Help your children understand the true meaning of the holidays while giving your family more this Christmas with the 25 Days of Togetherness challenge!
When we love someone, we want to give them everything we can.
Whether it’s your children, spouse, or parents, we want to give to make them happy. There isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for them, so something like a gift they’ve been wishing for seems minuscule.
As we get older we understand that although there’s nothing better than giving all you can to a loved one, sometimes it’s just not reasonable or possible. I mean we would love to send our parents on all-inclusive vacations to anywhere of their choice, but it’s just not possible…and they know that. In fact, they would probably be pretty upset with us for putting them before ourselves.
That’s just how it goes as we experience life. We live and we learn what’s important, and so often it has nothing to do with material things.
The problem is, that our children haven’t lived and learned yet. They don’t have the mental capacity to understand that although we’d love to give them the world, it’s just not the best idea for many reasons.
Obviously many of us are not financially capable and more importantly, what would they learn from having everything they asked for handed to them simply because they asked for it.
Don’t get me wrong…since having our kids we’ve had big Christmases. TOO big of Christmases.
We run around like crazy each year looking for deals for everything on their wish lists and end up stressed because we spent more than we should on the “stuff” of the holiday.
I don’t want my kids to have stressed parents at Christmas. I want them to have present parents at Christmas.
I want them to hear the word Christmas and think of things like celebrating Jesus’ birth, decorating our home, hot chocolate, and picking our Christmas tree, all of which we’ll be doing TOGETHER.
Of course there will be gifts, I mean what would Christmas morning be without Daddy hurrying to the living room before everyone else to turn on all the Christmas lights, or sitting in front the tree in our matching jammies with wrapping paper flying? 🙂
But I don’t want it to be ALL they think about.
To narrow down the overindulging of our kids (it’s totally a problem of ours too!) and set an expectation for them, this year we decided to start using the 4 Gift Rule – “Something you want, something you need, something you’ll wear, and something you’ll read.”
And you know what? When we told them about this there was no yelling, no temper tantrums, and no complaining. It was almost as if they were relieved. They would still be getting gifts, but it helped them to really prioritize what they wanted.
Recently I came across a better alternative to the 4 Gift Rule that I absolutely LOVE! It totally ties together with what I’m trying to instill in our kids and gives just a little bit more wiggle room for gifts since the rule is a little broader.
It goes like this…
“Something cool, something for school, something you’ll wear, and something you’ll share.”
While a lot of that is similar to the original rule, what puts it over the top for me is the “something you’ll share.” That’s meant as a gift for more than just the recipient. Rather, it’s meant to be a gift to be shared between multiple children or even the whole family. It includes the bigger, more expensive things that everyone can enjoy like electronics, toys that are fun for all, or, my favorite, experiences like fun trips and vacations.
Again, even in our gifts, we want to teach them that the most important thing is being together.
Now they are kids, ages 10, 7, and 2 to be exact, so as you can imagine just telling them that being together is the most important thing may not work. I don’t want them to think being together is the most important thing just because Mommy says so. Haha! I want them to crave being together instead of craving a gazillion presents, many of which they don’t even play with after a week.
To do that we need to make it fun. And we need to get them involved 🙂
25 Days of Togetherness – A Christmas Challenge
Over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas we’re going to create a togetherness calendar.
For 25 days, each and every day, we will do something together as a family.
You might be thinking, “No sweat…we eat dinner together every day.” Come on now, you can do better than that! I mean we eat dinner together every day too, but I’m looking for something extra…something out of your ordinary.
Or maybe you’re thinking, “How can I possibly fit anything else into our busy schedule.” (THIS is what I’m thinking right now!!)
Don’t go crazy! Maybe on a weekend day there is time for a bigger activity, to go all out and do something super special. But other weeknights, the most you might be able to pull off is reading a Christmas story together.
The point is, whatever you are doing, you’re showing your kids that there is always time for the most important thing – being together.
I would love for your family to join us in this challenge! I’ll be sharing a photo of our togetherness activities on Instagram each day, December 1st through December 25, with the hashtag #25DaysOfTogetherness and invite you to do the same 🙂
To help plan your 25 Days of Togetherness we’ve created a fun holiday planner. You can get yours below…
Take some time over the next few weeks and sit down as a family to decide what fun activities you will be doing.
Everyone gets their own planning worksheet to come up with a list of activities they would like to do, and then choose a few from each list and add them to your calendar. We’ll be naming a few days as “Parent’s Surprise” so the kids will be super excited about what’s coming those days!
My hope is that after the 25 days, our children will have had so much fun that they will want to continue our special togetherness activities all year round.
Isn’t that what Christmas is really all about? 🙂