Christmas: There’s a better way

The day is upon us. But this year I have decided that it will not stress me as I prepare to spend the holidays with in-laws and extended family. I shall concentrate on keeping the family happy on the whole but without putting myself out so much trying to impress everyone and get all the food ready on time.
Izela Barlow
Izela Barlow

The day is upon us. But this year I have decided that it will not stress me as I prepare to spend the holidays with in-laws and extended family. I shall concentrate on keeping the family happy on the whole but without putting myself out so much trying to impress everyone and get all the food ready on time.

I am not the best cook anyway so it should be okay to let professionals bake my Christmas cake and prepare the main course. I shall buy the best ice cream and fresh fruit for dessert. The children and I can bond over making a salad, laying the table and clearing it up afterwards and all the usual family games. Even more brilliant, I can spend some quality time with dear hubby all snuggled up with a good movie while the kids wash up the dishes and argue about the latest music.

I have already briefed the children about the whole clamour of Christmas presents. Yes, everybody loves pretty packages but Christmas isn’t just about presents.Unfortunately, the experience of Christmas in many families that celebrate it merely presents an occasion for children to be spoiled with presents they may not fully appreciate. They almost believe that a Christmas present is something that is owed to them. But the responsibility lies with us, the parents to teach them what the Christmas celebration should be all about. It is about love, family, good friends and ultimately, sacrifices. These are things that I felt nowadays people take for granted.The real meaning of Christmas, and what Christmas has become, seem to be two very different things.

So what can a parent do? Consider these suggestions:

Plan and carry out random acts of kindness as a family at Christmas time. Talk with your family about how blessed they are, and how that blessing only becomes greater by sharing it with others. Expose your children to the joy of doing something kind for someone. Volunteering at church, a charitable organisation like an orphanage, or even helping out a neighbour can be a starting point. You can explain to the children how this all fits into the meaning of Christmas and the spirit of giving. If your children do not regularly attend children’s church, it is the right time to tell them about the nativity story.

Christmas is an opportunity to teach the children thoughtfulness. You can suggest that the children make presents for each other, or for their teacher, or their cousins. The idea is that they try to make a gift they think the person will like. Every child should know and feel the amazing satisfaction of making and giving a gift to someone that is just right for them.

Now didn’t I just give you the best idea on how to spend the holidays and show up fresh and revived for work come January 2014? A relaxed Christmas for you and a lesson in thoughtfulness for the whole family. Start planning and putting that contact list together now!

 

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