Instead of family togetherness and love, sometimes the holidays seem more like a competition for some families. Who can provide what to whom? Who has the nicer home? Who has the better food? This is NOT what holidays are supposed to be about! This type of stress is unnecessary and some families are fighting back against the commercialism and competition.
In fact, some families are stressing that giving to others is the name of the game; drawing names and then giving to the cause that that person believes in. So how do parents get their children to buy in to this type of giving rather than getting type of attitude?
· Provide your children with a good example by getting involved in what you believe in. For example, if you believe in feeding the homeless, make it a point to invite a destitute family over for Thanksgiving dinner. Not only will you provide love for the family in need, you will teach your children the importance of the situation at hand.
· Begin when your child is young. If giving to charity is something that is ‘normal’ for your child, they would actually miss it if it did not happen. One good way to do this is to request that at your child’s birthday party that if gifts are given, that the main part of the gift be a donation to a charity and only a token be given to your child. While some people are hesitant, this is a great example you are setting for your young ones.
· Involve your children in the giving process. Many times different organizations or churches will have a ‘Giving Tree’ at the back of the church or store or whatnot. Let your child pick a person from the tree, young or old, to give a gift to for Christmas. Let your child know how important that this gift is since it may be the only one that the individual gets. Then, let your child help choose the gift for the person that they have selected.
· Pray for others continuously. If children are taught the importance of prayer for others, they will be more likely to continue this effort throughout their lifetimes.
These are just a few suggestions for parents to help alleviate the stress that tends to mount up these days. The only problem will be that other parents or family members may not be as accepting of your choices, but this just goes to show you that you are making the right choices for your family.
The more push-back received, the more successful you will be in teaching your child the right way to celebrate holidays. There are a million ways to alleviate stress over the holidays, what is yours?