When we think of Christmas and kids, one word typically comes to mind—toys! Despite the anticipation of Santa arriving with tons of gifts for those children who made the “nice” list, the holiday season is actually much more meaningful for little ones than we may realize. So, just what does Christmas really mean to children? Read on to find out.
By far the most important aspect of Christmastime for kids is time spent with the family. The holidays represent one of the only times of the year families can take some time off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to really enjoy being with one another. Sometimes, kids can feel ignored when their parents are busy trying to balance work and home life, despite how hard mom and dad try to give them the attention they need. After all, there are only so many hours in the day! During Christmas, though, everyone can take a break from their normal schedules to appreciate the most important people in their lives. Whether you’re cooking together, wrapping presents, watching Christmas movies on TV, or simply hanging out together in the family room, all kids enjoy being surrounded by family members who love them. For most kids, the more the merrier—children love being with mom, dad, and siblings, but they also enjoy having time to get together with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles too! Family time spent together make the holidays truly magical for little ones.
Kids live in the moment, doing their best to enjoy every second of the day as it passes, so it’s easy to forget that they have an appreciation for the past as well. During Christmastime, you’ll notice that your child recalls memories of Christmases past. As he or she decorates the Christmas tree with the family, for instance, your youngster may remember the experience of hanging ornaments the prior year or recognize an ornament that he or she made years ago. Making these connections to holidays past makes Christmastime that much more meaningful for boys and girls alike. That doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate new experiences, of course. It simply means that parents can provide more meaning to the season by creating and maintaining family traditions during the holidays.
Children are often accused of obsessing over receiving presents during the Christmas season. The truth is, though, that kids love to give presents to others as well. Whether mom and dad give them a little money for holiday shopping, or they use their own chore money to purchase gifts, kids feel proud to be able to give a little something to the people they love during the holidays. They also love the experience of selecting the perfect gift for someone special to them, whether it be parents, grandparents, siblings, or schoolmates. Some children also enjoy using their creativity to make handmade gifts for family and friends. The holidays are the perfect time for children to experience the joy of giving and learn the importance of generosity. Volunteering is another thing young children enjoy during Christmastime. Kids are born wanting to help, after all! Parents can tap into this natural urge to make a difference in the lives of others by looking for volunteer opportunities in their local area. If you can find one, be sure to involve the whole family in the experience. It’s guaranteed to be a Christmas memory your little one will remember for a lifetime!
Perhaps most of all, Christmas is a time of great excitement and anticipation for kids. A whole month of waiting and preparing for the big day is nearly too much for them to handle! There are many things kids do to prepare themselves for the magical morning of December 25th. Writing a letter to Santa is a fun activity that gets children thinking about the arrival of Old Saint Nick, for instance. It’s also an engaging activity that parents can join in on (Tip: It’s very helpful for your Christmas shopping!). Listening to Christmas music at home or in the car is another holiday favorite for little ones. Parents can encourage their children to memorize the lyrics of some of the classic Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” and “Frosty the Snowman,” for example. This way, they can sing along to these holiday tunes, which makes the experience even more fun!
No matter how you plan to spend the holidays with your kids, keep in mind that Christmas isn’t all about presents from their perspective. More than anything, they want to spend time with you over the winter break and have some festive fun with the whole family. Be sure to savor the moment—the holiday will be over before you know it, and you’ll likely be busy as usual again until next Christmas season!