A guest post by my wonderful husband Jason~
5 Ways to Make Your Kid’s Christmas Awesome
I drove 30 miles to four different stores while listening to an endless loop of sing-a-long songs only to end up here at the department store amidst a sea of Christmas trees that others had passed up.
By now I had given up hope for the perfect Christmas tree and instead was ready to accept my fate no matter how miserable or expensive the endeavor.
I looked out before me and saw a tree, tied up and leaning against it’s equally unimpressive siblings waiting for a buyer or the garbage service; I couldn’t be sure. Its neon tag was torn from being dragged across the parking lot and as it snapped in the wind I saw the price, $48. This was definitely our tree.
“So this is how it’s supposed to look?” I asked as sap smeared across my coat. “That’s it,” the clerk mumbled, and we loaded up the tree in the car as needles fell on my kids.
“Well Merry Christmas then,” I said as I shut the back with the tree jammed against the hatch and my daughter screamed from the seat in front of me.
No, this isn’t one of those stories. I am not going to tell you that the tree was magic or that I had some sort of Scrooge on Christmas morning moment and suddenly was overcome with the Christmas spirit while decorating this pricey fire hazard we call a tree. It’s a little more real than that. It’s about what to do when Christmas comes around and we just aren’t into it, despite having kids that are.
Here are 5 ways to make Christmas amazing for your kids regardless of your excitement for the holiday. These ideas can mean the difference between simply getting through Christmas and creating positive, lasting memories.
1. Make it about what it’s about
Presents are fantastic and I’m the first to admit it. I also really like Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks, seasonal craft beers and holiday parties with themes. However, Christmas really isn’t about that. If you are a Christian it’s about Jesus and His birth and the Hope, Grace and ultimately Redemption that we are given. That’s the real gift.
The takeaway– Maybe it’s time to forgive. Forgive your spouse, your parents, or your boss for making you work black Friday. Perhaps you need to forgive yourself. Or it could just mean giving someone grace. Whatever the situation, use this gift we are given to do the same for others and remember that it is the real reason for the season. Your kids will see your actions, learn a bunch and be better for it.
2. Tradition, tradition, tradition
It can be cheesy, funny, sentimental or even downright obnoxious but traditions are what your kids will remember far beyond Christmas. This means that whether it’s watching holiday movies in front of the fireplace, looking at lights or fighting with your family after too much eggnog; your kids will remember both good and bad alike.
The takeaway– Elf on a shelf, ugly sweater parties or Ernest Saves Christmas; all are ideas for fun and lasting traditions that your kids will remember fondly.
3. Let them give
It’s no secret by this point that Christmas can be a tough time on kids and families. Thankfully, there are some great organizations in place to help those struggling. Whether ringing the bell for the Salvation Army or buying Christmas presents for those less fortunate, your kids stand to learn a ton. You may even find as some parents do, that kids are at times far more excited about giving to others than getting their own presents. Get them involved!
The takeaway– If you teach your kids the act of giving, especially in a season filled with wanting, you will empower them to be good stewards and generous adults.
4. Be generous
I know, I know, money is tight. Barbie’s and Xbox’s aren’t free no matter how much you saved on Amazon. However, I’m not really talking about money. I am talking about your time, attention and interest. These are all things that cost nothing but are terribly important to your kids and family. Kids who feel genuinely cared for and attended to are often far more content with less.
The takeaway– The most generous gift you can give your kids and those around you is your time, attention and interest. Kids will forget what they received for presents but remember how you made them feel.
5. Be thankful
Listen, I am not trying to steal Thanksgiving’s thunder, but Christmas is an equally good time to be thankful for the gift of Christ and also for those around us. Yes, your cousin/aunt/sibling/parent can be annoying. And yes, no one thinks Uncle Joe’s jokes are funny. But, they are your family and they won’t be around forever and neither will you for that matter. There will be a day when you sit down for Christmas and miss Aunt Liz’s Snickers “salad.” Maybe not the first year, but it will happen.
The takeaway– Christmas is a time of great blessing and teaching your kids to appreciate those around you and their circumstances will foster a Christmas spirit.
A final note on creating an awesome Christmas
Without intentional effort it can be nearly impossible to create a memorable and fun Christmas for your family and your kids.
Having a plan and following it can mean that not only do your children have positive and lasting memories of Christmas, but also that you enjoy the season too.
Now get out there and hide the elf, ring the bell and have fun. Share your best childhood Christmas and comments below.