By: Patricia Martin-Brown
Children remember best, not the gifts they unwrap, but the gifts of people and events stored in their hearts. Events remembered most deeply are wrapped in the warmth of relationships and the participation in traditions. Gifts of tradition, relationships and remembrance established early, when children arc young, become part of the fabric of the family.
- Plan a yearly cookie baking, pretzel dipping, fudge making day with measuring, stirring, cutting out and decorating all calibrated to the age of the children involved. Set aside cookies for a neighbor or friend to show thanks for their presence in your family’s life.
- Cut a live Christmas tree at a local tree farm where there are wagon/sleigh rides and hot chocolate offered. Involve children in decorating so that children feel their place as a sweet contributor to a joyful event. Play holiday music and sing along.
- Invite each child to contribute to the family holiday meal with their “special dish. ” This can be something as simple as stirring raisins, nuts, and orange slices into the mashed sweet potatoes, or for the older child, mixing up a simple corn souffle recipe.
- Jewish families light the eight candles of their Menorah. Christian families light Advent candles. Attach a ritual to a weekly family dinner leading up to the holiday that marks the season with a remembrance linking children to their cultural and religious history. Have a role for each child to play in the tradition you create.
- Hold onto the traditions of visiting family yearly for the holidays. Make holidays primarily about family, relationships and traditions, not just about gifts and trips.
- Limit gift giving and tie each gift to a deeper meaning Christians often give three gifts marked gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Jewish families give a gift at the lighting of a candle on the Menorah. Grandparents might give a gift of a family treasure to children or grandchildren.
This holiday season give your family the joy of loving relationships and the peace and assurance that traditions bring.
Our Peace to you at Christmas