By Nicole Dean
Christmas is not about the number of gifts we receive. The season is about good will and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Get the kids involved in activities that will give them a better understanding of the holiday season.
Read the story of the original Santa Claus. Parents debate whether to tell their kids that there is no Santa Claus or to perpetuate the story that parents have told for centuries about a white haired man that circles the globe in a sleigh. To avoid both of those choices, spend time talking to kids about St. Nicholas. He is the man that the myth is loosely based upon. St. Nicholas was a man of God born to wealthy parents. He used his wealth to improve the lives of children and the poor in the area in which he lived, which is now modern-day Turkey. He became a saint after suffering persecution for his faith at the hands of the Roman Empire. He did give generously to children, but his deeds were exaggerated after his death and led to the story of the modern day Santa Claus. Many European countries still celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th.
Give your kids a holiday mission. Ask them to investigate one way that people of other faiths celebrate the holidays. They can re-create an object that is used in worship, draw a picture, or write a story to describe the event. Then they can present what they found during family time after dinner over the holiday season. Children learn tolerance of other beliefs and the basis behind those beliefs.
Put on a church Christmas play. A play that tells the story of the Nativity is not only fun but informative. Children learn about the events surrounding the birth of the Christ into the world. They get to be a part of something bigger than themselves during Christmas. By taking the focus off of them, they learn to be unselfish during the holidays and all year round.
Help to serve a meal at a soup kitchen. Children will get to see that there are those in their own cities that are less fortunate. The purpose of serving the meal is not for charity or pity, but goodwill towards fellow human beings. It feels good to make someone else smile and your kids will learn that, too. Hopefully, they will no longer take their good fortune for granted and learn to be grateful for what they have.
Sing loads of Christmas carols. Teach the children old carols that you used to sing when you were a child. Explain the meaning behind the songs to give a better understanding of the lyrics. For example, did you know that good King Wenceslas was a real king? He was good to his people, but was killed by his jealous brother who wanted the kingdom. And, a manger was a food trough for animals. Kids may think that it was a little bed made for the baby Jesus, but it was turned into a bed to give him a place to lay his head.
Children should know how to make Christmas cookies. Let them roll out the dough and cut the sugar cookies in their desired shapes. When the cookies cool, they can decorate them with whatever sprinkles or candy that they choose. Cookies can even be wrapped up and given as gifts to friends and loved ones. The children should deliver the edible gifts since they were the primary bakers. All Christmas gifts do not have to be made. People appreciate a homemade gift.
Christmas is the season of hope, goodwill, and family. Teach your children that it is more than the gift giving that makes the holiday special. These ideas will leave them with a sense of well-being and pride.
Nicole Dean invites you to visit showkidsthefun.com - where you'll find Christmas crafts and activities to make memories that last a lifetime. If you'd like a fun way to count down the days until Christmas, please visit WaitingforXmas.com.
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