Here are a few ideas that if you put them into practise you will develop a family that is not driven by the “spirit of the age” – gimme, gimme, gimme!
1. Practise the art of giving outside of the family. A great project to get the children involved in is Operation Christmas Child. The organization is a good one supplying children around the globe that have nothing with a shoebox full of age related items; everything from crayons to a toothbrush. It is good for children to go to a store and buy for someone else and then give it away. You could even do a box or two as a family project.
2. Limit the number of gifts you buy for each child. We also had them draw names so they only had one gift to buy a sibling and they had a limit as to how much they would spend. They still do this now even as they have gotten married. The spouses’ names have been added into the draw.
3. If they have gifts from other family and friends, have them start opening one gift a day from a few days before Christmas. This way they can actually see what it is and play with it. This will create a greater appreciation even for the little things.
4. While you are in the midst of gift opening do it one gift and one person at a time. Have the children watch each other opening the gift. When anyone has opened the gift, have him or her go to the person, if they are there, say, ‘thank you’ and give the person a hug. Yes, this will prolong your gift exchange but it teaches your children two important lessons: patience and appreciation. Two lessons in life that are so important. They need to learn that everything is not all about them!
5. Model appreciation yourself. When you open your gift, savour it, then get up and go to your child or spouse and say ‘thank you’. Make a fuss and model your gratitude.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. Enjoy every moment and do it with appreciation in your heart and your family will do it with you!