You will never go wrong giving your kids…
- Unconditional love and complete attention — Tell them you love them and reinforce it with undivided attention. Kids can feel the stress of the holidays, but they can also feel the joy and love that goes with the big day. Turn off the cell phone, unplug from social media, and give them your whole day. One of the things I loved most about Christmas growing up was the day itself. I knew Christmas to be the one day a year my Dad wouldn’t be working because my mother wouldn’t let him. He would play with us, and I never wanted Christmas day to end.
- Your stories — Express in your own words stories about when you were growing up. If you are together with other family members, tell stories on them and encourage them to do the same. I love to tell the story of how my brother blew up the trash can. Stories and experiences are the threads that weave together a family fabric no matter what your family situation is. Try this if you don’t already and see how the kids respond.
- Good expectations – Giving our kids more and more stuff isn’t better Christmas experience. I think about the questions people ask. Did you have a good Christmas? What did ya get? That is okay, but the pace and amount of stuff is not really sustainable. What expectations are we creating for children today? It seems to me that honest parents will set a child’s expectations early in life. Make a point to lovingly tell your kids at least once during the holidays – “you are not always going to get what you want.”
- Experience serving others – Lead them to perform an act of love for which there is no reward but the joy of giving. Modeling care and concern for others is especially powerful when done by a Father. Ideas? You could serve food at a homeless shelter, rake leaves for someone shut-in their home, read to someone, or sponsor a family through organizations like Compassion International.
A healthy dose of all of these will make Christmas memories that will outlive us, if we are intentional and recognize the influence that happens this time of year.
What holiday memories do you want your children or grandchildren to remember? How will you create lasting memories at Christmas time when you have children?