When it comes to the holidays, mindful approaches to consumerism can go completely out of the window. No matter where you live, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the festive buzz and forget what truly matters.
The loss of routine; the attack on the senses every time you walk into a store; the stress and excitement of the season – all of this is hard enough for us parents to deal with, so what hope do we have of keeping our kids grounded?
This season, rather than overloading your kids with more plastic toys and gadgets, teach them to savor the things that matter. Here are three ways you can help your kids to be more mindful about Christmas.
It’s easy to get sucked into the materialism of the holidays (this is why Christmas advertising is so compelling, after all). However, your kids need to learn that while it’s great to enjoy receiving gifts, they are privileged compared to others. The true essence of Christmas is about togetherness and giving to those less fortunate, so help out at a homeless shelter as a family, or encourage them to send food or gifts to children in less developed countries. Not only will this give you a warm fuzzy glow, but it will also provide your kids with another perspective.
Buy Experiences, Not Things
You know how nice it is when someone hands you a voucher to spend at your local bookstore or takes you to watch that movie you’ve been dying to see? Instead of ending up with more junk in your kids’ rooms, give them the gift of experience this year and teach them that Christmas isn’t all about material possessions. Take them ice-skating or to see a festive performance at the theater. If your child is into sports or music, head to the Ticket Sales website for details about upcoming games and concerts.
Despite your best intentions, it’s inevitable that your kids will end up with presents from friends and family, so ultimately you have limited control over what comes into your home. If you know your kids are going to amass a whole load of new toys and clunky gadgets, encourage them to sort through what they already own and donate neglected toys to charity. Not only will tackling clutter improve your mental clarity, productivity and even your health, giving to charity also teaches your kids to pay it forward.
Kids thrive on routine, so the holidays can be especially challenging. Although you want them to enjoy their break from school and get into the festive spirit, you don’t need to let their whole schedule go out the window. Keep their mealtimes and bedtimes the same, and try to plan regular activities throughout the day, so they’re not just climbing the walls at home. Keep some semblance of routine for yourself too, and come Christmas day, the whole family will be that little bit more relaxed.