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It seems like the starting line for Christmas gets earlier every year. Stores whip out their decorations the day after Halloween or sometimes sooner. Shoppers start gearing up for black Friday sales the first week in November, and if you don’t have your Christmas cards ordered before Thanksgiving, you’re late! It also means that kids seem to get major cases of “the gimmies” sooner rather than later in the year.
As parents, we want to give our children everything they need and so many things they want. We don’t want them to feel like they are missing out on the next big thing or deprived because we were lacking in one way or the other. However, where do you draw the line? Here are 3 tips for helping you and your children feel content this Christmas:
Keep it Simple
Instead of wandering aimlessly through store aisles waiting for something to jump out at you as the perfect gift, plan ahead. Spend some quiet time away from the noise and advertisements really thinking about what your child wants and needs. If you need a starting point for your list, give this rule of thumb a try: One gift they want, one they need, one gift you’ll make, and one that they’ll read.
Service with a Smile
Phillip Moller who wrote the book How to Live to 100, quotes Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota. Synder explains, "People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness. All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity." Helping our children look outside of themselves is replete with benefits. Some benefits may include a greater awareness of other’s needs and a greater tendency to count their own blessings. Show your children how to serve by your example and give them an extra push if need be. If nothing else, donating old clothes and toys will at least make some room for Santa’s loot come Christmas morning.
Less Money, More Time
We hear it over and over again, but we still find ourselves thinking that something new from the store will be better appreciated than time with mom and dad. However in a recent MTV/Associated Press survey, 1,280 young people were asked to identify what makes them happy. For almost three quarters of those asked, spending time with and building a relationship with their parents was their top answer. To help your child feel more content this Christmas, take fewer trips to the mall, and create more evenings at home together. Warm up some hot chocolate, break out the board games, and crank up your favorite holiday tunes. Your children, and your wallet, will thank you.