From filling stockings to filling up on pie, the holiday season can reinforce the “gimme-gimme” attitude in all of us. This year, set aside a little time to practice gratitude, empathy, and thoughtfulness with your family with these 6 ways to remember what truly matters.
Writing Thank You Notes
In the digital age, it’s easy to shoot off a quick text or email to say our thank-yous, but taking the time to write some old-fashioned thank you notes will give your child a chance to dwell on what he’s thankful for and give him practice expressing it. He can even make a cute card to write it in! Expressing gratitude makes you feel even more thankful and happier overall. Sit down with your kid after a holiday event to handwrite notes to the guests or host, and for gifts he received. As a bonus, he’ll also get to practice his writing and language skills.
Out With the Old
Before the new presents come pouring in, have your kid fill a box full of old toys that he hasn’t played with in some time. Talk to him about how donating his toys will bring a smile to the face of another child who’s less fortunate. After he’s parted with some of his old stock, praise him for his generous spirit to help him make a habit of spreading the joy around.
Visit a Nursing Home
Bake a big batch of cookies, put them in some festive bags, and make a trip to a nursing home. Take some time to have your little one visit with elderly who might feel especially lonely during the holidays. Maybe even encourage a few hugs for some extra warm fuzzies! If your child has a few other friends who can tag along, organize a caroling group. It doesn’t have to be a Broadway production—even a couple tunes will make everyone’s day.
Cook for a Crowd
Reach out to a local homeless shelter, family organization or religious organization and ask if they can hook you up with a family to cook a holiday meal for. Get your kids involved in planning and cooking the meal. Or, hold a holiday cooking party with friends and family to contribute to a food pantry. Grown-up party guests can cook or bake together, or make healthy snack bags, and kids can wrap treats with a festive bow and include a handwritten holiday greeting.
Make a List
…and not one full of presents your child wants. Have him make a list of wishes he has for family, friends, and people around the world for the holiday season. You can frame the question as, “If you had ten wishes to spend on people other than yourself, what would you wish for?” Prompt him to think of what things might make others happy, but give him a chance to reflect on his own.
Last but not least
Gratitude, like positive thinking or breaking a bad habit, is something that comes from practice. Helping your child learn how to appreciate what he has and the value of giving to the less fortunate won’t put a damper on the festivities—it will make them more joyful and meaningful for everyone involved and support a charitable mindset that will stick with him as he grows up.
Just a reminder for us to express gratitude during this season. It is extremely important to fill someone else’s life with the holiday cheer.
Have fun and best wishes from your friends at the BES Group and Associates West Office.