Ah, here comes Christmas. The music, the decorations, the kids with a serious case of the gimmes. Of course we try to explain that Christmas is about more than presents. In fact, I even used our favorite Christmas cartoon to start the discussion the other day. (Thank you, yet again, Dr. Seuss.)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a favorite in our house. And while I’d love to say it’s because of the moral of the story, I’m quite sure it isn’t. In fact I asked.
“Do you guys understand what this cartoon is about?”
“Uh, not really.”
I went on to explain, and they nodded with a semi-blank look on their faces. (Though Big, of course, answered with all the ways the Grinch broke the rules and wasn’t nice. And Little laughed mischievously at each one of them.)
I had an idea brewing and this was the perfect time to introduce it. I reminded them of their advent calendars from last year—you know, the kind with a pious manger scene and 25 glorious pieces of chocolate tucked underneath—and how they helped us count down to Christmas. I said, this year, before we open it, we’re going to live the Christmas spirit and do something nice for someone. Each and every day.
We started talking about all the things we could do. Big had ideas like smile at a stranger who talks to him (which is surprisingly hard for him), make someone laugh, have a friend over for dinner and call someone we love to say hi. After writing down a couple of them, he lost interest (and I lost patience), but I’m sticking with this.
I’m sure there are lots of very crafty ways to bring this idea to life, but I’m just going to print a December calendar and write something on each day. Hopefully my kids will find it almost as rewarding to give a little something as to receive it. (I said almost…) And at the very least, hopefully each time we watch that silly green guy’s heart grow three sizes and his smile (which happens to be oddly similar to my favorite high school English teacher’s—come on, SRVHS people, you remember Mrs. Warner) light up, they’ll remember that Christmas is about more than just gifts.
(But gifts are nice too. I mean, nobody complains when the Grinch brings all the goodies back.)
How are you teaching your kids about the giving spirit and/or gratitude this holiday season?