Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, but it’s been known to bring about a terrible case of the gimme’s in children. Who hasn’t heard,”Give me this, give me that, I want, I want…Please!” So, how do we kick the gimmes out of our home and the entitlement attitude that goes along for the ride? I believe it is a two step process and both steps start with us being intentional. First, in actions and words we need to relay to our kids why we’re celebrating Christmas. Secondly, we spend time reflecting on who Jesus was as a servant and initiate discussions on how we can imitate his love through our actions, words, and heart.
Instead of focusing on the gift receiving, encourage your children to be gift givers. Now, this doesn’t mean spending money or getting fancy, but by doing simple meaningful acts to show their gratitude to and for others.
Here are some ideas to get them off the gimme track and onto the giving path!
- Cards and Words Gratitude: Encourage them write personal notes/cards of gratitude to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, teachers or anyone whose important to them. If your kids have the gift of gab, let them create a video to send to loved ones! Tell them to be creative and have fun!
- Gifts of Service: Instead of spending money on gifts for their siblings or for you, ask them to give a gift of service. Maybe it is shoveling snow for the neighbor or taking a chore for the week from a sibling, basically anything that is service oriented would work!
- Volunteer During the Holiday: Research and compile a list of volunteer opportunities that are age appropriate and have them choose one to pursue. For example, many nursing homes welcome children’s visits year round.
- Encourage Your Kids to Throw a Party: Allow them to invite friends over for hot chocolate, cookies and movies, but the catch is everyone brings a toy for a Christmas Donation that will go to a shelter. Mom. make sure you hand the reigns over so that they take on the role of party planner.
These are just four simple ways to bring back the giving aspect of Christmas that can easily become overshadowed by the constant push of our culture’s consumerism attitude during a season that’s supposed to reflect the love of Christ, not how many gifts we can fit under the tree. Ask your kids to come up with ideas as well to inspire them to get into the spirit of service! I’m sure you’ll be blown away by their generosity!
Living in the DC Metro area affords a great opportunity to experience the holidays with your family without breaking the bank! As a single mom I’m always on the search for fun, free, activities to do with my daughter and I’m happy to say that there isn’t a shortage of events in the area to attend! Here are my top free events to take the kids to this season!
10 Fun Activities To Do In the DC Area That Are Free!
- The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace: The lighting is on the 1st of December and tickets are sold out, but visiting the tree is free throughout the season, and musical performances are held nightly. White House Ellipse, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
- Zoo Lights: Walk through the National Zoo and be dazzled by the 500,000 lights! Grab a hot chocolate when you’re walking through and enjoy live musical performances and tasty treats! It’s open from 5 -9 PM. 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008.
- Smithsonian Holiday Festival, December 3-4th: Events are from 10 am-5 pm and include concerts, book signings, trunk shows, kid-centric activities and more. Participating museums include the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of the American Indian and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
- Season Greenings: The Botanical Gardens has an absolutely stunning Christmas display the kids will love. It’s open from 10 am-5 pm.
- 2016 Festival of Lights at the Washington, DC Mormon Temple: We did this for the first time last year and it is breathtaking.The lights, the manger, and the beautiful displays of the birth of Christ from various different countries is an experience you won’t want to miss. Dusk to 10 p.m. nightly. Nativity scene is open each evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Live musical performances begin at 7 and 8 p.m. 9900 Stoneybrook Dr, Kensington, MD 20895
- 2016 Parade of Lighted Boats: Enjoy DC Soutwestern waterfront with a hot cocoa, live music, and a parade of lighted boats on December 3rd from 5-8 pm. From the Docks of Alexandria to Southwest Waterfront in DC – 600 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024.
- Swedish Christmas Bazaar: Visit the Swedish marketplace, snack in the Swedish café, try to win prizes and stick around for the main event: the St. Lucia procession with traditional caroling on Saturday, December 3rd, 11 am-5 pm.House of Sweden, 2900 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007.
- Holiday Train Show in Union Station: A lovely train display open daily.
- Bethesda Winter Wonderland: On December 3rd 1-4 pm Enjoy live ice sculpting, performances and a visit from Santa!
- Winter’s Eve at Glen Echo: On December 10th from 4-7 pm. Enjoy free activities including holiday crafts, sing-alongs, story-telling, open studios, and a hot chocolate bar.
I hope you and your family get to enjoy some of these fun activities for FREE this Christmas Season!