Written by Jana Angeles
Gratitude and appreciation are qualities we should encourage our children to instill during the festive season. While receiving and giving gifts has been a known tradition during Christmas, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the true values of the occasion and making the most of the time we spend with our friends and family. There are plenty of ways to teach our children the value of gratitude and appreciation this Christmas. Being creative and adapting new activities could make the occasion that much special depending on what you choose to do as a family.
Give back to the community
Giving back to the community is a great way to show your kids the value of Christmas. It allows you to do your part and give back to the people who need it the most. Whether it’s serving people food at the homeless shelter, doing meals on wheels runs or singing carols to the elderly, having that drive to give back to the community can be one of the most rewarding ways to teach your children about gratitude and appreciation this Christmas.
Tips to consider when giving back to the community
- Do a bit of spring cleaning around the house and get rid of clothing items you may not need anymore and donate them all to your nearest charity box. There are homeless and disadvantaged individuals out there who may need them.
- Participate in Wishing Tree Appeals. Kmart run one every year with The Salvation Army. You can purchase a gift and specify what age and gender it would be suited for and put it under the tree.
- If you are the owner of a restaurant, business or catering company, you can choose to regularly donate food. OzHarvest is a food rescue organisation delivering meals from different companies all year round to those less fortunate. This will help your children understand the value of food they receive on their plates and how lucky they are to be well-fed at home.
Introduce the art of sentimental gifts
Sentimental gifts can be treasured for a lifetime and it’s a great way to show your children that you don’t need to spend a lot of money just to make another person happy. Being thoughtful and showing a bit of creativity can also be an opportunity for them to showcase their artistic talents.
Sentimental gift ideas
- Making portraits, whether it be hand drawn or painted, makes a great gift for relatives. They can be framed and be treasured for many years to come.
- Scrapbooking pins together all the best photos in one album. You can spend time with your children by decorating each page and reminiscing about the great memories you’ve spent together.
- Writing letters for a specific milestone in the future or when you get the blues can be a beautiful gift for a loved one if you have a way with words. There is nothing more deep and insightful than penning together a letter with words from the heart.
Teach them the value of family time
There is no substitute in spending quality time with your relatives. This is important if you want to highlight the value of gratitude and appreciation to your kids this Christmas. You may have relatives coming interstate or overseas, so tell your children that some of them travelled greater distances just to be with family. Let them know that this is important because it shows that they are committed in making time despite living in a completely different place.
Ways to spend family time
- Let your children hear some of the stories your relatives may have, swapping “when I was your age” stories. It will help them learn about their history and how they got to be who they are today.
- During dinner time, go around the table and ask each family member what they are most grateful for. This will help strengthen bonds you have with your family and teach your children the value of gratitude when it is seen and heard.
- Pick a tradition such as pulling on a Christmas cracker and laugh at the jokes it contains. Having one with family each year can help your children understand why traditions matter.
Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends. However, it’s important to remind our children that there is more to look forward to besides the gifts they receive from Santa. To teach them the power of gratitude and appreciation during this time of year will set them up for the rest of their life with a different mindset when the next Christmas comes round again.