Why do I feel so guilty at this time of year?

Nov 30, 2021

There’s often a rising tension for parents at this time of year.

It is totally normal for kids to start thinking about what presents they want for Christmas (or Hanukkah)

 Our kids are surrounded by advertisements showing what they are going to ‘get’ a lot more that encouraging the gift of giving!

They often become more and more demanding making huge lists of things that we know we can’t possibly buy them (or don’t want to)

And then the guilt starts to creep in doesn’t it?

We want to see the excitement on their faces.

We want them to have nice things to play with.

But there has to be a balance.

Because, I promise you this.

When your kids look back at past Christmases, what they remember are the rituals.

The things that bring the family together.

So I’ve made a list of 7 great rituals that kids will remember far more than the gifts they got.

Pick a few and make them your own, you’ll be amazed by how much kids love things like this.

  1. Candle lighting together – whether it is for Hanukah or it could be a nightly candle as you get closer to Christmas. As you light the candle, you can each say something that you were grateful for that day.

  2. Make cards for other people – let them be messy and imperfect. Scribble inside is fine too, just encourage the gesture of doing something for someone else. Cut up bits of wrapping paper or old cards to stick on the front.

  3. I’m a big fan of hot chocolate – it can be made into a wonderful ritual and it costs barely anything. Spruce it up with mini marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles and whipped cream. It fantastic when used as a reward. Have them earn the hot chocolate by tidying up, helping to lay the table, making their beds or whatever.
  4. Pick out a special book that you only read at this time of year with a wintry, festive theme. Children love certainty and repetition so read it every night!

  5. Make small gifts for others. A few cookies and wrapped chocolates in a jam jar with a ribbon is a simple gift for someone else. You don’t have to make the cookies (shop bought are fine) but children can help assemble it and put the ribbon round it.

  6. Children love to hear ‘This is what we always do’ – so start your family rituals early. Maybe you sit down to a favourite movie, or go on a walk to see the lights.  You can make the simplest things feel special to them. Include them in planning in advance, asking what they would like to do.

  7. As well as hot chocolate a ‘mocktail’ can be a lot of fun. Again, you can make a big deal of the planning. Kids can put out little bowls with crisps in them, you can look up ‘mocktail’ recipes and buy the ingredients together and help to mix them. Put some music on and have a little disco too.

So that’s it.

Try to keep things simple and think long term. My child won’t perish if they don’t get every single present they asked for!


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