4 Christmas Traditions That Will Teach Your Kids Gratitude

I don’t want to raise spoiled brats. My kids are pretty great, really, but I know that will only last so long unless I take responsibility for teaching them some basic things about being decent human beings.

Being grateful for what they have, instead of constantly acting like they don’t have enough or need more to be happy, is one of those things I’m hoping to teach them.

It’s harder than I thought it would be. Even though we don’t go overboard on Christmas or birthday gifts, and we keep the toys in our home pretty minimal, I still feel like I’m struggling to teach my kids that the holiday season is about way more than what is going to end up under our Christmas tree. This year, I’m trying something new. Instead of focusing on one day of the year, when we’re opening gifts on Christmas morning, I’m trying to take a more proactive approach to the entire season. I’m working on teaching my kids to be grateful throughout the entire month of December. There are some really awesome ideas for accomplishing this, here are 4 Christmas traditions you can adopt to cultivate gratitude in your children.

Practice Advent

In the Christian church, Advent is the four weeks that lead up to Christmas day. Whether or not you are religious, practicing Advent is still a great way to turn your family’s focus to the spirit of the Christmas season. You can find both secular and religious Advent calendars online or in most bookstores or you can create your own using treats, small gifts or daily readings. Carving out a few minutes each night to sit down as a family, light a candle, read a Christmas book or simply talk through all of the good things you have been given is a simple way to get your kids thinking about everything they have to be grateful for in their life.

Make a Toy Donation

If your house is anything like mine, chances are your kids have a few toys they’ve outgrown or that no longer hold their interest. Devote an entire day to cleaning your kids’ bedrooms and playroom, sorting through their toys to see if there is anything they would like to pass on to the thrift store. Hopefully, when all is said and done, your house will be less cluttered and your children will be reminded of all of the cool toys they have that they may have completely forgotten about.

Do Something Good

Research suggests that most kids don’t have the brain maturity needed to avoid self-centered thoughts and behavior. It’s our job as parents to expose our kids to the world around them, showing them that people live differently than we do and may not live as comfortably as we do. The Christmas season is an excellent time to start a family habit of serving others. Do something good as a family this season. Consider adopting a family through Angel Tree or volunteering to help serve a meal at a church or shelter in your community.

Adopt Conversation Starters

No matter what season of motherhood you’re in, you’re probably feeling like adding one more thing to your to do list is more than you can handle. Adopt a new habit that can become a part of something you are already doing everyday. Choose conversation starters to talk through at each meal or in the car on the way home from school. Questions about what your kids are grateful for or something they did that day that made them feel proud is the perfect way to encourage them to see how much they have to be thankful for.

During the Christmas season, it’s a good time to slow down and to take the time to notice the good things we have in our lives. By making a habit of pointing these things out to our children, we can model thankfulness for our families and teach they how to be content with the things they have, instead of being greedy for more.