting gifys otherwise. I think they may do them for adults as well so each of you in the family could choose someone and buy a gift for that purpose and put it in as buting something you would love to get for someone a similar age.
I think the community service idea is great! Right now my DDs preschool has "spirit of giving" program (it is non-religious) where the kids adopt a local family. They help pick out gifts and necessities for the family and deliver them to them. I also had her pick out a gift for toys for tots. She is only two so it is hard to say how much sinks in. When she get older I definitely want to do some volunteering with her. Learning generosity and thankfulness for what you have are very important lessons that can be taught through the Christmas season.
When Rowan (and her future sibling) are older, we plan to do experiences rather than gifts for the holidays. Dh and I used to travel over Christmas and New Years, and we'd like to continue that tradition when the kids are older (and easier to travel with) and when we have the money to do so (meaning I have to get a job).
DD1 Rowan, 9/26/10
Expecting #2 in August 2013
Yes, my kids are already sooo consumed with the greediness of getting presents and I keep trying to talk to them about the "real" meaning of Christmas being spending time with family, being thankful for what you have, giving presents, donating to families who need extra help, etc. Their schools did toy drives and we also did a community service "caroling for cans" thing with my 6 year old's girl scout troop, so I think there are plenty of opportunities to do community service projects even at a young age, even if it's just dropping off a toy at a toy drive, to teach them about the spirit of giving... I think it's also just a part of being kids that they have that excitement for getting presents, even my (very devout Christian) sister's kids get super excited about getting presents and they really are celebrating the "Christ" part of Christmas!
Our "Christmas" is about family/friends, the values are placed upon spending time with those we love and appreciating them for who they are, it is also about generosity, we try each year to donate to Christmas Cheer and Operation Child Shoe Box program.
* Amanda *