Christmas experiences

If you’re like most of us, you are already thinking about the holidays with your family.

For me, I swear the holidays come faster every year when you have growing kids.

Unfortunately, I’ve also noticed behaviors with my kids the last few years that have left me feeling uncomfortable. I’m hoping to fix it this year.

For one, their “wish lists” have gotten ridiculously HUGE, PAGES long!

And it seems like they focus only on the stuff they are going to get and the food they are going to eat for the holidays. Those things aren’t necessarily bad. I just wish there were other (more meaningful) experiences they had too.

That’s why, this year, I’m making changes. They are relatively small. I know that if I make it easy, it’s more likely that I’ll follow through with them. The same can be true for you!

Here are five ways I’m focusing more on experiences, family time, and giving this holiday season.

1. We Are Giving to Each Other

In the past, I’ve avoided my kids picking out gifts for each other. As a parent, it can be a big hassle. You take them to the store and do a lot of coaching about what to buy. It’s another parental chore that doesn’t seem like much fun. So, we’ve never done it.

But the problem with this is that my kids have only ever RECEIVED. They haven’t experienced giving. So this year, I want them to take a small amount of their own money and think about someone besides themselves. We’ll be exchanging gifts within our family.

2. We Are Baking Treats for Others

Instead of just EATING the yummy food, I’m going to have my kids help with a baking day. They are old enough to participate, and it will mean so much more when we drop off goodies to the neighbors.

3. We Are Gifting An Experience

Instead of added gifts under the tree, my husband and I are going to splurge for a weekend at a nearby water park hotel. The kids will LOVE it, and they will find out what it’s like to be gifted an experience instead of more toys that get shoved under their beds.

4. I’m Changing Their Stocking Stuffers

This year, stocking stuffers will be primarily objects that bring us together as a family, keep them active, or are super practical. Ideas for this are things like travel size family games, chapstick, nail clippers, food, cards, etc. No useless toys are allowed on the mantel this time around. You can find lists for girls stockings and boys stockings here that have great options.

5. We Are Focusing More on the Meaning of Christmas

I’m not an intensely religious person. And yet, Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Jesus and the celebration of his life. It’s time to incorporate that into my family life at Christmas a bit more. We’ll be reading the Story of Jesus, going to a church service, and putting out a Nativity scene for starters. I’m hoping to add more as we discuss the true meaning of Christmas too.

In Conclusion

I’m not perfect by any means. And I LOVE all that comes with the magic of Santa Claus. And yet, my kids should be learning that Christmas is more than presents. It’s hard to teach this in our consumerism culture, but it sure is worth a shot. How about you? What do you do to encourage experiences and giving? Do you have any traditions that are a bit more meaningful? I’d love to know!

“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance—each beautiful, unique, and gone too soon.”

Decorah Whipp