Birthdays, Valentine’s, Christmas, and most gift-giving holidays have become commercialized. For many families Christmas has become about gifts (very expensive gifts!) and less about the meaning behind the day. It is about rushing here and there, feeling guilty for eating sweets, stressing about the holiday menu, and waiting for the busy period to pass so one can relax.
This is not what Christmas is about. This is only what we have made it into and it is a mentality we are passing onto children and teens.
What is the meaning of Christmas? Have you ever asked your child what in his (or her) mind is the meaning of Christmas? Why not ask him to share ideas of what he thinks. If you get an answer such as ‘for families to spend time together’ dig deeper and ask how families can do this. After he gives you his answer, ask if your family is meeting all these important points and where the family could improve.
If you find both you and your teen are running short on ideas, here are 4 suggestions to help you convert Christmas into a more meaningful holiday:
1.Giving back: Worried about what your child is asking for this Christmas season? Make this season less about money and more about giving back. It’s not about forcing the idea of giving onto your kids; it’s more about exposing them to different people with different life circumstances. It is about helping them develop an open mind and a kind heart by watching and modeling you.
2. Family time and togetherness: Yes, it is difficult to explain what Christmas is all about without using the word ‘togetherness.’ Remember, however, that it is not just about being together, it is about showing love and generosity to each other. There is no point to being together if the time is used to debate and argue about things that happened earlier in the year or years ago. Christmas is an excellent time to show your teens how families can respect each other.
3. Relaxation and fun: Believe it or not, the holiday season can be about relaxation and fun if you want it to be. Split up the chores (this will create a feeling a team) and watch how much more time you have to relax with your family. Christmas is not extremely busy because it is extremely busy; it is busy because we often chose to do more than we have time for. Let’s not pass on this bad habit to our teens. Pass on the habit of family fun and relaxation time.
4. Homemade gifts: Presents are great but they are not necessarily great because of the monetary value. It is the effort and the thought that counts. That is why homemade gifts are always more meaningful than any store bought gift (e.g., scrapbook of past Christmases, homemade calendar, a storybook with family members starring as the characters). They are also more likely to be treasured because they are irreplaceable. Technology is soon outdated and easy to get tired of. A homemade gift often gets saved for years to come. Teach your teens about sentimentality.
Best Wishes to Your Family This Christmas Season
Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto