Teaching Holiday Gratitude: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Good Morning Ladies,

Well, here we go. It's the first day of Thanksgiving break for my kids and, in my mind, the official beginning of the HOLIDAY SEASON! Are your kids like mine? Have they been so bombarded by all of the brightly decorated holiday toy aisles and shiny advertisements that went up the day after Halloween that they've forgotten what the holidays are supposed to be about? My two big kids already have such a bad case of the "gimmies", and it's not even December. They wake up every morning with something new to add to their wish lists, and I'm pretty sure they go to bed each night dreaming about what they can ask for tomorrow.


It's real bad, ladies. To combat this, I've been racking my brain for ideas on how to make my kids see the "true meaning of the holidays". Here's what I came up with.

5 Ways To Create A Season Of Gratitude, Not Greed

1. Volunteer or Complete a Service Project- I started this with my kids last year. We put together gallon bags full of things like bottled water, gloves, protein bars and dollar bills. We called them our "giving back" bags, and we kept them in the car to hand out when we saw someone in need. We also found, The Giving Book, with ideas for projects, and a place for kids to journal their ideas on how to help make the world a better place. When kids see how lucky they are compared to others, it helps them put the holidays in perspective.....at least for a few minutes. Check out this article from KC Edventures for tons of great service project ideas!

2. Give, Give, Give- Get kids involved and excited about picking out or creating gifts for others. Here are some great articles on homemade gifts:

3. Read Holiday Books/Watch Movies That Teach Gratitude and Compassion. Use these as a springboard for some great family discussions on how to show gratitude and generosity during the holidays. Some of our favorites are:



  • Christmas Eve on Sesame Street- OMG, did I love this movie when I was a kid! It really focuses on the important parts of the holidays. Available for purchase on Amazon.com.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas- Charlie Brown is sick of the commercialism too and out to find the true meaning of Christmas. Available for purchase on Amazon.com.
  • Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas- This movie has three parts, each with an important lesson. Available to watch on Netflix.
  • It's A Wonderful Life - It might be better for kids over 8, but it's a must-watch at our house every year. Available for purchase on Amazon.com.
  • Elf- Again, this is for bigger kids, but this movie definitely captures the magic of Christmas and will encourage some fun discussions. Available to rent or purchase on Amazon.com.

4. Have Some Free (or Cheap) Family Fun- Get crafting or baking. Go caroling or tacky light touring. Check out a holiday story time or other family-friendly event. Remind kids how much fun they can have when you're all together, even when you're not buying them anything.

Check out this Holiday Event Calendar from Richmondmom.com and don't forget to visit this site for more info on RVA's Best Tacky Lights!

5. Get Kids Focusing On What They Have By Writing Their Own Gratitude Lists. Be sure to write your own list so your kids can see an example. You can also read these two great books to help kids brainstorm ideas.

-The Thankful Book by Todd Parr

-An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton


(Here's an awesome excerpt from An Awesome Book of Thanks.)

Here's hoping these ideas will help your kids see the holidays as more than just a present-filled celebration of greed!

Wishing you and your families a wonderful and drama-free Thanksgiving! And to you crazy Black Friday shoppers out there, good luck and stay safe!


♥ Erin

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