We've nearly made it through all of 2020. Whew! Hopefully the final few days will bring the very best! Around here, we've set up our tree, we've put out all the decorations, and Christmas music is playing round the clock. Along with all the lights and glitter comes the excitement of toys and presents, which, of course, we all look forward to, but how do we keep our kids focused on the real spirt of Christmas?
My older kids are getting to the age where making gingerbread houses and looking at Christmas lights isn't as enticing as it once was. For the sake of our younger kids, we still do a lot of those things, but losing the interest of our older kids makes me a little sad! I realize I can't keep everyone thrilled about the season, and always looking like models for a Christmas card, but I still want everyone's willing participation. At least, I don't know, break into song every once in a while... ha!
Okay, now I'll be a little more realistic. These are some of the ways I've managed to keep our growing family in the Christmas spirit--from a 4-year-old all the way up to my 13-year-old.
Keep Them Involved
There are so many activities going on this holiday season--maybe not as many as in previous years, but somehow we all find a way to keep ourselves busy. Give your children a chance to make decisions and involve them in what the family decides to do. It will help them feel like their opinion matters and will keep them engaged.
By doing this, you also get to discover what they deem important. Though obviously not all wishes can be granted, find a way to make sure their (doable) favorites happen--like watching favorite Christmas movies with popcorn and hot chocolate.
This is probably one of my favorite things to do with my kids. There always seems to be opportunities to purchase gifts for those in need. Whether it's some type of Angel Tree or a community gift drive, there are places all over that will gratefully accept anything you offer. We traditionally have taken our kiddos to the store and let them pick out a gift or two to donate to another kid their same age. It has been sweet in years past watching them get excited about buying a toy (for themselves first), and then slowly realize how exciting it will be for the child who receives it.
This year, we've found that we can do our shopping online, so we have the gifts we buy sent directly to the charitable organization we've chosen. It certainly makes things much easier and convenient, and my kids were just as excited scrolling through listings and looking for the perfect gift.
One of my favorite moments happened last year as we were discussing the upcoming Christmas season with our kids. We became aware of an opportunity to donate some money to a family who needed a new van to accommodate their wheelchair-bound son. Because some of my older kids recognized this particular boy, they both got up, and without being prompted, grabbed a couple dollars of their own money to offer to this family. My mom heart couldn't have been more proud. I'm grateful they saw that chance and willingly took it.
Along with donating gifts, December is the perfect time to go through old or outgrown winter clothes, coats, and gloves and donate them to others who have a need.
Winter brings a lot of opportunities for service. It's by example that our kids learn best. Shoveling a neighbor's driveway, opening doors for a stranger, sharing a plate of goodies with friends--our kids can easily participate in these kinds of things, creating memories and joy that they'll remember forever. In turn, these acts of service might become traditions they find themselves looking forward to year after year.