What Are The Holidays Really About?

The holidays are when some of the most magical family memories are created. No matter which holidays you celebrate, it’s the little moments: rolling out the dough to make homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or seeing the twinkle lights in the windows turn on for the first time, that make this season so special for the whole family. As little ones grow up, new traditions are formed every year. While your children might see the holidays as a time of bountiful new toys and blissful, never-ending playtime, this year, instilling a lesson or two about gratefulness could be a wonderful way to start a few new traditions during your family holidays. Below are a few simple ways to teach your kids thankfulness and have fun while doing it.

1. Writing Thank-You Notes                                                                                                      The holidays are the perfect opportunity to teach your child that a simple “thank you” means a lot. Get your kids in the habit of sending “Thank You” cards earlier to family and friends who they receive gifts from, so that by the time they’re able to write them on their own, it won’t seem like a chore! Make writing “thank you” cards a simple craft with fun supplies: glitter pens, colorful construction paper, stickers, whatever you have in the craft bin! Help them write their thank you’s, let them place the stamp and make a trip to the mailbox together. A fun craft turns into an easy lesson that handwritten thank you goes a long way.

2. Make A Homemade Gift
There’s nothing more special and meaningful than giving or receiving a homemade gift from a loved one, and the holidays are a great time to help your child craft sweet presents for family and friends. A homemade ornament or picture frame can be a keepsake forever, check out these fun and easy ideas from How Wee Learn that your child will love to make!

3. Make a Donation Now is an important time to think about others and look out for those who may not be as fortunate. A great way to teach your child about thankfulness and translating it into helping others is by spending some time cleaning out closets and playrooms looking for old clothes, jackets, toys, and anything else that others would be grateful for this winter. Let your child pick out what he or she wants to donate, make a trip to a Salvation Army, local shelter, or donation bin to drop it off together.

4. Slow Down Present-Opening Although it’s tempting to rip through shiny wrapping paper as fast as possible to get to the new toy inside, this year, a new tradition could be to take things a bit slower. This might not be the most popular or exciting idea amongst the little ones of the family, but it’s a simple way to teach patience and gratitude during the holidays. Instead of allowing simultaneous paper-ripping and opening in a frenzy, take turns opening and admiring, saying “thank you” and exchanging hugs. This will help teach your child how special it is to give and receive presents, and the true significance behind the holidays: family, love and showing gratitude.

5. Help Around the House The amount of work that needs to be done over the holidays can be extremely overwhelming: cleaning the house for visiting relatives, cooking, cleaning again, cooking more! While it might be tempting to let your little one sit in front of a movie for an easy distraction, a simple way to help your child understand the importance of being thankful is by giving them a few chores help out around the house. Whether it’s helping in the kitchen or setting the table, a little help can go a long way!

6. Show Appreciation For Others                                                  An easy way to show appreciation for others is by giving them a homemade gift, and who doesn’t love freshly baked treats over the holidays? Spend a cookie-making-and-decorating day with your kids to bake special treats for their teachers, your mailman, bus driver, and anyone who deserves to be shown appreciation. Your kids will love decorating with frosting and sprinkles, you will too!

We can all get wrapped up in the indulgence of the holidays, and sometimes it can seem like we’re too busy entertaining, cooking or cleaning to take a minute to spare doing anything else. This holiday season, take a few moments to engage the whole family with these simple ways to learn about being grateful and giving back, you can even create a few new holiday traditions of your own! From our Maclaren family to yours, Happy Holidays!