Over the years, I have come across some of the most obnoxious Santa and gift-obsessed kids. Kids who tear through twenty Christmas gifts, then get upset when there are no more presents to open. Kids who have no idea why we even celebrate the holidays. Kids who when I walk through the door on Christmas day, jump up and down asking, "What did you bring me?"
FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. On every level.
In an effort combat raising my own gift-obsessed brat, I've made it my mission to teach my child the true meaning of Christmas and true holiday spirit. Below is my game plan, that, so far is working well!
1. CHRISTMAS IS NOT ONLY ABOUT SANTA!!! First and foremost, I don't want my child to associate Christmas with Santa, only. Being that my son is now four, going on ten, I don't expect him to fully absorb the religious meaning behind Christmas, however, I do have every intention of making up my own mommy version so he understands Christmas is a time to honor our faith and be thankful for our blessings.
2. Keep the focus on giving, not getting. There's no doubt about it, giving is far more rewarding than receiving. Getting a child to realize that, from a very young age, is a true parent-win. Over the last two weeks, my son and I have been going through all of his toys to donate "to the children in need." During that time, he's asked many, many questions about who the 'kids in need' were and why they didn't have their own toys. By the end of the questions and toy-clean-out, he was much more happy to donate his toys. He also went with me to drop the toys and felt super proud when the man taking our donations told him what a "kind and generous" boy he was. We are also going to pick an angel off the angel tree as a family this weekend while doing our family holiday shopping trip. The plan is to let Ollie pick out the toy. Next year, I hope he will be old enough to start a tradition of family volunteering. Nothing beats the feeling of helping others, especially those in need.
3. Family Centered. It's so easy to get whisked away with family events, holiday parties, shopping and everything else that puts us in fast forward during the holidays, which is why I think it's more important than ever to try to slow down and spend time as a family. This is my BIG focus this season. I only get a few holidays with a little guy who's happy to be home with mommy and daddy. I want nothing more than to enjoy the extra time off together and be thankful for our blessings.
4. Incorporate a daily reminder to focus on the important aspects of the holidays. Every chance I get to demonstrate to my son the holdays are way more than a gift giving extravaganza, I take.
5. Keep Santa under control. Last year, FTD and I agreed that Santa would bring only ONE gift. The big one. Then we could give him two gifts each- Something he needs and something he wants. For example, last year my two gifts were Star Wars Pj's and a play-doh construction set. Being that he was two, five gifts on one day was MIND BLOWING. I expect still at three year old, five gifts will still be fantastic. I firmly believe there is absolutely no reason why my little guy needs a bunch of gifts on Christmas to make the holiday great. When he needs is a few fun gifts and a day of mommy and daddy swooning over him.
How do you plan to teach your child that the holidays are not only about opening presents?