December 19, 2011

The Meaning of Christmas

Last year, we went hog wild on presents for the kids.  We bought our daughter an elaborate doll house, and we bought our son a dragon castle ~ all in addition to lots of regular presents. Then what happened?  You can predict.  They played with those expensive toys for maybe an hour total.

I think it's partly because they're twins.  They're very imaginative, but they play with each other.  I think toys like that are made for kids who don't have close siblings.  Sure, they want them. But they're really just as happy making artwork together or choosing one small thing each and making a story between the two of them. 

It's actually pretty amazing.  One will start:  "You are out walking one day and then you see a mean wolf."  The other one will pick up: "But the mean wolf is feeling nice that day, so instead of biting you he invites you for dinner."  And so on.  They go back and forth.  They never disagree, but this story is this live thing between them.  I should post about it.

But my point.  This year we're trying to make Christmas more about others and about doing things.  So we've made a tree for the wild animals.  That's the photo above.  We made ornaments out of orange and apple slices, peanut butter pine cones rolled in bird seed, and popcorn and cranberry strings and then chose a small protected pine in the mountains and decorated it.  I had them choose gifts for family members and help wrap them ~ their first time.  It got considerably less exciting as the day went on.

And to help teach them about money and that Christmas is about giving, we gave them each a $20 bill and they chose gifts for another less fortunate kid.  They've never used real money before, or chosen gifts like this ~ something they like they choose and then have to give away.  They did great! I was very proud of them. 

I would love to hear any ideas you all have in making Christmas better for kids or for teaching them the true meaning of Christmas.


February Grace said...

Lovely post.

Sounds like you're on the right track.

With my daughter, the most memorable things were the little things, wrapping cookies, decorating a dollhouse for the season, and especially giving something to others.

Having your child pick out a toy and drop it off at a Toys for Tots drop off center is so good for them- it really helps them appreciate that other kids may not have as much as they are and I know that made my daughter a lot more appreciative of the things she had.

Happy Holidays!


Tamara said...

Thank you, Bru!

I'm so happy to hear that about giving things. And we tried to talk about how some people and some animals in the world don't have enough to eat when we made the animal tree.

The doing of things. I hope that's what they'll remember. So we're trying to do a lot of fun things (without driving Mom too crazy!).

Best of holidays to you!