The Gift of Gratitude During the Holiday Season

by | Dec 26, 2023 | Blog

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, meant to give us the opportunity to reflect on family, tradition, resolutions and… budgets. The holiday season is characterized primarily by wish lists and last-minute shopping, straying further away from the interconnectedness we all aim for during the winter holidays. When every advertisement is aimed towards getting our children the hottest new toy, kids are led to wonder less about what family members they’ll be seeing and focus more on which presents they’ll be receiving. How do we break out of this cycle? By teaching our kids the gift of gratitude.

Give to the community
Encouraging children to give back to the less fortunate members of their community can allow them to appreciate their privileges more. Suggest that, instead of asking for a toy or game, they put the money towards helping other children. Volunteering at a soup kitchen during the holidays is a great way to bond with your family while connecting to the community. Sit down with your children and figure out what causes they find meaningful, whether it be mental health, fighting hunger, supporting animal shelters, or anything in between. A collaborative conversation with the whole family will show your children the value of a dollar and allow them to realize that the best present isn’t receiving, but giving.

Watch out for overconsumption
Thanks to the advent of two-day shipping and online-only deals, shopping couldn’t be more convenient. This often leads to making purchases on things we have no real need for, simply because it’s accessible. When children see packages arriving on the doorstep multiple times a week, they learn to view spending money on material items as inconsequential and commonplace, even learning to expect new items on a regular basis.

It can be tempting to spoil your children, especially during the holidays. While there’s nothing wrong with showing love through treats and toys, try to avoid getting everything on their wish lists. Instead, begin to teach your child financial literacy and help them determine the difference between gifts that are wants and needs.

In order to keep overconsumption in the household in check during the holidays, it’s important to show kids how to decide if you really need something before purchasing it. Adopt the one in, one out method: if your child asks for a new toy or video game, explain that in order to make room for a new item, another item will get donated to charity. If they aren’t willing to part with any of their old toys or clothes, they probably don’t need something new.

Write thank you letters
Writing thank you letters during the holidays is a great way to practice gratitude. Whether addressing them to family, friends, teachers, or bus drivers, a handwritten letter is a touching way to show your love and appreciation for a person. In a fast-paced world, writing letters is a personal way to teach children to slow down and reflect on all the support and generosity they are given in their day-to-day lives.

Teaching your child the gift of gratitude is an invaluable lesson that will strengthen their relationships with family, community, and themselves for the rest of their lives. As they grow to place less of a value on receiving presents and more on spreading joy and generosity, children and families will be able to appreciate the holiday season in a rewarding and fulfilling way.

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