Top 5 Ways to Capture the True Spirit of Christmas
Christmas isn’t just about shopping and sales – it’s about the spirit of giving. Offer your children a new take on Christmas gifts for her and him, by switching the focus from getting to giving. Read on for our tips on the top five ways to capture the true spirit of Christmas!
Christmas Music & Movies
Set the mood for holiday magic by playing Christmas music and movies. This simple step will get your whole family in the spirit, and it can easily become an annual tradition. Choose from traditional Christmas carols and modern versions as performed by the most popular artists today. There’s usually at least one radio or cable TV station that plays Christmas music nonstop throughout the month of December; tune in to enjoy seasonal sounds at no charge!
Christmas movies are also readily available, and they range from cartoon classics to grownup comedies. Choose a mix of movies to play during holiday parties; guests can enjoy favorite scenes when they’re snacking or relaxing. You can also have the family vote on which Christmas movies you should watch each year, and then make Christmas Eve a special movie night for playing everyone’s suggestions.
Baking Christmas Treats
Do you remember baking Christmas desserts with your mom or grandma? Some families are skipping this practice, and opting to buy Christmas treats at the grocery store instead. Keep the family tradition alive, and bake your own seasonal snacks, right at home! You don’t have to be a master pastry chef – you can even begin with store-bought cookie dough or piecrusts.
Give the kids an assortment of holiday cookie cutters, icing, and sprinkles, and then let them decorate the desserts to their liking. If you’re baking pies, have the little ones help you with braiding dough, or pinching the edges of the piecrust. You can also give them a small batch of ingredients, so they can try their hand at mixing up Christmas creations! Use these treats as buffet faire for holiday parties, or wrap them up and present them as delicious and unique Christmas gifts.
Charity & Volunteering
The spirit of Christmas is based on the concept of peace and goodwill towards all mankind. Engage the family in holiday activities that benefit others, and help them to discover how good it feels to do good deeds. There are tons of volunteer and charity opportunities around the holiday season, but your time and energy can be helpful all year long. Your family can select a new cause each Christmas, and continue supporting it until next December.
You might opt to help feed the homeless, fix up a church or playground, buy presents for underprivileged children, or send holiday wishes to deployed troops. Buy Christmas gifts for men and women stationed overseas, and add the spirit of patriotism to the spirit of the season. Kids will learn a valuable lesson about being thankful for what they have, and everyone’s hearts will feel a wee bit bigger afterwards!
All Things Santa
That jolly holiday figure, Santa Claus, epitomizes the spirit of Christmas. It’s easy to turn average “interactions” with Santa into moments of true Christmas spirit! When children write their letters to Santa, for example, you can suggest that they break their requests up into several different lists. One can be for the usual toys and games that they’re expecting, and another can be more charitable in nature. This may be a list of presents for a family in need, or a list of concepts like peace on earth, or the end of pollution.
Make the delivery of the letters into a tradition as well – you can send them via postal mail to Santa at the North Pole, or even email them straight to his inbox! Do the same thing each year to give kids a sense of comfort and excitement. Children can also set out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve, to thank Santa for his generosity. Don’t forget some carrots for Rudolph and his reindeer friends! Teaching children to feel gratitude – and recognize generosity – is the perfect way to show them the true spirit of Christmas.
Christmas isn’t all about gifts, but the gifts are still important! Encourage family members to make and exchange homemade gifts, or have everyone pool their funds to buy one big gift for each person. Make it into a game, with rewards given for the gift that is most thoughtful, most creative, or most unexpected. Before introducing new playthings to children, have them clear out their current collection.
You can donate gently used toys to thrift stores, children’s hospitals, or schools. When shopping for gifts, encourage your children to purchase new books, dolls, and toys for children in need. Many communities offer giving trees, adopt-a-family programs, or special holiday events for underprivileged people. Involve your children, and see their natural sense of kindness and generosity shine.
The holidays will always be special, but these suggestions can help your family experience them in a whole new way. Religious families can also incorporate biblical teachings and morals into the celebration. If children understand the story of the birth of Christ, for example, they may want to purchase special birthday gifts for dad. In this case, “dad” can refer to Jesus, the Holy Father, or (for non-secular families) Father Christmas. Reconnect with the true spirit of Christmas, and enjoy a sense of goodwill that lasts way past December!