Six Tips to put the Meaning Back Into Christmas

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Do you have a favorite holiday memory? Maybe it’s decorating cookies with your family members. Or putting up garland on the Christmas tree while listening to holiday carols. Maybe your memories aren’t as traditional, but they’re still memories that make you feel warm and happy.

What do most of those amazing memories have in common?

They don’t involve presents.

Now days, so much stress is put on what people get for Christmas. And our human nature, the want to get, get, get, is only encouraged by societies constant bombardment of commercials and advertisements.

During the holidays, everything around us is pressuring us to purchase our Christmases, whether it’s the newest tech gear for friends or the latest toys for the kids. Not only does this result in time being wasted from running around trying to purchase all these gifts, but it also puts extreme stress on your finances.

A recent study has found that children who have an over-abundance of toys are more selfish and ungrateful than those who have less. In fact, the same study found that children who have fewer toys spend more times outside and are more creative. These children are also more resourceful and can pay attention for longer periods of time.

This does not mean that everyone should stop buying presents and spend Christmas saying ‘ba-humbug’. It’s still completely possible to have a holiday season that has presents and also puts the meaning back into Christmas.

Here are six tips to help you put the meaning back into your Christmas.

1. Follow the Rule of one

Instead of spending buckets of money buying several different presents for every single person in your family, focus on getting one special gift for each person. Take time to really think things through for each person and instead of just buying the latest tech or newest trend, pick something that is meaningful and heartfelt.

Some of the most heartfelt presents can’t be bought, anyways. A homemade scrap book with pictures of the grandkids made special for a grandparent means so much more than a new set of earrings. You can focus on putting time into your gifts instead of money. Not only will this readjust your frame of mind, it will also greatly decrease the amount of stress you feel during the holiday season.

Ask all your family members to follow your example, so that the focus of the day goes from being about presents to being about spending time together.

2. Take the Opportunity to Teach About Finances

Mainstream Christmas, the Christmas that consumer-centric society wants you to adopt, is all about spending money to make others happier. If you don’t want this to be the focus in your family, you can take the opportunity of the season to sit down and discuss budgeting with your children.

Instead of not involving your children in the gift buying process or buying whatever they want to give as gifts, sit down with them and give them a specific budget. Work with them on the best ways to spend that money to get the most out of their budget. Have them make a list of people they want to buy gifts for and help them plan out the best ways to purchase those gifts.

If making a budget and putting a limit on how much spend sounds like the opposite of putting the meaning back into Christmas, try to make it a game. Instead of focusing on staying under budget, offer a reward if everyone can reach their goals. For example, if everyone comes in under budget, pool the money and buy the ingredients to make indoor s’mores or have hot chocolate and cookies. Putting this positive spin on it will make it more like a game and really get the entire family in the mood for Christmas fun.

3. Practice Thankfulness

Have you ever seen videos or clips of children opening presents like it’s a race to see who can get done faster? They tear open the carefully wrapped gifts, look at it for a few moments, and then set it aside and start in on the next one. It isn’t just sad, it’s a little bit sickening.

The holiday season is often an excuse for children to act out, whether it’s bothering their parents for more gifts, sweets, or pastries, or being ungrateful for the things they do receive. One of the best ways to put the meaning back into Christmas is by taking the focus off of the materialism and selfishness and putting it on being thankful.

Take time to sit and talk with your family about things your thankful for, whether it’s something that happened in the past year or something that happened during the holiday season. Ask your children what they’re most thankful for and really listen to their answers. Not only will it give you insight into the things they value and notice, but it can also help you plot out how to keep that feeling of thankfulness going.

On Christmas day, advice your children to open their gifts one at a time and tell the giver of those gifts why they’re thankful for the present. It might drag out the gift opening portion of the day, but it will be a beautiful gift for everyone present.

4. Practice Generosity

The Christmas season is the perfect opportunity to remind your family to give. It doesn’t have to be in huge ways, but taking time out from the hustle and bustle to be generous will be a memory that your children will cherish.

There are several options for practicing generosity during Christmas. You could have your children pack up belongings they don’t need any more and drop them off at a charity drive. If you want a more hands-on approach, ask your local shelter if there’s anything that families can do to help the community. Another great way of getting involved and helping is giving out warm clothes. It will give your children the opportunity to see children their own age who have so much less than they do.

If you don’t have time or the opportunities to do larger acts of generosity, do some research online and find a few charities that you think would make worthy choices for donations. Set aside a specific amount to give and gather the family to pick the one they want to sponsor that year. This will open the door to discussions about what each of the charities do and how the money could help them.

5. Start or Keep Family Traditions

Most people can remember a family tradition that meant a lot to them as a child and still means a lot. Whether it’s lighting candles on Christmas Eve or setting out milk and cookies for Santa, traditions often mean a lot more to children than to adults.

If you have a favorite family tradition from your childhood, take this opportunity to integrate it into your own family’s holiday. Or, be spontaneous and create an entirely new tradition.

For those who have deeply rooted traditions, this is a great opportunity to talk about your family history and how Christmas has changed over the years for your family.

6. Find Your Meaning for the Season

Not everyone has a religious view of the Christmas season. However, no matter what your beliefs, there has to be something you associate with Christmas. Whether it is kindness or generosity, thankfulness or righteousness, discover what the holidays mean to you and hold it close throughout the season.

If you are religious, take time to turn your heart to the story of the Nativity. Have a special time with the family and talk about why this time of year is so important to you.

Christmas has changed over the years, but that doesn’t mean it has to lose its meaning. If you decide you want to keep the meaning of Christmas alive in your family, you can do it. Just follow the six tips above and you’ll find your Christmas completely transformed.

What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigDo you have any other top tips for putting the meaning back into Christmas?  Or do you think you will be putting some of the above into action?  We love feedback so please use the comment section below. 

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