With all the shopping, presents, media hype, tv ads and general hustle and bustle at Christmas time you can be forgiven for forgetting what the real meaning behind it all is. Children become carried away with the excitement of the promise of new toys (and who could blame them?), and parents become fixated with preparing for the day itself.
I think all of us could benefit from taking some time out from the hype as the
big day approaches and remember what it is all about.
I think this is probably one of the strongest messages we get from Christmas. Presents are a substantial part of Christmas excitement – whether we are excited to give or receive.
It’s natural to be excited about receiving gifts, and this shouldn’t be shamed or
quashed – however, placing an emphasis on giving is a wonderful thing also. There
are some great ways you can do this for children?
• Together with the children, choose some old toys to donate to a charity shop,
refuge or children’s home. This will not only teach the children about the
value of giving to those less fortunate, but it will make space for the new toys
they will get at Christmas. However, the toy-donating shouldn’t be forced, as
it could be very traumatic for a child to unwillingly give away a much loved
toy. They should be able to give freely, or choose not to, or it defies the point
of giving in the first place.
• Encourage children to choose gifts for their siblings and friends themselves,
rather than relying on you to do so.
• Bake some Christmas-themed biscuits, mince pies or other treats together and
take them to a local old people’s home to give out to the residents (Socially distanced and within the current rules and regulations) Some of the residents will have few visitors at Christmas time, and small gifts and cards will definitely bring a smile to their faces even if they can’t actually meet the children this year.
Family and Friends
Christmas truly is a time for family and Friends. Today’s world is a big one, and families are often scattered across the globe rather than living in close-knit communities and this year in particular it is going to be difficult for us to meet up with all those people that matter to us. Why not encourage the children to make Christmas cards for absent friends and family members who cannot be with you at this special time of the year. You could even organise a Christmas carol sing-along over Zoom for family members living at home and abroad.
Christmas can also be an emotional time for families who are, sadly, missing some
members. Many people traditionally remember their loved ones who are no longer
with them with small ‘memorial services’ at home. This can be a great way to help
children grieve healthily. Grief is a powerful emotion, and children need to know that
they can express their grief openly with the support of their parents.
So, if you’re feeling the Christmas anxiety creeping in, try to relax and remember
what it’s all about. And most importantly, enjoy yourself!